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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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Licking the scar - how long?
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Forum Posts: 8
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22 September 2021 - 9:21 am
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Hi,

first I want to say that this forum is really encouraging. As many I was very afraid of the front leg amputation (cancer) of my 16 year old cat because I was unsure how much happyness she might still have after the op. But on all the pictures shared in this forum there are so many pets which don't look sad, they look happy and that is what I was hoping for for my cat Callisto.

Well, the surgery was one month ago and she is still struggling. The main problem now is that Callisto is still licking a small part of her scar. Not the place where her limp was but below. There is still some loose skin dangling around and that is where she keeps licking until it's bloody (so she still has to wear a donut stylish collar, soon trying out to get her into a body).
At the skinny part they missed one suture (is that the right word?); it was removed one week later than the others in a lot of small parts. So I'm a little bit afraid there might still be a part inside that skin which bothers her.
The vet said another possibility is that loose skin is the reason that makes her licking. The only way to remove it would be another surgery. But there is a problem: her kidneys suffered, she is eating kidney diet now and I dont want to damage them more; especially without any certainty that the licking will stop afterwards.

How long did your pets lick their scars? Is it possible she will stop? Because she does not care about the rest of the scar, just that small skinny part, she licked bloody twice. Maybe that interrupted the healing and that's why it is still tickling?
I also hope that with the fur coming back and some day covering the skinny part and all the rest, she might stop that intensive licking. Of course regarding the regrown fur that will take months. But I guess months wearing a body is still better than having your kidneys damaged even more, right?
I'm quite desperate, because it always gets worse. All started with her running against chairs, doors ect. Then she was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. I made it possible that she got a radioactive iodine treatment for that which worked really well although bothering her kidneys a bit. She also still needs medcine for her eyes but at least she can see a bit. Then came the cancer. Then her kidneys after all the narcosis. And now that licking.

I hope there will be a solution without another narcosis. She is wearing that collar for about 10!!! weeks now, this has to end.

Greeting from Germany

The Rainbow Bridge



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22 September 2021 - 10:18 am
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Welcome to you and Callisto! I'm sorry you had to join our club, thank you for sharing your experience and asking for input from the community. Every situation helps someone else later on, so we really appreciate your participation!

So it sounds like the vet has examined the area and not seen any other sutures that could be stuck in there? Did they test the area for any kind of wound infection? Animals don't lick for no reason, there is definitely something that is bothering her. Oftentimes, that reason is because of pain. If your current vet cannot figure out why, then it's time to take her for a second opinion at another vet clinic. If you can get her to a specialist who does multiple amputations a year (a vet surgeon), odds are they may have seen this situation before and may have more ideas about what's going on. Is it possible to get her looked at by another vet?

And how is her mobility? Is she able to get around otherwise? 

Sixteen is amazing! She is a very lucky cat to have you looking out for her. Hang in there, things will get better once your vet team figures this out.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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22 September 2021 - 12:58 pm
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He! Thx for kind words!

She got an appointment at the next vet clinic (where they also did the amputation) on Friday. They are going to do an ultrasound scan of her kidneys and the rest of her belly. Getting some urin is also planned. You got a good point, I will ask about experiences with that kind of behavior. They already told me on the phone that this loose skin part might bother her. Well, but that would mean a surgery...

The sutures were removed be my local vet, where they also did the last blood screening. They are nice there and often helped me with smaller problems, but when it gets more serious, I trust more in the vet clinic. I hope the vet got all the parts of the last suture. I remember him cursing while removing it in small parts.

Her mobility could be better I guess. The donut is a big handicap and she also has osteoarthrosis (gets Solensia against that; since July finally avaiable in Germany), but it get's better and better.  Nonetheless there is still room for improvement once she can get rid of that donut and learn how to hopp around. She is lying on a chair on the terrace right now, it was a really warm day.
I'm glad to see her there. She always liked lying there the whole day and it's good that she can still do that. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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22 September 2021 - 8:38 pm
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You are so welcome! I'm really glad that she'll be seen by the bigger clinic on Friday. That's exactly what I was hoping you would be able to do for her, and my guess is that they will figure out what's going on. I don't recall anyone saying that loose skin bothered their cat after surgery, but you never know. Cats have a mind of their own 🙂

You are on the right track with her care, I know her vet team will figure this out!

As for her mobility, you're right, with the donut it's slowing things down and making mobility harder than it needs to be right now. But if you can see her lying on her favorite spot, that's a really good sign that she's getting stronger with every new day. Have you seen our Tripawd cat exercise tips? Check with your vet clinic to see if it's OK to encourage her to do some gentle movements so she can strengthen. 

Let us know how the visit goes on Friday!

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




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22 September 2021 - 8:54 pm
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Those do its can certainly  be messing with your sweet kitty physically  and "emotionally " too.  Like Jerry said, it really is a good sign that she has started reclaiming  one of her favorite  spots.

After reading (and re-reading) your post, it still looks like a piece of suture could still be causing an issue.  I keep going vack to that aspect simply because  your Vet made sort of a vig deal avout how it was in many pieces  and he was not happy about it.

You're  doing such a good job of trying to figure this "challenge" out.  Hopefully  you'll get some answers tomorrow. 

We'll look for your update.

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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24 September 2021 - 9:54 am
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He! So I'm back from the vet clinic.

Regarding her kidneys the ultrasound scan and the urin probe showed what was expected after the latest blood screening - she has some troubles now with her kidneys. The vet told me it would look like the beginning of a chronic kidney disease. At least the phosphat is still low, so at the moment the treatment will be that renal diet food and regular screenings.
The vet also looked at the part Callisto is licking but did not find any signs of a ingrown suture. The advice was to try it again for small amounts of time and reward her (using a clicker) if she does not lick. Using a body for a transitinal period was also recommended, which would also be helpful because with the donut she is unable to pass the cat door, but with a body it should be possible. 

Well, I would have loved it if the vet found something as a suture still in there, but as it seems, that is not the problem. Psychological problems  which coudl cause the licking were also mentioned. She had an open wound at her now missing leg for  two months and was very customed to  trying to lick it. I dunno. Psychological problems as a reason are always so unsatisfying. I will try what they told me and hope the best. I guess there is not much more to do at the moment. Hopefully she will stop soon, there should be still a chance for that.

The exercise tips look promising. Without that donut she will hopefully be able to do them. I will take a closer look at them at the weekend.

Your warm welcome here in this forum really helped me to calm down a bit, thank you for that. There is still hope for her to live a good life. The vet also was pleased to hear about her progress. Sunday and Monday going to be really warm again, maybe a good opportunity for her to lay on the terrace again... and for me too. 🙂

The Rainbow Bridge



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24 September 2021 - 10:38 am
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Hey thanks for the update! It sounds like she is making really, really good progress overall, aside from the OCD licking. I can totally see that being the case, now that the vet has given her a good exam. I agree, an answer like "it's in her head" would make me a bit uncomfortable too! But I can see how the act of licking has become a compulsive habit, so I do like and respect the vet's idea to train it out of her. That will take some work as you know, but the body suit should help. Did you see the custom VetMed Wear Amputation Suit for cats?

Finally, a Great Surgery Cone Alternative for Cats, Too!

also see

Top Three Pet Recovery Cone Alternatives for Tripawds

There is absolutely lots of signs that she is going to have a good life! I'm wondering if a visit with an animal rehabilitation therapist will help too? The Tripawds Foundation can even pay for your first rehab visit , and many cat parents like Fergie's have found it to be sooo helpful!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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25 September 2021 - 12:48 pm
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Oh, you are so quick with your replies. I'm sorry I'm so slow; just a bit exhausted atm.

I was going to buy a body suit on Amazon and than sew up the opening for the missing leg. Do cats normally accept these body suits? Callisto is often a bit difficult, but it should definitly be an improvement compared to the donut, although that donut works quiet well. 

I have to consider the idea of an animal rehabilitation therapist. Have to admit I did not even think about that, not because I'm not convinced by their skills but when getting help from German forums it usually is all about vets and vet clinics. 
Sadly Callisto had a lot of stress the last 6 months. I was so often at a vet with her and it is still going on. Next Friday it's again time for her monthly Solensia and the following week she has an appointment at a vet who specialised on ophthalmology (although maybe I will delay that appointment for a few days so shes gets at last 10 days without anything).

Ok, that Saturday is nearly over. Tomorrow is big election day in Germany btw, everyone is voting for who is becoming the successor of Merkel.
I wish you a nice weekend and thx again for your efforts. Callisto and I really appreciate these!
🙂

The Rainbow Bridge



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25 September 2021 - 2:02 pm
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Oh my gosh you don't need to apologize for when you reply, we aren't going anywhere 🙂

Do cats normally accept these body suits? 

I would think that since Callisto is used to being in the awful cone for so long, that a body suit would be nothing in comparison. But all animals are different, so it's a coin-toss (especially when it comes to cats).

I have to consider the idea of an animal rehabilitation therapist. Have to admit I did not even think about that, not because I’m not convinced by their skills but when getting help from German forums it usually is all about vets and vet clinics. 

Animal physiotherapy (we call it "rehab" here in the States) is a relatively new field that most people aren't even aware of. When you connect with a skilled, trained physio, the difference is remarkable. Your thoughts about it made me think of Manni. He's an angel dog now but he and his mum lived in Berlin. She still does, and I would be happy to connect you if you'd like, just private message me. Here is Manni's Tripawds blog, and a post about his experience with physio. Very different than a cat's situation, but it gives you a good picture of how it can help. You may be able to find one that comes to your home, too.

A little practice makes a lot of perfect balance

 Tomorrow is big election day in Germany btw, everyone is voting for who is becoming the successor of Merkel.

Yes! It's news here too, a very big deal! We are watching closely. smiley16

Talk soon!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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27 September 2021 - 6:22 am
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He! Hope you had a nice weekend! It's too short usually. 

I just googled for physiotherapy for animals but got only one result that is at least somewhat near (still more than 70 km). I'm living at the North Sea in a thinky inhabited area. That has its benefits, but the lack of specialised services in the nearer environment is a disadvantage. Honestly at the moment I don't really know what to ask Manni's mum right now. I will come back to your offer once I will hire someone.

I hope the suit will arrive soon. Once it's here I will try to do these games for exercises with her. I am not sure how Callisto will react to that because she sleeps all the time and just stands up for a small walk in the garden or eating but we will see. Fortunatly even with four legs she was not running around a lot (her day then was nearly as her day now) so most likely she won't miss much because of a now reduced mobility.

I feel so tired. All these worries. Well, I guess solving them one by one is the way to go. If she could just get rid of that cone, that would ease my mind. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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27 September 2021 - 10:02 am
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I agree, where did the weekend go? Well, interesting election results in your country. Hopefully all three parties can easily work together for a better future in Germany!

You are so right about solving issues and worries one by one! It really works. And yes, as soon as that suit shows up you'll both feel so much better. And yes, try to keep her previous activity level in perspective. Although I'm sure she feels much better than she did when she had that bum leg, she's still Callisto and still loves taking life in the slow lane.

I'm sorry that you weren't able to find a physiotherapist. Did you try all of the directories on the bottom of the Tripawds Rehab Reimbursement info page?  Yes, living in a thinly populated area definitely has it's bonuses, but in our experience, not so much when it comes to vet care. 

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

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Virginia




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27 September 2021 - 3:41 pm
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Of course you are exhausted  mentally  and physically.   Y7ouve been under a lot of stress for a long time.

Yes, just keep things chunked dow...one step and a time.  So important  to do that so ypu wont get overwhelmed with everything  all day once.  Great idea of giving Callisto a ten day repr from Bet visits.  It will do you voth good..

Can't  wait to celebrate  cone removal day with you!!

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 September 2021 - 5:22 pm
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There are good news! Today I tried again to remove the cone (last try at the weekend did not go well) and as it seems she is not over-grooming that loose skin. After a whole day it is still not sore. I don't why it worked this time (hopefully now forever), my theory would be that the regrowing fur was tickling her what stopped when it grew longer but who knows. What a relief! Good timing: the suit will arrive tomorrow. ^^

I have now browsed the directories but there was no therapist who is somewhat near. I was impressed though that there are several listed even in Germany, good directory. 

Well, finally a good day. Crossing my fingers Callisto won't start again. 🙂

Virginia




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28 September 2021 - 5:30 pm
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YAAAAY!!! THRILLED  TO HEAR THIS GREAT NEWS!!!👏

Paws crossed for continued success!!!  Thanks for the kitty update!

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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29 September 2021 - 10:09 am
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Three cheers for Callisto! smiley_clapsmiley_clapsmiley_clap This is what I call a breakthrough moment. It's totally possible she may have just been annoyed by the fur regrowth. I sure would. How is she today? And how did the recovery suit go over? We would love to see photos if you have a chance. Here's how adding images to the Forums works. Let me know if you would like help posting them.

Yes, Germany has quite a few wonderful physiotherapy centres!

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