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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Castiel’s fibrosarcoma diagnosis
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Michigan


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17 October 2021 - 6:05 am
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Excellent job on all the research and prep, you guys. The kitties are lucky to have you both!

Knowing the plan forward does help a little. Make sure you know in advance what pain medications they will send you home with and the duration. Too often, cats get shorted on pain meds, and we have to advocate for them.

Do stock up on some stinky wet foods to help thru recovery. Wet food is best as you don't have to worry about liquid intake; they get moisture from their food. The pain meds usually mess with their appetite. Tuna water (water from a can) is also good to have on hand.

Scratches to the kitties, please.
(Hugs)
Holly & Purrkins💝💝💝

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19 October 2021 - 9:56 pm
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I’m so sorry to hear what you are going through.

I went through the same tough decision making process last month with my 14 year old cat who had spindle cell sarcoma (a type of fibrosarcoma)This forum and the hotline were so helpful during the decision making process and first few weeks after surgery.

Prior to surgery I had 2 vets tell me that cats do well after amputation and 2 vets tell me they didn’t recommend amputation on a cat her age, so it was a very confusing process to go through. I ended learning that an old friend went through the same situation last summer and it helped to hear from her how well he did.

Chloe is about a month out from surgery now and while the first few weeks were challenging I am very happy with my decision now. Chloe is back to her old self and old habits just with some minor modifications to help her get onto the furniture. I used an extra large dog crate for her after surgery with a large rubber maid bin with a cut out for her to enter as a litter box lined up next to one of the doors (now she can get into her old litter box just fine),  the crate worked so well and she still wants to hang out in there a few times a day likely because she feels safe in there now. I highly recommend squeeze up treats, it seems many cats struggle with eating and drinking the first few days and even when she wasn’t wanting to eat much those treats did the trick. Getting the pain management right as I’m sure you’ve heard also seemed to really help with that. I was lucky in that Chloe left her stitches alone so I didn’t have to use the cone much but it seems like from what I’ve heard about front leg amps the onesies work well, I used the inflatable one when I had to.

There will likely be some ups and downs in the beginning which will have you questioning everything but keeping in touch on here and the hotline will get you through, it was so helpful when I started to panic. 

Wishing you and Castiel the best of luck 😺

The Rainbow Bridge



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20 October 2021 - 10:45 am
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Shannan your insight and your experience here is invaluable. We are SO HOPPY for you and Chloe. It's great to hear the pawsitivity and joy in your voice, thanks for sharing with others!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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24 October 2021 - 10:18 pm
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We had a surgical consult last week and Castiel's surgery is scheduled for Wednesday October 27.  We drop him off early in the morning and then we panic and collapse into a heap of tears, I think. We're still not sure we are making the right decision but the vets and oncologists seem to be in agreement that this is his best chance to save and prolong his life. The doing nothing option seems bad and we're told radiation and chemo without surgery won't work in this case. There are no guarantees, of course, which makes it difficult and not everyone thinks we are doing the right thing. It would be so much easier if there were 100 percent guarantees in life or if Castiel could talk. I wish I could explain it to him.

We checked his thyroid, as the CT showed an enlarged thyroid gland on one side. The vet and oncologist think it's likely a benign cyst. He doesn't have hyperthyroidism according to the hormone test we just had done. We can't be sure it's not a malignant cyst but we are told that malignant thyroid cysts in cats are fairly rare in cats, so we are hoping it is benign. Testing is difficult as the surgeon says Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) results are not usually reliable and the best way to test it is to remove it, which is another major surgery with a lot of vasculature. We are going to cross our fingers and hope it is benign and leave it alone -- that is the recommendation of the professionals we consulted. We will concentrate on the fibrosarcoma, which we know is malignant.

We think Castiel would want to live, which is why we scheduled the surgery. He loves lying around the house, playing with his feather toys and catnip mice alongside his siblings, and he is always ready to help with jigsaw puzzles -- mostly by sprawling across them. We've been pouring over everyone's comments for suggestions and tips and have taken them all to heart.  We're trying to prepare as best we can. I lit a candle for him at church this morning and we are hoping for a good outcome. We've asked all our friends to pray, cross their fingers, or employ whatever kind of luck or faith they believe in for him. I can't begin to tell you how scared we are. We've been waking up with nightmares all week. We started a blog for him today. It took us awhile to learn what we are doing (and we are still a little uncertain about how to do things) so we just have a post introducing him right now. When the first post is approved, we'll write another that tells his story as it unfolds. 

We asked all the questions you have all suggested. Castiel will be getting a Fentanyl patch (12mcg) after surgery. The doctor also mentioned another drug that starts with a B (I forgot name but a pain reliever) that he might need after the patch and possibly Gabapentin, if needed. The doctors seemed willing to prescribe good medications for him. They tell us the Fentanyl is safe and not like the illicit stuff you hear about on the news all the time. He will stay overnight one night in hospital. That seems short to me but I guess that is what they do. He's being treated at a specialty hospital  (SAGE Concord, CA) and the surgeon is Board Certified so we are hoping all goes well. The costs are astronomical but we will manage. When we adopted him we made a commitment to care for him and we take that seriously. He's family and we are doing everything for him that we would do for any other family member who had a medical crises. Please keep your fingers crossed for our wee panther.

Michigan


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25 October 2021 - 8:31 am
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We drop him off early in the morning and then we panic and collapse into a heap of tears, I think. We're still not sure we are making the right decision but the vets and oncologists seem to be in agreement that this is his best chance to save and prolong his life. The doing nothing option seems bad and we're told radiation and chemo without surgery won't work in this case. There are no guarantees, of course, which makes it difficult and not everyone thinks we are doing the right thing. It would be so much easier if there were 100 percent guarantees in life or if Castiel could talk. I wish I could explain it to him.

Come home and get things prepared for Castiel's homecoming. I got busy. That's what helped me. Prepare and stay on task; the mind will still wonder, but this is the time to refocus on your new journey, not the past. 

Do get some rest. You will need a reserve.

Quality of LIFE is what you are choosing! Doing nothing is not an option, or you would not be here. So let that go - it is not an option! We get put in this corner, we make the best-informed decision and move forward. There are NO guarantees in life!

Castiel is talking to you. He is showing you he has life left to live, right? YES. And you can explain to Castiel, I told Purrkins and explained all that would happen. Did he understand? No idea; however, it helped me talk and explain. Lord only knows he may have understood?!

we checked his thyroid, as the CT showed an enlarged thyroid gland on one side. The vet and oncologist think it's likely a benign cyst. He doesn't have hyperthyroidism according to the hormone test we just had done. We can't be sure it's not a malignant cyst but we are told that malignant thyroid cysts in cats are fairly rare in cats, so we are hoping it is benign. Testing is difficult as the surgeon says Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) results are not usually reliable and the best way to test it is to remove it, which is another major surgery with a lot of vasculature. We are going to cross our fingers and hope it is benign and leave it alone -- that is the recommendation of the professionals we consulted. We will concentrate on the fibrosarcoma, which we know is malignant.

B9 is what you hold onto, and yes your focus is removing the painful sarcoma and giving qol to Castiel.

We think Castiel would want to live, which is why we scheduled the surgery. He loves lying around the house, playing with his feather toys and catnip mice alongside his siblings, and he is always ready to help with jigsaw puzzles -- mostly by sprawling across them.

Of course, Castiel wants to hop on and live even minus a limb. He will amaze you in a few weeks. He will still enjoy all those things on three and more because that painful tumor will be gone!

I can't begin to tell you how scared we are.

NO need to explain. We have all been in your shoes. WE KNOW and understand 1000% it is terrifying, but we have to refocus our brains for our furmily. We are doing this for Castiel to give him life. We are choosing life over a limb! Please repeat to yourself!

Our thoughts and attitudes make a difference in recovery, and our furmily will follow our lead. We have to breathe, inhale 4 hold 4 exhale slowly 8 OK! Refocus and know you are not alone on this journey!

Castiel will be getting a Fentanyl patch (12mcg) after surgery. The doctor also mentioned another drug that starts with a B (I forgot name but a pain reliever) that he might need after the patch and possibly Gabapentin, if needed.

B - Buprenorphine. It won't be a MIGHT need. IT IS NEEDED!
This is major surgery we are cutting bone, muscle nerves, pain management is critical for a smooth recovery for Castiel and You! I can't stress this point enough. Gabapentin IS also needed. Not all cats have the same protocol. Here was what Purrkins medication duration ended up being

Purrkins meds & duration 

  • 14 days Gabapentin 100 mg capsule – one capsule by mouth every 8 hours
  • 12 days Buprenorphine 0.3 mg 0.25 ml every 8-12 hours

Spaced the Gabapentin and Buprenorphine 1 hour apart per our instructions.

I opened the Gabapentin capsule into a little bowl (pestle)
I added a small amount of sardine water or tuna water, mixed the Gabapentin, used a syringe and sucked the mixture back up into the syringe to syringe to Purrkins.

They originally only sent us home with 3 days worth of Burprenophine it was not enough and Purrkins was in pain thankfully, we had no issues getting more prescribed. But I can tell you i would have rather had too much medication & not need it, rather than having to pack Purrkins up for a road trip for more meds! (I would not leave him alone) . Either way, i was thankful we could get what we needed. You do not want Castiel to have break thru pain.

They tell us the Fentanyl is safe and not like the illicit stuff you hear about on the news all the time. He will stay overnight one night in hospital. That seems short to me but I guess that is what they do. 

Purrkins was also on Fentanyl in the hospital. Many cats only stay one night. Purrkins stayed longer, and honestly, although he was in excellent care, he was kept too long IMO for his purrsonality. Purrkins would have done better coming home sooner!

He's family and we are doing everything for him that we would do for any other family member who had a medical crises. Please keep your fingers crossed for our wee panther.

EXACTLY!
Of course, Castiel is family, and you are doing EVERYTHING FOR HIM! We will be saying prayers for the wee panther, all of you, and keeping fingers and paws crossed for a successful uneventful surgery.

Please let us know when you hear Castiel is in recovery. We will be waiting to hear!

You guys have this! I know it does not feel like it now, but you WILL!
AND PLEASE keep breathing 4-4-8 ! Give Castiel a smooch and chin scratch from us, please!

P.S. whoever is not supporting you at this time. Please disconnect your energy from them for the next few days. that's the last thing you need!
We are sending massive hugs!

(((HUGS)))

Holly & Purrkins

💝💝💝

The Rainbow Bridge



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25 October 2021 - 10:28 am
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((((hugs))))

I know you are scared, it's a scary situation when you are just stepping into it. But take things one step at a time. You can lean on us, we are here for all of you. Castiel has it sooo good. He has people who are doing everything in their power to give him a chance at a great, long life. And he has an excellent medical team at SAGE (I'm very familiar with them). 

Holly's insight is spot-on. Yes, better to have too much pain medication on hand than too little, for a procedure like this. I also believe that the Gabapentin is a must, based on our interviews with pain experts. SAGE is a great practice so I'm sure you won't come home without it, but if for some reason they don't give it to you, insist on it. Dr. Downing's Gabapentin video has good info about why. 

And yep, one night in the hospital is usually enough for them to be ready to come home. Occasionally two are needed, but it sounds like they are very confident that Castiel is healthy enough to come home the next day. That's paweseome! 

Stay strong. Vent all your worries and concerns here and we will try to help answer your questions OK? Keep us posted! This will be behind you before you know it. Really!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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25 October 2021 - 9:17 pm
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Thank you so much Holly, Purrkins, and Jerry's Pack.  We  are so grateful for your support and advice.  We've had several Chewy deliveries today and everyone is excited about the boxes. We've been setting up the new litter boxes, ramps, and raised dishes. Castiel's new onesies arrived. We ordered two so we can have one to wash. The seamstress at our local drycleaner is helping adjust the outfits. Castiel had a fitting today and was not impressed. He didn't fuss but he did give us a face that said, "not cool." I think he thought it might be a Halloween dress-up session. He's not a fan. I managed to be somewhat productive at work. I'm trying to get a lot done today and tomorrow because I think the rest of the week will be a wash (don't tell the boss).  Castiel is having a snoozy day but so are all the cats. It was rainy and cool -- no sun spots.  Castiel spent most of the day napping on his favourite blue velvety chair.  Fingers crossed this week goes well. We will definitely ask for the extra medicines. Thank you all again so much! -- Michelle and Brian

Virginia




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25 October 2021 - 9:17 pm
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Holly, your I sight is invaluable!!  Thank you so much for taki9ng time to offer all this incredible  support

♥️♥️♥️

Michell and Brian, Castiel  is clearly adored.  You are doing an excellent  job of preparing for Castiel's  adventure  as a tripawd.

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

The Rainbow Bridge



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26 October 2021 - 9:50 am
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You are so welcome! Everything is going exactly as it should, great job smiley_clap

I can't wait to get over to your blog, I hope it's good therapy for you guys.

Hang in there! Just a few more days.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Michigan


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26 October 2021 - 5:30 pm
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Your welcome!

I'm sure they loved the boxes & the content;)

He didn't fuss - that's the key part. Excellent; hopefully, he will feel comfier with the onesie than the cone! It's not cool, Castiel, but it beats the alternative. We were fortunate Purrkins did not mind his at all. Like Castiel, he detested the cone on four legs. I could not see Purrkins on three trying to navigate with one. I was so thankful the surgeon gave the go-ahead.

I read some of your blog this a.m., its excellent. Castiel is a sweetheart.💝

Hopefully, the sun was out there today, and Castiel got his sun puddles.

Good job on the meds! Yes, both are a must!

We will be with you in spirit tomorrow! Update us when you can please.

Give Castile a special smooch from us, please.

(((Hugs)))

Holly & Purrkins💝💝💝
🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

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27 October 2021 - 5:28 pm
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Thank you Holly, Jerry and Benny and everyone on this site! We are using your kind words of encouragement and support to help us through this. This morning was really hard. Lots of tears were shed. Castiel did well during surgery and is resting at the hospital tonight.  He will be monitored 24/7. If he is doing well, he will come home tomorrow afternoon. We are hopeful he will do well. We've been reviewing the blogs and forums so that we are prepared. We've been reading about cat emotions - or what scientists and people think they know about cat emotions. We are trying to understand how Castiel will feel. Impossible, I know but at 2 am when you're worried, you think about these kind of things. I just hope he will still be Castiel -- that he will want belly rubs and look forward to doing jigsaw puzzles with me. The cats love jigsaw time -- they like to sit in the jigsaw box and lie across the puzzle or crawl over me while I'm working on it. Castiel likes to sprawl over whatever section I am working on. Almost all my jigsaw puzzles are missing pieces, which will infuriate someone someday, but I favor their company and accept a lost piece or two.  I just hope Castiel is still Castiel -- and that he will love us.

The Rainbow Bridge



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27 October 2021 - 5:34 pm
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That's so pawesome he made it through surgery!!! One down!!

It won't be long before he is also helping you with the puzzles. Just wait!

Try not to overthink things. He may be wonky when you pick him up but that is just temporary. You will get him back!

And remember that what we do know about animals emotions is that they reflect ours like a mirror. The more pawsitive you are the better he can feel that energy and use it for healing. You can do it!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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28 October 2021 - 2:30 am
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So happy to see Castiel is resting in the hospital seeing pink elephants.
Purrkin's first hour home was scary since he did not even attempt to stand there. When I got him home, he bolted flopped like fish out of the carrier. It was not what I expected & freaked me out. Purrkins was whacked, and this was his first attempt on three, so it was confusing to him. I'm not trying to scare you, just a heads up, Castiel may do some face plants as he learns his hop. I ended up assisting Purrkins, so he did not do so many faceplants and helped him in the litter box for the first few days until we made the modifications to the litter box for him to get in on his own.

Castiel is still Castiel; he will be a drugged Castiel and learning his new hop; you will see he is still in there, and the meds are necessary. So do your best to stay pawstive and stay strong!  Remember to breathe, inhale for 4 - hold for 4 & exhale slowly for 8 ! Try it, please.

You will need to find your center. If you panic, get on here but do walk away from Castiel, so he doesn't feel it ok. They are sponges!

You guys are stronger than you know. The first hard part is over!

Hopefully, you both got some rest last night. You will need it.

I'm not getting any email notifications, but I will check back today to see if Castiel is coming home.

(((Hugs)))
Holly & Purrkins💝💝💝

Virginia




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28 October 2021 - 10:25 am
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YAAAAAY!!!! SURGERY IS DONE!!!-   Castiel is high as skite right now and feeling no pain.  Probably  working  on a few jigsaw puzzles in his drugged state😉

Sloooow and easy and patience, patience, patience.  Castiel will be doing all the things he's always done, but every cat recovers at their own pace and in their own way.  

Stay connected and update when you can.  As you can already see, everyone here will help you navigate through recovery...especially  our kitty expert memebers.

You try and get some rest while you can.  He's in good hands and resting comfortably. 

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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28 October 2021 - 10:09 pm
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Thank you Holly ( and Purrkins) and Sally and alumni,

We are happy and relieved to have Castiel home. We thought we might be shocked or scared to see him but it was just pure joy and love.  The suture is not as bad as we imagined. While Castiel has had a few face plants while learning to walk we have helped him and he seems determined to move. He is still Castiel -- lovey, purry,  and waiting for belly rubs. He is sleeping now  it's been a crazy couple of days for a little black cat) but he seems to be doing well. I'll be sleeping with him tonight. I set up a low mattress on the floor and I will camp out with him. He'll have to have the cone on at night, which he'll hate but I hope he will rest and not fuss too much. I'll be there to help with any potty issues. We have lots of wee wee pads just in case. My husband and I will rotate sleeping with him each night during these first two weeks. When he is able to walk more, we'll bring him upstairs with us. We just don't want him to jump at night and I think he would prefer to be in a safe recovery room overnight rather than the large soft crate but we'll see how it goes. Right now, I'm just relieved to have him home. Thank you both again for all your help and support! -  --Michelle and Brian

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