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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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Overwhelmed with Feline Amputation Decision
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Forum Posts: 49
Member Since:
3 August 2019
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3 August 2019 - 11:37 pm
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My vet performed an X-ray and physical exam of my 10 year old cat who has had a slight limp off/on for several weeks and recently what I felt was a bony hard mass on his shoulder blade and told me it was cancer or a form of sarcoma related to vaccinations.  When asked about ruling out types of cancer/biopsy and if it has spread there was no real qualifying answer. She said they wouldn’t do a biopsy as from her experience it might make it worse or “anger the tumor” ???????   Her only suggestion was complete amputation of his right leg and noted that might not get all the tumor if it has spread to other side ( only one side was x-ray’d).  I also noted after consulting with my long time vet who performs annual exams that cat had not had vaccines since 2012 and he does not do vaccinations over the shoulder so could this be another form of cancer ( again all I was shown was a “shadow” on his scapula on the X-ray).  Right now Fuzz has zero symptoms other than a slight limp that does not impede him at all as he still runs around, jumps off high things, eats normally weighs around 11 pounds and not losing weight, still functions normal as a aging cat would.  I live in a rural area and have not a lot of options for second opinions ( my primary vet is an old school farm vet who does not have X-ray or lab type equipment and does basic vet care for small animals for 45 + years which is why I ended up at the only other vet/animal hospital in my town)  I spoke with my actual vet and gave him the information and he was actually against the amputation as first protocol due to it being most likely a form of cancer that has or will likely spread with/without amputation and due to his quality of life now he has actually seen cats worsen with the amputation.  He was also the one that told me last time he had vaccines and that he does not administer over bone for that reason. ( note I stopped  annual vaccines on my indoor cats long ago for personal reasons after so much controversy and fact they have no contact with outside)  I have spent so many hours reading and looking at information online including joining various groups including this in hopes to continue to gain insight and help me with what I should do.  Fuzz has been with me his entire life and part of me feels he and his type personality would not adapt to the 3 legs. I know that  is selfish but I have come to know him and his personality after such a close life with him.  I am been looking at holistic and herbal type supplements to not cure but to continue to give him a quality of life.  Found a few online including a tincture created by a team of vets and also some mushroom based supplements.  I have been also trying to find information on CBD for cats as that is hot news for humans and many diseases including cancer   My original vet said that antibiotics, anti inflammatories, pain management can be included to assist with his condition, but that was not offered to me from vet who just suggested amputation as only option and to think it over and make decision relatively soon.  I am just torn that without knowing and having a guarantee that amputating his leg will do nothing in long run but traumatize him and he still has cancer… I am looking into if there are oncologists in my area and maybe one in Akron but again referrals and wait times are unknown to consult.  I am unaware if bloodworm would aid in giving answers as to how sick he is as again that was not offered or suggested either.  This is a nightmare for me and I am physically sick due to such a heartbreaking bit of news in a healthy loving cat with now very little information, answers and options.

Here and Now


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4 August 2019 - 10:38 am
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Welcome and best wishes for Fuzz! We have moved your topic here to the Three legged Cats forum where it will get the most helpful feedback from other tri-kitty members. Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

While you wait for replies, please review the many other Tripawds Resources and don’t miss these links especially helpful for new cat members.

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4 August 2019 - 4:23 pm
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Hi Fuzzmom,

I responded to your post at the VAS site and am glad you came here where there are a lot of resources on amputation. You can also post a question to Ask a Vet https://tripawd…..ask-a-vet/ about other tests that might be helpful in a diagnosis.

I have also read that a biopsy can “anger the tumor”, which I believe means that it sets off the cancer to spread. I had my cat’s leg amputated assuming it was likely VAS and the pathology report came back that it was and confirmed the lymph nodes that were sent in were clear. I don’t believe they can know for sure that it has spread. I just asked my cat to give me 2 more years and so far she’s given me 5 years. I’ve read of others who don’t have a relapse and eventually die from something else and then there are others where another lump appears many years later.  

I understand you live in a rural area but perhaps there is a surgeon in another community who can give an opinion on doing an amputation with clean margins.  

I’m really surprised that your vet said cats worsen with amputations. I don’t think you’ll find that is the case based on many of the posts on this website. Yes, the recovery period may be challenging and many times that may be related to pain management . Sometimes cats are older and have underlying conditions.  At the moment Fuzz is doing well and I congratulate you for learning more and looking at your options.

After Mona’s amputation, they started a US study for the use of immunostimulant treatment with Oncept IL-2 for cats with VAS without metastasis. They hoped it would reduce the risk of relapse and increase the time to relapse. Here is an interesting paper that may provide you with updated information on feline injection-site sarcoma treatment:  https://www.ncb…..MC5513368/

You know Fuzz better than anyone else. That and the fact you are doing so much research will assist you in making the best decision for Fuzz. Please know that some people consider amputation as part of palliative care, sometimes hoping that cancer is gone, other times hoping for their cat to have more time without pain.

Personally, I’m not a fan of holistic supplements or CBD unless recommended by a vet who can vouch for the safety of the product. I have read that anti-inflammatories may slow down the progress of the disease, that anti-biotics might be needed if the tumour breaks through the skin and that proper pain management is always essential.

Yes, this diagnosis is heart-breaking and it can be overwhelming. Take good care of yourself.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

The Rainbow Bridge



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4 August 2019 - 6:02 pm
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I’m so glad you came here, Fuzzmom, and thank you Mona for sharing your experience!

Fuzzmom if you want to message me your zip code I can do a search for veterinary oncologists near you, or feel free to post your town here. If you’re near Akron then odds are you have at least one or two within a reasonable driving distance.

It’s been my experience that when someone has a hard time deciding, and their own vet isn’t giving them any helpful feedback, a neutral third party like an oncologist can be extremely beneficial. Honestly, if your vet wasn’t willing to refer you to an oncologist because they were uncomfortable doing a biopsy, then it’s time to talk to someone who better understands cancer in animals.

Ten is senior for a cat, but it’s not old. We’ve had plenty of senior cats as old as 20 do well on three legs. You know Fuzz better than anyone though, and if you are certain that he may be too sensitive to rebound after surgery, then that’s OK. Amputation isn’t right for every situation. Just be sure that you’re not projecting your own fears onto him. Most times, animals surprise their humans with how well they do after surgery.

Let us know more about how we can help you OK? 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 49
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5 August 2019 - 3:38 pm
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I found an oncologist for Fuzz in Akron (Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital) and my appointment is with the oncologist who has most time in specialty field and co-owns the hospital Dr. Rance Gamblin so I am hopeful he will be of help and ease my decision making/course of treatment.  The receptionist was so nice on the phone and took so much information.  My appointment for Fuzz is 8/21 and I already have the disk copy of my X-ray from last week and they were calling both vet clinics I use locally for actual records/history. No referral was needed.  This was such a relief too.  I will continue to read up and will post my results/appointment outcome as it happens.  I appreciate the information and support so far.  Fuzz would too.. he is such a lover of everyone!

Virginia




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5 August 2019 - 5:03 pm
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Love the avatar of Fuzz! Adorable!

As you can see from the valuables  I put from Mona’s mom (Kerren) and Jerry, you have come to the best place for support and information

We all unders how stressful this part of themjourneymis.  We also understand nyou eill feel more and more confident and more relieved as you continue your research and move forward with a treatment plan.

Jist want ro join in with my best wishes and to let you know, as you have already seen, you are not alone!❤

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!

The Rainbow Bridge



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6 August 2019 - 2:01 pm
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What a GREAT clinic! I just looked them up and see that they are AAHA-accredited, which means Fuzz will have the best of the best in care. Let us know how it goes OK?

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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6 August 2019 - 3:57 pm
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Hi and welcome!

I am so glad that you are checking further with somebody familiar with this kind of thing. I know it will put you more at ease knowing you have done your homework. 

Please remember, everything you are doing is out of love. There are no right or wrong answers here. 

I second Kerren’s opinion on amputation. As rough as it is, cats really do well after. Sure, there is a transition, and you will have to take measures to make sure Fuzz has what he needs to keep his balance and traction as he gets adjusted to a new stance on life. Beyond that though I absolutely disagree that amputation makes things worse. Huck did not have cancer, he had his femur broken clear into 2 pieces and my option for a feral cat was amputation or euthanasia. I chose amputation and nursed him back to health. We bonded with him, and he decided he liked being an indoor kitty. He is a right rear amp and he can race right along with the other 2 cats and doesn’t think twice about it. 

I wish you luck in your journey. Mona and several others in here have had brilliant success and have happy, healthy kitties. Matter of fact right now in the new blogs is another amazing story https://rustyth…..d-forever/

Rusty is hopping along happily 2 years later. 

While I am at it, here is Kerren and Mona’s story https://kazann……reatments/

And I cannot leave out Purrkins who is hopping on 3 years later https://purrkin…..-on-three/

There are no guarantees in life. No promises. All we can do is our best, and our furbabies know that. 

I wish you luck in your journey. We will do everything we can to help you should you decide surgery is the best option. In my honest opinion, 10 is not a spring chicken but it is not old as dirt either. Please keep in touch.

Hugs,

Jackie and Huckleberry sp_hearticon2

Hugs,

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

Huckleberry's Blog

Forum Posts: 105
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7 August 2019 - 10:19 am
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Hi!  

I just thought I’d add my experience for a bit different perspective. The people on this forum were so very helpful to me when I went through amputation surgery with my cherished cat, Sky, last October. 

Sky had a bad limp on his right rear leg this time last year.  My veterinarian was rightfully concerned when she saw it.  She took fluids from his knee and had a great pathologist do lab tests on it. There was fluid leaking from his joint which is very painful. But they weren’t sure why or if that was all that was going on so xrays were done.  The radiologist saw dark areas extending out from knee and was 90% confident it was cancer. The recommendation was to remove the leg. If it was cancer, it would hopefully keep it from spreading. If not cancer, the source of the pain would be removed and he would live pain free. 

This was an excruciating decision for me. Sky is perfect. He is gorgeous, infinitely loving and very social.  Even my veterinarian adores him and knows he is special. To take such a drastic step to irretrievably damage my perfect boy was so very, very difficult.  But ultimately, I wanted him here as long as possible.  

I was not the poster child for caring for post surgical amputee. My veterinarian is a saint, and took Sky home with her for the weekend following surgery and brought him home after he began eating.  It was traumatic. However, as I type this Sky is resting happily against my leg.  It turns out it wasn’t cancer after all!! YAY!  So I don’t have to worry about that having spread.  I did the right thing for his well-being. 

Sky is 14. He gets around pretty well. Will/can not jump on furniture so I pick him up but he does the stairs with no problem.   He is developing other old age issues and I just started administering subcu fluids for early stage kidney disease.  But I would do/have done anything for him! 

BTW He also has IBD and the Slippery Elm has been a godsend in place of prednisolone!  I’m sorry I can’t remember who recommended it at this point, but thank you!!!!

You are doing the right things by seeking information and I’m so happy you found a great oncologist!!  The people on this board are awesome sources of support and information as well.  You will find the best strategy for Fuzz. 

I will say “hi” to my friends here as I’ve been away from the site for months. Busy with work and caring for my babies too. All is well.  Thanks again for being here for me, Sky and all the other fur babies and their concerned parents!!! 

Good luck to you and Fuzz!! Sending positive energy your way…sp_hearticon2

Much love,

Rebecca & Sky 

Virginia




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7 August 2019 - 2:58 pm
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Rebecca! So kind of you to chime in with your experience!  Soooo delighted to hear how well Sky is doing, especially  for a “mature”! Don’t  know about being the “poster child for recovery care”, but you are DEFINITELY  the “poster child for exquisite care for keeping Sky happy”  with your day to day care and love!❤❤❤

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!

Forum Posts: 105
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14 August 2019 - 10:37 am
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Thanks, Sally, for your kindness as always!  I’m not receiving notifications again so just checked and appreciate your lovely words. 

Sky is doing really well. By my side, of course! sp_hearticon2

I couldn’t have gotten through that huge experience without you and the other Tripawd family.  Thank you forever!!!

Rebecca & Sky

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