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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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One-Eyed Jack intro - Surgery in 2 Days
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Forum Posts: 9
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3 March 2018
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5 March 2018 - 2:49 pm
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Ahoy Everyone, I’m glad to find this community! I wanted to share our story, get some advice, reassurance, tips, etc. etc. 

My one-eyed Jack cat has been diagnosed with a bone tumor in his upper right humerus. I’m gonna say I first noticed a limp about six weeks ago. First vet visit with xrays was a week or so after that, then second visit with xrays about two weeks following. Now here we are two days from surgery to amputate. We don’t know the nature of the tumor. From reading his xrays, one university veterinarian suspects Jack may have osteoporosis (very rare in cats), so we were reluctant to do a biopsy. We’ll do pathology after the surgery. Another university colleague disagrees with the first. But everyone agrees about his tumor. 

Despite Jack’s obvious discomfort the past few weeks, he’s been a pretty normal cat, although he’s been sleeping more and his mobility has been limited due to the pain in his leg. For example, no jumping from the floor to the banister for his high-wire walks, but he will still jump from floor to bed, which is a few inches lower. He barely puts weight on his leg, and if sitting will extend it in front of him rather than curl it up under him. He’s had some pretty good drugs to take when he will take them! I have an opioid that has been compounded. Rather than play wrestlemania with my cat to squirt into his mouth, I figured out that pill pockets hold exactly 1ml of liquid each and he will usually eat two of them without a lot of fuss. I don’t keep him continually drugged; I let him tell me when he needs it. 

Trying to prepare mentally for the surgery. I figure that since Jack’s been doing without the leg for about 4 weeks, it won’t be as much a shock to his system to have it removed as much as it would be for a critter who has his leg traumatically removed after an accident, for example. He does still use it to balance slightly, but he’s barely putting any weight on it now and it’s just in the way. I did find the information about using baby onsies, so I got some today and will try to modify for his post-surgery needs. That sounds like a great idea, definitely better than a cone!! 

When Jack’s leg first started acting up, we had to isolate him to keep him off furniture / keep him quiet because we thought it could be a pulled/sprained muscle. So we put our pop-up tent in the living room with blankets, pillows, cat bed, litterbox, food, etc. That’s where I plan to keep him for the first few days after surgery. It is a great idea, but he is not a happy camper. (ha get it?) 

So the biggest complication of this whole thing is that Jack is a half-blind, one-eyed cat, not that he realizes it. Jack’s backstory >> Jack was a stray born with a herpes infection and badly affected eyes. His momma kitty brought him and his littermates to me on my birthday 12 years ago. One of his siblings was completely blind / useless eyes. That kitten was so afraid that he ran off. We found one of Jack’s siblings a home. And we began treating Jack and of course we “got stuck” with him. The momma cat never would let us touch her, but she would stay on our outside stair landing and watch us take care of the kittens and would let us feed her. After about a week she was satisfied with our care and we never saw her again! << Jack had one kinda ok eye, one bad eye. We treated them both. At close to a year old, Jack had his bad eye removed, and the legend of the pirate cat was born. However, he is still half-blind in his good eye due to corneal scarring. It’s almost like he has a piece of tissue paper over his eye. The eye behind the cornea is good, it’s just the cornea has different thicknesses of scars all over it that he has to see around. 

His good eye is on the side of his good leg; his blind side is the side they are removing the leg. So I don’t know how this complicates things more but we will work through it. 

Anyway, thanks for reading and I look forward to learning from everyone and leaning on you for support as we go through this journey with little Jack. He’s such a good little buddy. Really a great cat. He’s been through so much. For an indoor cat, he’s checking off those 9 lives pretty fast. 

still lifeImage Enlarger

 

The Rainbow Bridge



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5 March 2018 - 3:35 pm
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Jack and family welcome! I’m on my phone but wanted to get your post approved so others can see it. Back later with thoughts but…

Do you mean osteosarcoma as the potential diagnosis?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 9
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5 March 2018 - 9:24 pm
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Hi thanks! 

No, we have one veterinary DO who suggests Jack may have osteoporosis (brittle bones) from looking at the x-rays. Discussed with my vet today. We’ll biopsy for that as well as the tumor after surgery. It’s quite rare in cats, I guess, or at least it’s not diagnosed very often. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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5 March 2018 - 10:09 pm
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Really? Wow I had no idea. We’ve had members here (dogs) who needed amputation because of horrible arthritis, but never osteoporosis as far as I can recall. Please keep us in the loop about that OK?

Meanwhile I just want to say that you have a GREAT attitude about  Jack, and that will go far during recovery. Keep it up!

Oh and just want to make sure, have you seen our TriKitty bloggers stories’ yet? 

And here’s an article you may find helpful:

Tips for Three-legged Cats During and After Amputation Recovery

and a few more stories about cats to make you smile:

http://tripawds…..rikitties/

Let us know if you have any questions OK? We are here to help!

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

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Michigan


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6 March 2018 - 8:41 am
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Hi and Welcome,

I’m sorry you have to join us, One-eyed Jack is a sweetheart!

My one-eyed Jack cat has been diagnosed with a bone tumor in his upper right humerus. I’m gonna say I first noticed a limp about six weeks ago. First vet visit with xrays was a week or so after that, then second visit with xrays about two weeks following. Now here we are two days from surgery to amputate. We don’t know the nature of the tumor. From reading his xrays, one university veterinarian suspects Jack may have osteoporosis (very rare in cats), so we were reluctant to do a biopsy. We’ll do pathology after the surgery. Another university colleague disagrees with the first. But everyone agrees about his tumor.

What do all the Vets agree upon exactly? There is a bone tumor (osteosarcoma and osteoporosis)? Have they done other diagnostic testing on Jack? Other than the leg x-ray? I understand not doing the bone biopsy.

Who will be doing the surgery the University or regular Vet? Only asking to see if Jack will be staying overnight with 24-hour staff?

Purrkins lost his front left leg from a soft tissue sarcoma on his wrist.They took the leg & scapula. You can read about Purrkins here

Purrkins gets around great on 3, and I believe after recovery you will be amazed how well Jack gets around! Jack gets around the house now with his limited eyesight. I don’t think think that will affect Jack since he is already getting around on 3 with his limited vision. What do the Vets think? Is Jack a good candidate for amputation?

Rather than play wrestlemania with my cat to squirt into his mouth, I figured out that pill pockets hold exactly 1ml of liquid each and he will usually eat two of them without a lot of fuss. I don’t keep him continually drugged; I let him tell me when he needs it.

Pill pockets are great, but you should have a backup plan in recovery if Jack doesn’t want to eat those. Pain meds can also be a patch, long-lasting injections, etc. Please discuss all of these options before bringing Jack home. Cat’s do not always want to eat and can be fussy after surgery. Why I say have a backup plan just in case Jack does not want his pill pocket.

In recovery, I would suggest not waiting for Jack to tell you he needs the meds. Stay on the recommended schedule, so Jack does not have to be in pain. Stay ahead of the pain.

Here is a post on medicating cats.

Administering Medications to your Cat

Trying to prepare mentally for the surgery. I figure that since Jack’s been doing without the leg for about 4 weeks, it won’t be as much a shock to his system to have it removed as much as it would be for a critter who has his leg traumatically removed after an accident, for example. He does still use it to balance slightly, but he’s barely putting any weight on it now and it’s just in the way. I did find the information about using baby onsies, so I got some today and will try to modify for his post-surgery needs. That sounds like a great idea, definitely better than a cone!!

You sound like you are preparing mentally, stay strong & pawsitive for Jack! Jack has the advantage of being on three now, but this will still be a shock to the body. It is major surgery. He will still need to adjust on 3. But he will and likely quicker than a kitty that was using all 4. Like Purrkins.

We used a onesie in recovery it made a huge difference for us with no cone. Most kitties that have used the onesies have no problems. Run it by your surgeon. Will you be home with Jack for recovery?

The Tripawds Recovery Shopping List

Do you have any questions we can better help you with?

Hugs,

Holly & Purrkinsheart



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6 March 2018 - 2:52 pm
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Ahoy Captain Jack. You are so handsome and I noticed you are winking at me us. winker You are obviously adorable and well-loved. My little Mona had her front leg amputated in June 2014 and she has adapted very well and she does not have an athletic build like you do. The vet said cats are resilient and I’ve discovered that Mona is very confident in her abilities. She runs the house a bit by redecorating (deciding the litter box needs to be moved every so often); changing where she needs boxes/steps to help her down. 

Holly gave you lots of great information. Let us know if you need anything else. There are a lot of animal lovers here.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

Forum Posts: 9
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3 March 2018
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6 March 2018 - 4:23 pm
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Thank you all so much!! I appreciate the links, will read them all. 

Jack has a Facebook page — you can search for One Eyed Jack Cat and it should come up. There are some videos and other photos. Who am I kidding, there are a lot of photos. 

I think he overdid it with the Tiggering yesterday, he is paying for it today with pain and being a layabout. Surgery is tomorrow. no food or drink after 9pm. I can’t decide whether to stick him in the tent overnight (not a happy camper remember) or to put up the water bowl for everyone. I take him to the vet between 8am-9am. 

One of our veterinary surgeons is handling the deed tomorrow. Our practice has multiple vets/surgeons. Our doc doesn’t do surgery herself anymore, but she will oversee. They are taking the leg plus scapula. The tumor is upper right arm, so I am glad they are taking the scapula (my non-scientific feeeeelings here). His leg is super sensitive today. 

We have dealt with post-op pain patches before when Jack had his eye surgery. They’ll shave a bit and do the patch. We discussed other pain management as well, but I don’t remember all the details at the moment. I do think injections were mentioned. 

@jerry Jack’s amputation is because of the tumor, but the Veterinary DO saw what he thinks is osteoporosis on xrays when examining it. That’s why we were reluctant to do pre-op biopsy. We’ll do post-op biopsy for that and tumor so we know what exactly we’re dealing with. 

We don’t know if Jack will stay overnight after surgery or get to come home. Find that out tomorrow. Seems to me like he had to stay over after his eye surgery, but that was back in early 2007 I think. So a long time ago. Methods / practices change. 

Michigan


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6 March 2018 - 7:09 pm
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Being a laying about kitty is a good thing right now! Take it easy Jack that painful leg will be gone tomorrow!

We will be thinking of you all paws crossed for a successful surgery and smooth recovery!
Holly & Purrkinsheart

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8 March 2018 - 11:33 am
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How is adorable Jack doing? How did the surgery go? I hope you area all doing well!!

Jackie

Hugs,

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

Huckleberry's Blog

Forum Posts: 9
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8 March 2018 - 6:40 pm
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Home from the doctor! Going well. Jack went to the overnight vet last night just as a precaution. Our vet doesn’t have 24-hour care. He had some post-op bleeding and his (something something platelets maybe) in blood was low so I transported him to the emergency clinic so he could keep them company. We went back to our vet for a check this morning and they released him to go home. He has been laying low for the most part. 

So we have this pop-up tent in the living room where Jack will be staying, and we put him in there. He was very agitated at first and tried to make a run (hop) for it. Got him a good warm bed made and he started to get comfortable but was still agitated and meowy. Porter (our enormous black cat) came to check out the commotion. I let him in the tent, he came and gave Jack noses, and then Jack settled down. 

A little while later both husband and I had to leave the room. Husband came back in, Jack wasn’t in the blankets, he was in the litterbox in the tent! How about that. He figured out how to balance himself on the side of the box and went pee. He has gone twice today already. Still hasn’t eaten much today. 

I have a hot water bottle in the blankets with him to keep cozy. I have been going in to sit off and on. For the most part he has been snoozing all day. 

Here are some pictures on Instagram you can slide through: https://www.ins…..FQpFjMK/ 

Hope that link works!! 

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8 March 2018 - 6:51 pm
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Oh how sweet, that’s great news! I’m so glad he’s doing well. Thanks for sharing the pictures, they are wonderful!

Please keep in touch with his progress, it might get a little bumpy but we’re all here smiley

Hugs,

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

Huckleberry's Blog

The Rainbow Bridge



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8 March 2018 - 7:14 pm
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Good boy Jack! I love that you figured out the litter box already, you’re a smart one.

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



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8 March 2018 - 7:15 pm
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By the way do you have any photos of your circus tent? We would love to see it! Didn’t see one on the IG page.

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8 March 2018 - 9:45 pm
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clown >circus music< 

https://www.ins…..FufEoFwiN/

>end circus music< 

clown

The Rainbow Bridge



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8 March 2018 - 11:18 pm
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Oh like a REAL tent! I love it! What a great idea. A campout with your TriKitty. Adorable.

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