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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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New tripod mom to a very old cat.
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Forum Posts: 29
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18 June 2019
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18 June 2019 - 10:03 pm
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So this past Friday I came home to discover my ancient (20 year old) cat, Moira, couldn’t get up from the box she was in, in the garage. I rushed her to the local emergency vet and we discovered that she’d broken her right front leg. X-rays showed it that it was a spiral fracture, so most likely she got the leg caught and fell. Luckily her bones are otherwise in good condition.  I had them run tests to see if there was anything else going on that would make trying to go through surgery unwise. Her kidneys are failing but that won’t kill her off right away.  If she recovers I’m predicting 2 more years with her.  Mainly because when she was about 2 years old she somehow broke her tail and we had to have that amputated.

Late Saturday night she had her surgery.  The vet said it went very well and she was able to keep her shoulder bone on that side. I was able to bring her home Sunday afternoon and we’re recuperating in the quiet of the library.

She still hasn’t pooped yet and I called the vet because I was worried.  They said it’s not abnormal for it to take a bit and call back if she hasn’t in another day.

I’m worried and nervous about her being able to recover and figure out how to walk. She still hasn’t actually been able to get up. She started out flopping around like a wet noodle, and flopping over.  She’s now starting to get her legs under her and skoot / flop generally in the direction she wants. Honestly she’s doing good.  She’s one tough old cat. But I’m still a very worried mom. I’m dreading when she does finally poop because she hasn’t been able to use the litter box. I’ve had to keep cleaning her up each time she pees. (thank gods for pee pads and cat wipes!)

The other three cats are all very worried and upset too. I’ve been trying to give them enough attention as well, but it’s hard to know what to do to get us all through this.

At least I can still laugh I guess. We’re changing her nick name to “The Dread Pirate Moira” All she needs is a peg leg and a tiny parrot!

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19 June 2019 - 7:10 pm
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How is your girl doing? Omc, 20 is amazing! My oldest kitty lived to 23. 

Have you tried shorter boxes,  like say the bottom of a case of canned food? You can line it with newspaper so that you get several uses before tossing and if that works I would try a very short cat box. Placement may be important also,  like against a wall or in a corner so that she can lean on something.  

I wish you well on your journey with Moira, please let us know how things progress.

Jackie and Huckleberry ❤

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Bo, Andy, Oscar,and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

https://paws120.....pawds.com/

Forum Posts: 29
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20 June 2019 - 10:44 pm
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Moira is actually doing very well for us being not quite a week after surgery.  She’s actually starting to be able to get up all the way and hop a bit, then flop.  I’m pretty sure she’ll eventually get the hang of it, but I think it’ll take time.

How long did your cat take to learn how to use 3 paw drive?  I’m worried that since she’s a LOT older she might have a dreadful time adjusting. She was already klutzy and getting a little stiff from age.

I’m also finding that her fur has started to mat up on the side she’s been laying on. Any suggestions on how to help un-mat it?  Luckily she’s a short hair.

-Suzanne

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21 June 2019 - 5:32 am
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Do you have her on pain management ? Huckleberry is a rear amp and he was much younger,  maybe 2ish. He walked right after surgery.  I think the front leggers might be a bit more difficult,  and you’re right,  age will likely give her a longer recovery time.  That doesn’t mean she won’t recover though.  We have seen several older kitties in here do very well.  

Make sure she has plenty of traction .  Are your floors slick or do you have carpet? I purchased non  skid throw rugs and that made a big difference. 

I would definitely comb her out to help her keep groomed.  I have a small metal tooth comb,  but any small toothed comb will do.  Even short haired,  if she gets matted it will pull and hurt. Just do little pieces at a time and you’ll be fine.  She’s probably shedding her undercoat and once she’s all combed out she’ll be a lot more comfy.  

Jackie and Huck❤

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Bo, Andy, Oscar,and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

https://paws120.....pawds.com/

The Rainbow Bridge



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21 June 2019 - 8:37 am
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Moira sounds like she’s doing alright so far, that’s so cool smiley16 And yeah she’ll get the hang of it, she sounds like a strong kitty! I’m wondering if there’s a way you can assist her in walking, perhaps with a small sling? Just to kind of help her get her bearings when she gets moving along. Oh and you can also take advantage of the Tripawds Foundation Rehab Reimbursement program too! If you can find an animal PT who is skilled with aiding cats in recovery, the foundation may reimburse your first rehab visit ! That’s my biggest suggestion, as it can make such a difference for animals. We can help you find a PT if you think there aren’t any near you.

Meanwhile, try not to compare her recovery with others. Yes, older Tripawds take a while longer than younger ones, and Moira is also her own girl. She’ll get there!

Great tips from Jackie on brushing! I recently heard a vet describe fur mats as like having your hair constantly pulled by the roots. Mats are painful. Ouch!

We would love to see photos of her when you get a chance. Here’s a post about adding images to the Forums, let us know if you’d like help.

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Virginia




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21 June 2019 - 9:05 am
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Moira is quite the kitty. RSS (RockStarSenior)!!!  And she really IS doing quite well this early on and as a senior!!   Getting up on her own and taking  a few steps is quite remarkable!

She’ll get the hang of things.  She just had MAJOR surgery  and is adjusting  to three legs, while being  on pain meds.

Is she eating and drinking okay?  How ’bout  peeing and pooping?

You’re  a great caregiver for your kitty!❤

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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21 June 2019 - 9:37 am
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Thank you everyone for the encouragement and suggestions.

  The vet was great about pain meds.  We were sent home with gabapentin and buprenorphine. I’ve been trying to make sure she gets her pain meds but also trying to make sure she isn’t so druggy she can’t move.  The first three days were really hard and she really didn’t want to move or make noise or anything. By the forth day she started making her usual trill /warble noises again and has seemed so much more alert!

I’ve got her situated in the “library” our spare room.  The whole house has hard floors but that room has a big rug and I took the guest mattress and put it on the floor. So there’s traction .  The first couple nights she came home I slept in there with her, and she’s pretty much been hanging out on the bed and sleeping ever sense.

She’s been eating and drinking like a champ! She’s pooped once and definitely peeing several times.  She hasn’t been able to make it to the litter box though, so I’ve had a lot of laundry to do.

Oh and I don’t think I mentioned that I have 3 other cats, all girls and all very concerned and acting funny about Moira. So I’m trying to make sure they’re getting enough attention too .

Ugh!  It’s a lot to deal with!

-Suzanne

Virginia




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21 June 2019 - 10:00 am
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YAAAAAY FOR poopiconpoopicon

YAAAAAY FOR PEE!!!😁

YAAAAAY FOR EATING!!!😁

YAAAAAY FOR DRINKING!!!😁

These are such great milestones  that deserve to be celebrated!😁

Ueah, by day three-ish rhe strong hospital  meds are out of their system  and all the anesthesia  residue  is gone.  So perking up is always a good thing to see!  The Gaba can make them a vit sleepy sometimes…nothing too dopey though.  Rest is exactly  what she needs, so that’s  a good thing!

Our kitty members  can give you advice on getting her to use her “toilet”.  As she gets more mobile, she’ll figure it out.  Right now though, it’s all about pee pads and extra loads of wash!. 

As you already know, recovery mis mo picnic fot a couple of weeks.  She really is doing quite well though.  Her sparkle will some back slowly  but surely😎

Try and get some rest……and eat chocolate!!

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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21 June 2019 - 10:02 am
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Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job! It sounds like Moira is also! You can try lining a cardboard case bottom, or cut a cardboard box down to about an inch, line it with newspaper, and pour litter over it. Keep it close to where she is, and even sprinkle some old used litter in a spot on it so she can smell it. I don’t know if she will let you try to assist her going to the bathroom, my thoughts are probably not but you never know. You can try to sit her in it if you see her getting antsy and needing to go. I have seen several that took a while before they were able to use their catbox. 

If you can get some pee pads to line her beds and where she is laying, that will help tremendously until shes up on three. Much easier to toss it and place another. They have different brands, and I got some on Amazon for Huck’s recovery. 

Fingers, toes, paws, and tails crossed that Moira continues to recover so well!! 

Jackie and Huck sp_hearticon2

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Bo, Andy, Oscar,and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

https://paws120.....pawds.com/

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22 June 2019 - 2:54 am
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Moira is doing so well I can hardly believe it!, better than her mom actually.

I managed to carefully brush out most of the mats on her side using a small toothbrush and a LOT of time. She didn’t particularly like it, but at least she’s not all matted up.

Her sisters are still very concerned and definitely spooked by her being in a cone.  Luckily we have a “Screen Door” we made to slowly introduce kittens to the rest of the pride, and I’m going to put it up in the library door.  That way her sisters can get used to seeing her again, but can’t really bother her.

She’s starting to have an easier time getting up and is making more hops before loosing her balance. She’s even more living up to her nickname of “Bunny Butt”. We started calling her that after her tail amputation, because she’s just got a little tuft of tail left.

I’ve got pee pads all over and a plastic table cloth under towels on the mattress, but I haven’t seen any pee spots around the room yesterday and there was actually fresh pee and poo in the big litter box.  I can’t say 100% for sure it was her, because I did have the room open to the other girls, while we hung out together on the couch. I’m going to keep a close eye on it, because that would be just amazing if she can and is using the regular litter box. 

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22 June 2019 - 5:00 am
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That is really wonderful news! I am glad the litterbox got used by somebody, if it wasn’t her it may encourage her. What a wonderful update! So happy things are going smoothly, you are doing a great job!

I am glad they are able to have “some” contact, no doubt the cone is a hindrance but necessary right now. Huck played footsies under the door with Oscar and Andy for a while before I let supervised visitation. Mine was a little different though, lol… I was introducing a feral kitty to his new family smiley4

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Bo, Andy, Oscar,and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

https://paws120.....pawds.com/

Virginia




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22 June 2019 - 9:47 am
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Wonderful update indeed!!!😃😃😃   So much progress!!  And remember,  during recovery,  every  “little improvement ”  is a HUGE VICTORY!! HUGE!!

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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22 June 2019 - 11:17 am
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I just confirmed it!  Yep She’s peed in the regular litter box. The regular, tall sided litter box that’s all the way across the room!

She’s so stubborn and determined I can hardly believe it! Way to go Moe!!!

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22 June 2019 - 11:20 am
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Yay!!!  Great news, she is doing amazingly well smiley4  Would love to see a picture if you have one handy smiley2 Here is a link for adding photos to forum posts if you get a chance that would be pawsome!

Hugs,

Jackie, David, Mitchell, Bo, Andy, Oscar,and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

https://paws120.....pawds.com/

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22 June 2019 - 11:30 am
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I will try to figure out how to get pictures of her up tomorrow.

Yep she’s pretty amazing, mostly stubborn, and determined to live forever I think.

Funniest story about Moe but I swear it’s true.

She HATES orange cats, just orange ones. She might be annoyed with other cats but when it comes to the marmalade ones, it’s pure hatred. I think it’s because when I first got her and her brother, I was living with my parents.  We had a wonderful and beautiful orange boy named Hobbes. Well Hobbes and her brother Quinn became like best buddies.  They’d wrestle and play and stuff. I think Moira blames orange cats everywhere for that.

In the past couple years I’ve teased Moe by telling her that when she goes we’re getting orange kittens. She’d give me the dirtiest looks! I honestly think part of why she’s hanging on is she’s determined to keep me from getting an orange cat.

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