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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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ISS Kitty getting surgery today! Payout/General advice?
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Forum Posts: 3
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9 May 2019
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9 May 2019 - 2:15 pm
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Hi everyone, this is my first post as I only recently found out my 10 year old tuxedo cat would be a tripod! After developing a sudden large mass on her leg, Chloe was diagnosed with Feline Injection Site Sarcoma. It’s been an up and down hill (mostly downs) but I’m starting to level out and grasp things. I have a few questions though. 

First off, I am wondering if anyone who dealt with ISS got a payout from their vaccine manufacturer? Our surgical vet claimed they would cover partial to full costs of the procedure. However, Merck, our manufacturer, only covers costs for mass removal, which is significantly less money than amputation. Our vet was shocked and said mass removal was no longer the accepted procedure and didn’t know of any companies that would have such a protocol. This has all been very confusing, and crushing emotionally and financially. Has anyone else ever dealt with Merck or another manufacturer that only covered mass removal? 

As for care, Chloe was admitted this morning for her surgery and will be coming home Friday at noon. I’ve been reading up online for after care and think I have a general grasp of it. I am curious about people’s time commitments during the healing process. I work part time, 29 hours a week, morning  and evening. My boss has offered me time off to care for her, but with the unexpected financial issues I need all the work I can get, so I feel conflicted. How much time a day were you home caring for your pet post surgery?

and finally, we have a small dog who weighs the same as Chloe, nine pounds. They are not great friends as our dog gets too excited with her. I’m am very concerned about introducing them post-op. How long did everyone wait to introduce pets after surgery? We’re there any surprise issues such as amputees being more wary or aggressive? Or vice versa?

Thank you for any advice. I am so happy this site exists. Since I watch Vet Ranch videos pretty regularly, I found myself psychologically ready and accepting of surgery, but it’s been so emotionally draining and isolating. I didn’t know of anyone with an amputee cat and certainly not one that lost a leg while living with them. This site has been a life raft for me. Have a great day!

Livermore, CA




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9 May 2019 - 2:20 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I’m glad you found us! I’m sorry you are dealing with amputation though.  We have a great crew of Tri-cat families here who will be along shortly to give you great advice.

I have to run right now but wanted to at least get your post approved so others can see it.  I’ll be back later to check in.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Michigan


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10 May 2019 - 3:25 am
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Hello & Welcome,

We are sorry you have to join us and are dealing with an ISS.
We have had a lot of members with VAS, ISS join. 

chloecat said 
First off, I am wondering if anyone who dealt with ISS got a payout from their vaccine manufacturer? Our surgical vet claimed they would cover partial to full costs of the procedure. However, Merck, our manufacturer, only covers costs for mass removal, which is significantly less money than amputation. Our vet was shocked and said mass removal was no longer the accepted procedure and didn’t know of any companies that would have such a protocol. This has all been very confusing, and crushing emotionally and financially. Has anyone else ever dealt with Merck or another manufacturer that only covered mass removal? 

We have not personally Purrkins lost his left front leg to a soft tissue sarcoma. I just wanted to welcome you and give you what information I could.

Sorry to hear Merck is only covering the mass removal that should include the amputation since that is the only way the mass can be removed and hopefully they can get sufficient margins. Which vaccine is to blame? I think it is important to share this info to help other cat’s.

I can’t help you with any details on what others have or have not received. It varies from what I understood. No one has shared the payout that I am aware of anyway. I know when you sign the forms and take the money you are waiving any liability to the manufacturer. We also understand what this surgery costs! We do what we have to do to help our furmily member!

Did you see this forum?
Vaccine Associated Sarcoma – Fibrosarcoma, Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma 

As for care, Chloe was admitted this morning for her surgery and will be coming home Friday at noon. I’ve been reading up online for after care and think I have a general grasp of it. I am curious about people’s time commitments during the healing process. I work part time, 29 hours a week, morning  and evening. My boss has offered me time off to care for her, but with the unexpected financial issues I need all the work I can get, so I feel conflicted. How much time a day were you home caring for your pet post surgery?

I hope Chloe had an uneventful surgery and everything went well! I’m glad to see you are doing your research we have tons of information on the site! Forums, blogs we also have a Feline Amputation Recovery and Care Handbook Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats 

I know funds are extremely short but wanted you to know such a book exists if you didn’t see it. It makes finding the information a lot easier, and we are all here to help either way. 

I am happy to read you have an understanding boss, and he is offering the time off. Have you asked if it is possible to get extra hours after the surgery and possibly take the time that he offered? It sure would be worth an ask.

Recovery is usually 14 days do you have a support team that can help you and Chloe? Someone to stay with Chloe while you are at work?

I was home with Purrkins thru recovery 14 days. I understand why you are conflicted this is never easy and the financial aspect we all understand too well! I would try to be home at least the first couple of days at least or have someone come over and stay with Chloe if you cannot be home. Meds need to be given as prescribed. Someone needs to watch Chloe is not getting to the incision. They may need coaxing to eat, drink, may need help in the litter box. Every kitty is different, and there is no one size fits all. It would be best if someone is with her. Hopefully, others will chime in that could not take off work and offer what they did.

Do you have have a room or space for Chloe to recover in? If there is a bed, it’s best if you can put the mattress directly on the floor cats will 99.9% of the time head directly under the bed if given a chance. You don’t want Chloe under the bed. They usually want to come home and hide to recover, which is normal for cats when they are hurt or ill. Have a safe area you can easily access her for med time. Purrkins chose the closet in the spare room we set up for recovery. Some people use dog cages some use tents. If using a dog cage, I would cover a good part of it to make her feel secure.

and finally, we have a small dog who weighs the same as Chloe, nine pounds. They are not great friends as our dog gets too excited with her. I’m am very concerned about introducing them post-op. How long did everyone wait to introduce pets after surgery? We’re there any surprise issues such as amputees being more wary or aggressive? Or vice versa?

Yes, the amputee and the other animal can be wary or aggressive both – They can absolutely be fine too; it depends on the individual and their relationships. Check out this forum on what we all did with another kitty in the house. It would also apply to dogs. 

How Did You Prepare Your Other Cats for the New TriKitty? 

I would only reintroduce them after Chloe is starting to show her sparkle again. Only while you are there and can supervise if it goes awry in any manner or it causes Chloe stress in any way end the visit. You want to put Chloe first when she gets home she does not need any added stressors while in recovery.

Thank you for any advice. I am so happy this site exists. Since I watch Vet Ranch videos pretty regularly, I found myself psychologically ready and accepting of surgery, but it’s been so emotionally draining and isolating. I didn’t know of anyone with an amputee cat and certainly not one that lost a leg while living with them. This site has been a life raft for me. Have a great day!

Yes this emotionally draining to the max, we all understand! Try to keep your emotions in check when Chloe comes home; they are mirrors to our emotions. I say try because we are human but being aware makes all the difference. You will catch it, I panicked the first hour home and knew it I regrouped ASAP for Purrkins! 

I am sure most of us didn’t know a three-legged animal or anyone with one until we joined this site. Your not alone you know people who do now. Purrkins will be on 3 – 3 years three this July. He does fantastic on three. 

Make sure you are coming home with more than three days worth of pain meds & know how to administer them. If you are not comfortable giving meds be sure to tell the surgeon: pain meds or lack of make or break recovery. You want Chloe medicated and resting. We had restricted activity for 14 days. Purrkins was on Buprenorphine for 12 days and Gabapentin for 14 days. Meds and the duration seem to vary per Vet and kitty. Three days is not enough medication, and either is just a Nsaid. Amputation is a huge surgery we need big pain meds on board!  Cats, dogs, humans are no different; they all feel pain the difference is cats are masters at hiding pain and seem to get sent home with fewer pain meds — advocate for Chloe. 

Let us know when you get Chloe home & if you have other questions, we will all do our best to help. 

Hugs,
Holly & Purrkins❤️❤️❤️

Michigan


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10 May 2019 - 4:25 am
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I wanted to add this link VASCATS  to check out there is a support group as well you can join. There is  a financial assistance section under
 VAS INFO. I did not have time to check if they have been updated, but hopefully, you can apply to cover more of the cost? Worth looking into for sure.

Holly & Purrkinssp_hearticon2

The Rainbow Bridge



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10 May 2019 - 10:57 am
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Hey there, welcome! How is Chloe doing today? Is she home yet?

I’m happy that you found us too. Now you know others with a three-legged cat! We have learned so much about feline amputation recovery and life on three legs through the years, thanks to great folks like you taking time to share your experiences. 

Your boss is wonderful! I think that in general most people take a week off if that’s possible, just to make sure things are going ok with their new Tripawd. And if that isn’t possible, having someone check in during the day, or even doing a medical boarding situation with your vet can also be helpful.

Holly is the expert on the ISS information around here so she’s your go-to gal. I only know what I’ve read through the information she’s shared with us and other resources we’ve found online when researching Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats.

As for introducing Chloe to your pup, well, I think that just depends on their relationship. Chloe isn’t likely to be weak or fragile once those stitches come out, she will probably hold her ground if your pup gets overly excited. I think that in general animals give each other way more space than we give them credit when we are nervous about an introduction. So take it slow, have someone around just in case and odds are they will be perfectly OK around each other.

Let us know how Chloe’s homecoming goes, we hope everything goes great!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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The Rainbow Bridge



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10 May 2019 - 11:01 am
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Hey there, welcome! How is Chloe doing today? Is she home yet?

I’m happy that you found us too. Now you know others with a three-legged cat! We have learned so much about feline amputation recovery and life on three legs through the years, thanks to great folks like you taking time to share your experiences. 

Your boss is wonderful! I think that in general most people take a week off if that’s possible, just to make sure things are going ok with their new Tripawd. And if that isn’t possible, having someone check in during the day, or even doing a medical boarding situation with your vet can also be helpful.

Holly is the expert on the ISS information around here so she’s your go-to gal. I only know what I’ve read through the information she’s shared with us and other resources we’ve found online when researching Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats.

As for introducing Chloe to your pup, well, I think that just depends on their relationship. Chloe isn’t likely to be weak or fragile once those stitches come out, she will probably hold her ground if your pup gets overly excited. I think that in general animals give each other way more space than we give them credit when we are nervous about an introduction. So take it slow, have someone around just in case and odds are they will be perfectly OK around each other.

Let us know how Chloe’s homecoming goes, we hope everything goes great!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Livermore, CA




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10 May 2019 - 12:10 pm
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Hi again, I hope the surgery went well.

I don’t have much to contribute to the VAS/ISS conversation, Holly gave you some good links.

As far as introducing the pup back into the mix I would wait a bit until Chloe is comfortable.  Most pup owners here talk about how their quad dogs were respectful of their new Tripawds, but I had a different experience.

My Pug Maggie lost a rear leg to cancer and my parents kept her little sis Tani for me for a few days so I could focus on Mag.  They were sisters from different litters who had been together with me for more than 5 years.  There were a few alpha squabbles between them over the years but nothing too serious.  When my dad brought Tani over I wasn’t at all prepared for the reaction, I should have had him keep Tani on her leash, but I was tired and not really thinking.  Tani took one look at Mag in her bed and attacked her! Before I could intervene Mag had Tani on the floor and that was the end of it.  Luckily there was no damage done to Mag’s incision and as it turns out Tani never challenged her again, but it could have been much worse.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Michigan


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10 May 2019 - 12:42 pm
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I wanted to clarify – I am no expert;) I am only providing some information we have. We have a lot of information on VAS, happy to share whatever we have but I have no personal experience to share. I would suggest joining the VAS support group. They have experience and have a kitty that has been thru this, filed for reimbursements dealt with all of the legal aspects, etc. I believe you will get your specific questions regarding the pharma company answered there. We are still here to support you and help thru.  

Holly & Purrkinssp_hearticon2

Virginia




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10 May 2019 - 1:25 pm
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And one more suggestion on top of the great ones above…kitty Mona (Kerren) actually went through  the whole process too.   Here’s  a link tthe start of her posts:   kazann.  https://tripawd…..file/9008/

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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10 May 2019 - 4:42 pm
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Oh my gosh thank you Sally, you rock!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

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10 May 2019 - 9:58 pm
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Hi everyone! I haven’t been around here for such a long time and for some reason I felt a need to check in and here is a VAS cat!! And Sally with her amazing memory remember I got guilt funds from Merck Canada for half of the $2,000 cost of her amputation in 2014.

I just read about someone who “managed to get a $5000 sum from the vaccine company, not just their original $3000 offer.  To cover any remaining radiotherapy, etc.”

The vet is the vaccine manufacturer’s customer. The vet can challenge the manufacturer to offer the full cost of amputation or he/she will purchase the vaccines elsewhere.

I wish you luck in getting appropriately compensated and that your cat heals well. 

Mona is doing great. Here she is under the blankets in the morning.

Hugs to all of you and your wonderful pets.

Kerren, Tripawd Mona and Handsome Eli

Michigan


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11 May 2019 - 7:31 am
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Hi, Kerren no coincidence as we say here!
You made my day seeing your post & seeing your both doing well!
I told Rene months ago I hoped you were ok that WE MISS YOU here.
Hugs & Scratches to Mona & Eli, please

As you can see Kerren & Mona are the go-to girls on VAS & success story on VAS.
Holly & Purrkins❤️

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11 May 2019 - 2:22 pm
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Hi everyone, thank you so much for the replies and resources! I will be checking them out throughly when I get my laptop (I accidentally left it on my desk near Chloe, but I don’t want to disturb her by getting it).

The surgery went very well. Our vet had more than a 5 cm margin and reported that Chloe reacted well to everything and was up and walking and eating within 24 hours. When we got her home and into the crate she was not too thrilled, wanting instead to hop/walk around the room. She did either pee or vomit very soon after arriving home. It smelled like bile but was only on her leg and belly. She spent yesterday afternoon and evening between the crate and on my bed, where she seems much more comfortable. She kept trying to jump up onto it when brought out for a potty break. 

The big issue came in the evening. I gave Chloe her medicine and sedative at 8pm so when I woke up at 6 for work she would be ready for another sedative, but all night she meowed and clawed the crate. At around 4am I prepared more sedative and brought her onto the bed where she alternated between sleeping, pacing, and asking for pets. At 5 I put her back and she seemed okay, but when I got up for work an hour later she started meowing and clawing. I called my mother from work to put her ear to the door to see if she was still going. She reported no sounds, so I don’t know if the restlessness was due to pain, stress, or just wanting to be with me. It was an incredibly exhausting night. I haven’t been back downstairs since coming home because I’m so worried she’ll start scratching again. I’m going to let her out at 2pm for her next dose of pain meds and sedative, then let her sleep on the bed for as long as possible. I don’t know if this is bad form and I’m possibly training her to scratch to be let out, but I’m so worried she’s going to hurt herself or get sick in the crate. 

Its impossible to move my bed off the frame or fortify it against her falling off from at least one sides, so I can’t keep letting her sleep there at night. I used my body to block her from one end, however at one point she tried to climb over me, I think in an attempt to get under the covers. I kept taking light naps, waking at her slightest movement, and it was really not sustainable. If all evenings will be like this then I must take time off work. 

Also, my vet did just give pain meds for three days, which I didnt realize when receiving them. That doesn’t seem like enough to me after a surgery like this, and a few comments mentioned being aware of that. I will call her on Monday to discuss it. 

Virginia




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11 May 2019 - 9:18 pm
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Glad surgery went well and Chloe is home!!  And yes, you are spot on about more pain meds.   So have your Vet give you a supply of pain meds for two weeks if possible.   You may not need them for that long at all, but still good to have on hand. This is majpr surgery and consistent pain management is so important  to help with the healing  process.

Chloe was probably still shaking off the hospital meds, as well and possibly  showing pain signs.  What pain meds is she on  and what is the sedative?   While the sedative  won’t  necessarily  help with the pain, it may make her ve loopy and confused.

Our wonderful  kitty members will have better advice than I, so stay tuned.  This is just me, but I would let Chloe sleep with you if that is where she feels most safe.  I realize keeping her from  jumping off the bed is an issue though.  I know it’s  good to make things as normal as possible, but I think initially  some extra spoiling  and nurturing helps healing.  Where did she sleep before?  Is the crate normally used just for Bet trips or is she used to  sleeping in it?

I know these first several days and nights are exhausting!! I think I slept a total of five hours the first three nights Happy Hannah was home.   Lots and lots of restlessness and whining.  TRY and get some naps anytime you can.  Maybe tweaking  rhe pajn meed per your Vet will help.

Hugs

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

PS.  Do glad to hear from you Kerren and to know Mona is dojng well!!!   I was going to PM you about Chloe and BAM, you beamed in!  Love to you and Mona❤

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!

Michigan


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12 May 2019 - 6:09 am
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Great Chloe did well thru surgery & glad to hear the surgeon was able to 5 cm plus margins.🎉

I have the same questions as Sally:)
What meds did they send you home with? We are asking to see if it is the meds or if she is in discomfort. Depending on what the meds are they may not do well when given together. Purrkins was on Buprenorphine and Gabapentin they were to be given one hour apart not together. We recently helped someone who was on the same, they gave those meds together, and the kitty was very anxious and thrashing, once they were given an hour apart, the kitty did well. I agree with the sedative too it can be useful, but it won’t help with surgical pain.

Here are some pain signals to watch for Feline Acute Pain Scale 

Tripawd Cats Pain Management Tips and Tricks

Please do follow up with your Vet on the pain meds 3 days is not enough pain medication after a surgery like this. Purrkins was sent home with 3 days of pain meds for dental cleaning and tooth extraction last year to put this into perspective. I do not know what on earth these Vets are thinking let’s take their limb off and send them home with three days worth of meds. Sorry, this is infuriating this continues to happen, it drives me bonkers any animal has to suffer it should never happen. We had to advocate to get Purrkins more meds several of has have had to. Advocate for Chloe.

As Sally said we all go thru the lack of sleep for days the first week especially you will have to rest when Chloe does. If you can take time off, I would for both of you.  If you can make it happen and if not see if your Mom is willing to take care of Chloe or someone else while you are away.

I think the bed is ok as long as you are with Chole, so there is no chance of her falling off. We have had a few kitties on the bed, and they have fallen off and gotten injured I’m not trying to scare you but give you a heads up, and I agree she wants to be close to you and as comfortable as possible. I would not walk away with her on the bed she may want to follow you things can happen so fast.

I hope last night went smoother the first few nights and days can be bumpy with the hospital meds and the new meds. Hospital meds will be wearing off, and you may have another dip. Be consistent on the meds and phone the vet asap on the meds. I hope you have enough meds to get thru today?

Chloe is drinking, eating and using the litter box ok?
Let us know how things are going and if the resources help out, please.

Hugs and scratches to Chloe.
Holly & Purrkins❤️

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