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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Hello! I am new here, been reading through the forums and blogs and really glad to know this community is here. My 5 year old kitty Leah started limping in April, which developed into a toe-drag and knuckling. After 2 weeks of dealing with a misdiagnosis of Toxoplasmosis, we did a biopsy of the now-massive mass on her thigh, and received the diagnosis of Fibrosarcoma. Her left hind leg was amputated on May 11. I decided to start this thread because I have some questions on her recovery and am hoping for some insight from those of you who have been through this.
I keep telling myself that she is just 2 weeks out of major surgery and to give her more time, but I am worried about her being depressed, which is making me depressed. I miss my sweet, playful, cuddly kitty. She is getting all the necessities- eating, peeing, and pooping. She hasn’t been drinking water at all, but she eats wet food with a bit of added water 3-5 times a day. She spends most of her time resting in the corner of the bedroom, even after we opened the door to allow her access to the rest of the house. She has only come out a couple of times, and has been extra shy and skittish. We were hoping that once her stitches came out and we no longer had to mess with the Cone of Evil, she would get more comfortable, but she hasn’t quite gotten there yet. Stitches came out 6 days ago. The vet sent her home with Meloxicam, and said she would keep her on it for 2 more weeks, but we discontinued it this past weekend out of concern for kidney damage. She’s getting Gabapentin twice a day. She doesn’t seem necessarily painful, although we wonder about nerve or phantom limb pain when she gets spooked for no apparent reason. Her attitude doesn’t really seem depressed she just is very wary of being out from her corner She is usually very interactive with us (Me and BF) and loves to play with her toys and cuddle. We have no other pets, and, due to COVID, I am not working and able to stay home and babysit.
I guess I don’t really have any specific questions. Moreso I want to make sure her behavior is expected and normal. Any input/advice is welcome 🙂
Hi Shannon and Leah, welcome. We are so glad you decided to post but sorry you had to find yourself here.
First, it’s GREAT that her bodily functions are all doing well. But two things about what you described concern me:
1) Does your vet know about her not drinking water? I’m wondering if she is dehydrated. If you haven’t mentioned this to your vet, give them a call ASAP, she may need some intervention.
2) Did you stop the Meloxicam without your vet’s knowing? Does Leah have other kidney issues? If she does I can see why but I would let them know your concerns. NSAID drugs reduce inflammation and are very helpful for new amputees. If she is having phantom pain , the Gabapentin and NSAID work nicely together.
Speaking of Gabapentin, that can also make many animals sleepy. Let your vet know about that side-effect if you haven’t already.
At two weeks out, a young cat like her should be showing their sparkle by now. Don’t panic, but I’m thinking there is something going on that is probably not serious, but preventing her from getting back to a new normal. Work with your vet to find out what it is OK? And let us know what happens when you can.
Hi and welcome!
So sorry you had to join but I’m glad you found us.
I agree with Jerry, the doc should know that she’s not drinking. One small relief is that she’s getting canned food and you’re able to add some water to it. You can also try chicken or bone broth, preferably low sodium on the broth. Whatever it takes.
And yes too on the meloxicam. Different animals recover at different levels, some faster than others. Huck was on pain meds for about 3 weeks. There was a huge difference in his purrsonality and comfort level when those itchy staples came out too. Right now her skin is healing, those staples or sutures can be very prickly and aggravating.
I have also noticed that cats seem to be a lot less forgiving than dogs with the cone of shame lol. Another necessary evil… trust me, you don’t want her to rip that incision open. It just prolongs the process.
I would definitely check in with your vet and just give them an update to see what he/ she thinks. If she’s not drinking enough, dehydration can make them lethargic.
The rest of everything sounds pretty decent. The recovery period is so stressful, we worry about everything. I was a total mess and I used to be a vet tech, lol.
Hang in there, stay tuned in and try to breathe. I know it’s hard, but you got this, ok?
Please let us know how you make out!
Jackie and Huckleberry❤
27 July 2014
Jerry and Jackie provided you with some great information. My tripawd Mona also had a fibrosarcoma due to a vaccine and is doing well 6 years later.
My vet sent my Mona home with canned kitten food (which she loved) and said she’d get a lot of moisture from the food. With the water you are adding to Leah’s food it may be enough but it may give you more comfort discussing this with the vet.
My cat Mona lost her front leg and was on Buprenorphine for less than a week and Metacam for Cats Meloxicam for 2 weeks. Meloxicam, an NSAID, has been licensed in many countries in the world (Canada, Europe for example) for short and long-term use, see this article https://journal…..010.05.004
Metacam is an anti-inflammatory and does provide some pain relief. If you don’t want to give it to Leah over the short-term then the vet may have another suggestion.
Mona really started to shine when I took her outside to enjoy the sun.
Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona
One month update on Leah. She is, slowly and gradually, starting to recover. She still seems to have no confidence in doing things that she used to, and prefers to spend most of the time in the corner of the bedroom. Her circle of comfort is expanding slowly and she has started to be out in the room while we are there a little bit more. I can bribe her with treats into the hallway and onto the mattress (we are still basically sleeping on the floor so it’s easy for her to get up and down if she wants) but she still retreats into the corner if we move or talk She went back on the metacam and now we are weaning her off of that and the gabapentin. The vet recommended Purina Hydrocare to get her drinking more, and we’re going to test her urine tomorrow. Fortunately I can collect it and take it right to the vet so Leah does not have to go anywhere. I feel like it would be a major set back if I had to put her back in the crate and subject her to another visit.
We still miss our playful and affectionate girl, but at least we are seeing some improvement. She still loves to be brushed and will let us love on her, but only in her corner, or if we’ve bribed her out with treats.
So glad to hear from you. She’s making baby steps forward and it’s frustrating but better forward than backward, right?
Do you have those plastic pellets to replace the litter in her box? You wash the litter box after emptying and place a small layer on the bottom of the box. After that you can use a clean syringe if you have one, or pour it into a clean glass or plastic container. Old cleaned out pill bottles work great.
Most vets offices carry them but i think you can get them on Amazon now.
The other alternative if you are not successful is to drop her at the vet’s for the day and allow them to get a sterile sample. I know you don’t want to do that but they really need to see her values and can give her fluids ig she needs them.
I know it’s hard to be comforted right now, but believe it or not we’ve seen a couple of kitties recover much harder. They made it through the recovery and i believe she will too.
Sending you big hugs, thank you for checking in. We tend to worry about the furbabies that are having a harder time.
Jackie and Huck💖💖💖
Hmm, slow but definite progress, I’m glad you are seeing that, thank you for the update.
So one thing I didn’t mention earlier because I forgot, but what are your floors like? And the fur between her toes, is it really long? If you don’t have traction down on your floors, that can really help boost her confidence. And keeping the fur trimmed really close is also helpful too. I’m wondering if her lack of enthusiasm is because she is slipping around? Just a guess, you probably have carpets or something and I’m way off right?!
I hope her urine test comes back with good news. Keep us posted.
Yes we do have carpet upstairs 🙂 We have thought about her having more trouble on the hardwood once she gets downstairs, and especially on the stairs themselves! She does have long (glorious) toe-fur lol which doesn’t help. Guess we’ll figure that out when we get there. For now we’re trying to let her come out in her own time. Thinking of ways to safely introduce the stairs though, so suggestions there are welcome! We know she can run down them easily but she has not gone up yet, and the one time she tried she spooked herself a bit. We think that’s why she hasn’t been comfortable trying again yet.
Yeah the hardwood is going to be hard on her, start looking for carpet and stair runners when you are able. That will definitely boost her confidence. As far as the stairs, it’s harder for a rear-leg Tripawd to go up stairs because they carry all of their jumping and propulsion matter in the rear. When 50% of it is gone, going up is more difficult. She will need time but she’ll get there!
I wanted to check in and see how everything is going. I giggled at your toe fur comment, you can ask your vet if (like a dog) they may dare to try and shave between the toes. On the other hand they may like their skin attached to their body, hahaha! You never know though, it might be worth the effort.
I have shavers here thank goodness, and it made a huge difference in how our elderly pup, Mitchell, did on the parts of the floor that did not have carpeting.
I hope you are all doing ok. Please check in when you have a moment!
Jackie and Huck
Leah follow up- I think it’s safe to say I haven’t been visiting the site much lately because she’s been doing so great! Thank you all and this whole site for being here as reference, comfort, and sounding board. Once off the Gabapentin Leah started to make great strides. Every couple of days she’d have a breakthrough- going up stairs, drinking water, begging for dinner, jumping onto the couch, snuggling, sitting on laps, all her usual good Leah stuff. She wakes us up if we try to sleep past 6:30 by zooming up and down the hall and scratching the carpet, demanding snuggles and breakfast. Now she likes to zip up and down the stairs and she makes me nervous! We did get stair runners/carpet which I think helped her. She’s getting more confident by the day with running and playing.
Ah we love the “No News is Good News” updates! That’s pawesome! What a great update! Thanks for taking time to let us know. And if you have any photos to share we would love to see ’em!
22 February 2013
YAAAY FOR LEAH!!! Yes indeedy, Leah is rockin’ her tripawd adventure! So glad to hear she’s back to being herself. The 6:30 zoomies cute….but way too early in my world!
Tha ks for the great update!
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!