Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat
Tripawds is the place to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.
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It’s been awhile since I posted anything. Lucky is growing like a weed! Still hopping around with his stump dangling. Surgery is scheduled for Tuesday Jan 19. I had actually started considering leaving it and not amputating. Last week we noticed blood on the end of his stump. He had broken the skin open (something the vet had warned us about). We watched carefully for any signs of infection. Luckily (no pun intended) it healed in its own! I just had a conversation with the head vet (and owner) of our clinic. I guess I just needed reassurance that this would be the best move for Lucky in the long run. I’m hoping I don’t regret it. So I’m trying to get ready for recovery physically and mentally. Surgery is on a Tuesday, he should come home either that day or the day after. I’m going to take the rest of that week off to monitor him. A couple of questions:
has anyone had other cats in the house when you went through amputation? How did you handle recovery area? Is there anything I can do so he doesn’t smell overly of vet to the other cats? I’m concerned about them trying to pick in him.
We have a pet corral – 6 sided netting sided with a zippered door and top. We used this when he first came to live with us and had him in the living room so we had constant access to him and gave him a place to nap safe from the other 5 cats. When he started to climb the walls literally we took it down. (He had plenty of time outside of it playing and romping and exploring) I don’t know whether we should try to use it again so he is close by and not closed in a room by himself. Any thoughts?? We do have a room that we call the kitten room since it is where we start newcomers before introducing them to our “herd”. It is way at the end of the hall from the living room and kitchen where we spend most of our time. I just need some thoughts on this.
Thanks for your help. Can you tell I’m nervous?!
Barb & Lucky
22 February 2013
Of course you’re nervous, we all understand if he word “amputation” is scary. Uoj ARE maki g the right decision to avoid any ore potential problems with that stump, which would definitely occur.
The ,itty members will be chiming in to answer your questions. They’ve all set up a recovery area, they’ve had other cat members in the household, etc. My first inclination is to suggest the “pen” so he will be confined and safe and still in a room with uou. That said, the kitty room sou ds doable too for the first several days. That would give him peace and quiet and he would not be bothered. by other kitties. I know sometimes cats have hissed and fussed when their pals came home from the hospital at first for exactly the reason uou said. The hospital smell..
There’s a spray some here use called Fenaway..or Fenswaso etching like tha. They use it as a calming agent for all the kitties and seem to swear by it.
If I recall, you’ve read the e-books on cats recovery, etc. Auch great tips in there.
Anyway, again , kitty members will be along shortly to give you far better input than I. You’re moving forward with a plan that will give Lucky the chance to live his life to the fullest with not worries about that stump causing problems. He’s so lucky to jave you!
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!
Trust me, if his leg is dangling around and getting banged up, amputation really does seem like the best course of action. Cats do so well on three! Check out Dr. Kennedy’s thoughts about three-legged cats.
has anyone had other cats in the house when you went through amputation? How did you handle recovery area? Is there anything I can do so he doesn’t smell overly of vet to the other cats?
MANY Trikitty folks have been through this. Huckleberry’s story is one of the best examples of coping with feline siblings during amputation recovery. Also see:
We have a whole section about it in our e-book, Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats if you haven’t seen it yet.
A week from now surgery will be all over and recovery will be beginning. Lucky starts his pre-surgery gabapentin tonight. He has broken open (again) the bottom of his stump so he will have to go on antibiotics tomorrow to be on the safe side. His room will be cleared out of as much stuff as possible to eliminate enticing climbing and jumping locations. He will begin his recovery contained in his corral/pen. Unfortunately, I think I am going to request him to come home the evening of surgery since they don’t have someone there to monitor the animals overnight. At least I can keep an eye on him through the night. I have taken Tuesday (surgery day) through the rest of next week off to take care of him. Question – how often / much should I be watching or checking in on him?? I probably will be up most of his first night home. Just not sure if I need to be constantly in the room the first few days to monitor him.
I am going over the “shopping list” and will be buying whatever I need in addition to his Fancy Feast in case he won’t eat. A little bit of spoiling won’t hurt him. His alternate e-collar will be here hopefully by the end of the week. Litter box . . . well we are going to try the small one we used when we first got Lucky. My husband had cut an entry for him so he didn’t have to go over the sides. Hopefully it is big enough or I may be making one!! Is there anything else I haven’t thought of?? Please let me know. Nerves are definitely kicking in!
Sorry, i keep getting signed out. Huckleberry had siblings before he knew it😻
Do you have a room/ place that you can recover him separately from the others? I took our bed off the frame in our spare room and made sure he didn’t have anything in there that he could get hurt with. However.. with him being feral i also had a huge dog crate that he used regularly until after staple removal. His visitation with his new brothers was one at a time and supervised until there was a better comfort level.
We integrated them slowly and it wasn’t until after staple removal that i allowed much activity.
After surgery they really need a lot of sleep, eat, eliminate… repeat.
All of our situations are different, but this worked for us.
Jackie and Huck❤
As far as watching him… because we had him confined to spare bedroom, my husband and i took turns hanging out and watching him. I did download a bunch of soothing music and cat tv in the case that he had to be alone for a bit but we were pretty glued to him until suture removal.
Hi Barb and Lucky,
I’m so glad to hear that he will start gabapentin before surgery. Our oncologist prescribed gabapentin for our cat Molly two weeks before surgery. We didn’t know how beneficial it was going to be for pre-surgery until I found an article on this site about this medicine. So far, we haven’t noticed phantom pain (fingers crossed). We also took Molly home the same day she had her surgery because the vet doesn’t offer overnight stay. We kindly asked the vet if he could look at his schedule that day and consider whether Molly can have her surgery first so that she can have more time to recover at the hospital. Her surgery was completed around noon. We picked her up around 7 pm. The first night was difficult but it got better I promise. She was so drugged from anesthesia and just wanted to sleep. We offered her food but she didn’t want it. We laid next to her on the floor of our bedroom (confined space) for the next 3-4 days just in case she needed help with going to the litter box, food stations, etc. She did well without our help. We put a lot of blankets on the floor to keep her comfortable. We also fed her wet food so that it would help with her bowel movement. We tried two new litter boxes with low entry but she rejected. She wanted her old box that has high sides and more room. It really depends on the cat – you’ll just have to see how it goes. You could start him on the litter box that you’re going to use post-surgery so he’ll get used to it. We didn’t use the crate because we wanted her to have more space to move around, which helps with bowel movement. We also started her on joints supplement (Dasuqin) after her stitches were removed two weeks later. Wishing Lucky a speedy recovery! 🙂
Jackie, we have a room (the kitten room) that is a spare “bedroom” made into an office. It has a desk, chairs, cat tree, a shelf fashioned on top of a 2-drawer file cabinet that has a printer on it, and 2 storage units(too tall for him to climb). The cat tree and chairs are coming out. The closet is open (we took the sliding doors off awhile ago) there is a shoe storage 2 shelf unit in there that he currently climbs on. I will either remove it or put stuff on them so he can’t climb if he tried.
He will start recovery in a pen that we used when he was just a month old. The sides are netting and the top zips off. There is also a zip flap like door. It is big enough for a small litter box, blankets for a bed and food & water dishes. He has room to move around a bit.
I have used Dasuquin on cats before i had a tripawd but they were older. Can’t say it would hurt, it’s a great supplement but I’m not a vet. Maybe you should ask your vet and get their opinion? In my older kitties it was a wonderful supplement. Worked well with my older pups too ❤
Your recovery room sounds wonderful. Sorry, i think we’re all posting together and they are posting out of order.
You got this! And we will be here to help you❤
Im off to bed now but will check in in the morning.
11 July 2016
Glad to see you have made a decision that’s part of the battle. You have received fantastic insight already!
Glad to see you started the Gaba beforehand; we did not and wished we would have. I think it is imperative to do so.
“I had not thought about supplements. Is that to ward off arthritis? Lucky is only 6 months old. Does he need them so soon? Opinion”
Purrkins was started on a joint supplement right after his amputation from our holistic vet and has remained on one. We attended the tri limb webinar tripawds had! The vet also suggests starting all tripawds on a joint supplement. The opinion is YES, and absolutely speak to your vet about it.
You are doing great prepping for surgery; the only thing I’m not seeing is Rug runners or yoga mats and after recovery steps? Cats do great on three, but we want to minimize any stress on the remaining joints. Wet food✅ YES, and grab a can of tuna in water or sardines in water. You can use the water to help entice drinking. I also used the water to mask the GABA we had capsules. Baby food Gerbers meat based – turkey or chicken and gravy, are helpful in recovery. Not a balanced food, but great to have on hand! If you have other kitties in the house, i suggest a multi-cat diffuser plugged in. Not everyone needs them; however, we did and still do.
Bringing Lucky home the first night will be challenging, but many have done so, and you right on to NOT leave him overnight when it is not 24-7 care. Get an emergency contact number and know where you would go if you had to. Just a safety measure and peace of mind to not scramble, god forbid you would have any issues.
The hospital iced purrkins incision for three days, and then we had instructions for warm compresses. I have this info on Purrkins blog.
We were with Purrkisn 24-7 in a spare room and took shifts watching. At one point, we set up a motion camera (old iPhone/presence app (free) to venture out of the room and know all was OK if the camera sent an alert, we headed back in. Trust your instincts, OK; they will not steer you wrong!! Take each day as it comes, and you will know! If you are unsure, get on here and ask. Remember to take deep breaths if you get panicky! Inhale 1,2,3,4 hold 1,2,3,4 and exhale thru your mouth 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 it will ground you i promise. OK ( ask us all how we know this;)
Everyone here will guide you and hold you up. We will be thinking of you and pop in when we can. If you can use our specific help, pm me OK, i will give you my email as we have our hands full right now.
We wish you and Lucky a smooth, uneventful recovery.
BIG hugs, scratches to Lucky
Holly & Purrkins💝💝💝
Hey there! Just sent you a PM regarding your blog. Meanwhile…
Question – how often / much should I be watching or checking in on him?? I probably will be up most of his first night home. Just not sure if I need to be constantly in the room the first few days to monitor him.
Is there anything else I haven’t thought of?? Please let me know. Nerves are definitely kicking in!
I think you’re hitting on all the important areas and the advice from others is spot-on. Check out the Tripawds Recovery Shopping List for more ideas.
I’m so glad to see that he’s starting Gabapentin now, that’s should make a big difference in his pain relief after surgery.
The TriLimb webinar Holly referred to actually got published today in Tripawds News so be sure to check it out!