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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29 July 2018
My kitty Kohara had her back leg amputated after being caught in a fence. She had been missing for a few days and our neighbors found her in their backyard hidden by the foliage. Prior to and even right after the amputation she was doing really well. She showed no signs of neurological problems and her spirits were high. Prior to surgery she was a very active cat – always wanting to play, not really interested in cuddling, and almost always outside. Now, she’s inside due to her recovery (and a lack of interest to go back out) but she also is walking funny. Most of the time she walks sideways, she overextends in her remaining back leg and on occasion, after stretching, she’s able to hop normally, but then after sitting for a second goes right back to her sideways hop. I can sense her frustration as she meows, occasionally even hisses when it looks like her remaining back leg is controlling her, spinning her around in circles, and I think out of frustration not being able to move, she spends most of her time sleeping in her new bed. She gets up to eat. She’s eating normally, going to the bathroom normally, but other than those activities she doesn’t do much. She cuddles more now (but maybe just because she doesn’t want to move after we’ve picked her up and put her in our laps) and while she does occasionally want to play, instead of chasing she mostly just watches the string run around her and, on occasion, will lie on her back and let us hover the string over her so she can play without having to move.
I’m very distressed. I know she’s still recovering, but I worry she’ll never be able to walk normally again. I wonder if I made the right decision to amputate (at the time I thought she’d be able to live a fairly normal life). I’m afraid she’s going to get depressed eventually, if she’s not already. I don’t feel like I can do enough for her. I work quite a bit. That’s why it was perfect having an indoor/ outdoor cat – she mostly entertained herself. Now she just lays around. I feel so sorry for her and it breaks my heart. I also don’t want to rush her. It’s only been three weeks since the surgery.
Has anyone had this experience? Did your cat ever recover?
25 April 2007
Welcome, and best wishes for Kohara! Yes…cats will recover, most adapt quickly and adjust better than dogs. Many other Tripawds members have also reported the common backward walk you may have noticed, but all Tripawds will adjust their gait and stance to compensate for the missing limb. It is likely very early in the recovery process there, so take thins one day at a time and do your homework.
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22 February 2013
Yoi will get some great insight and advice from your brand new kitty family who are the most knowledgeable “recovery” people you can find anywhere! Unfortunately, I’m not one of them, but I just wanted to tell you that recovery doesn’t last furever, it jist seems like it sometimes! Your cat will recover!
Your kitty is making a lot of major adjustments after major surgery. All while learning to be an inside kitty.
Curious, is your kitty still on pain meds? Many cats and dogs need some form of pain meds three weeks and beyond.
Jist throwing stuff out there. I just wonder how much “other ” damage may have been done to your poor kitty while all tangled up in the fence for three days? Could he have damaged his back, or other leg, while struggling to free himself? Could his other leg have also been e tangled in the fence before he freed it? Seems like he could have a .ot of pulled muscles and tendons. He must have some really sore muscles that were used in ways that had not been used before!
Hang jn there, okay? Try and remember, this is still early in recovery.
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!
1 October 2017
Hi and welcome!
Wow, sounds like your Kohara went through an awful lot! How old is she? Is she on any medications now? Sally may very well be right about either another limb possibly having been caught, or my question is how much thrashing did she do while upside down? She may be just fine, considering, but I bet she is still sore. Because of what happened with the fence she probably has other muscles that are recovering as well. No doubt in my mind she is still healing, and although you are worried about her lack of activity, her body needs that rest to heal entirely. Most of the healing process in people as well as animals take place during sleep.
Eating, drinking, using the cat box with no problems… that’s WONDERFUL! You may not realize this, but post op wise, these are leaps and bounds. She may still be learning her new stance on three, and her whole body will need to learn a new balance. Some do this more quickly than others. Huckleberry was about 2 when he had his leg amputated due to an unknown traumatic injury and he races around the house just fine now. He was isolated from the rest of the house for about a month post op. He had never been inside a home before, and was totally feral so we had more than surgery alone to deal with and work on.
Has she been back for a recheck? It might not be a bad idea to have her vet take a peek at how she is getting around. Seeing it up close and personal is so different from trying to gauge a description without pictures or videos. He may say the same, or he may have other options for you depending on what he sees, my guess is that it’s possible she could still be working on getting around and probably still sore from the event but I am not a doctor so I would still recommend a recheck.
Good luck to you and breathe… one step at a time, sounds like Kohara is doing pretty well
Jackie and Huckleberry
Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry