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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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SENIOR CAT PITTENS
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Virginia




Forum Posts: 19490
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10 August 2020 - 5:36 pm
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I’m so glad Jerry replied first. 

I “saw” exactly what she saw in your post.  I “felt” what she felt.  It’s as though your inner voice was guided by Pittens.  To me,  it was clear that your intuitive self was already knows the best path for Pittens.

And it was also clear to me that the Onco felt a good path for Pittens woild be palliative  care.  She walked. a fine line very carefully of letting you make a decision  that felt right for you.  She was prepared to support either path.  But I think the fact that she did not  dismiss the palliative  treatment approach at all spoke volumes!!

One thing that can maybe help you intellectually, is knowing that the six months a year is NOT a certainly.   It’s a “statistic” that  does not take the age, or anxiety  or any underlying issues into account.  Yes, sometimes  we’ve seen our pets “beat” a statistic…..but we also see  our pets sometimes  NOT even make it to the low range of a statistic.

The way you have processed what’s in the best interest of Pittens based on who she is and how ahe wants to live her life is beautiful to observe.  The connection you two have is on a Soul deep level that was forged the day she was born into her earth clothes.

One thing that has been proven is that good pallotove care can actually  lengthen  an a animal’s life.  Pain is managed and quality is not so diminished that they can continue to enjoy life!

FWIW, years ago I was owned by a dog who had a tumor.  This was before chemo, advanced therapies, etc.  And it did open up and it was yucky and ugly.   Our rural area Vet gave him antibiotics,  told us to keep it clean, shaved around it.  It would actually  kind of heal, at least outwardly.  Then it would get nasty again and the “treatment  was repeated.  Again, this was a longtime ago, but that sweet boy made it at least another year and passed from liver failure and old age.

So as Jerry said, speak with Dr Kennedy about how to proceed forward and how to best “manage” the situation.

Letting Pittens live out her earth time being home, being with you,  not being anxious, not being  stressed, is a lovely gift you can give your best friend.♥️

I feel a sense of relief for you….even if you don’t  feel it yet…you will♥️

We’ll be cheering

pittens said 
I am focused on her end of life stage being the fullest and richest it can be- with the least amount of emotional mental turmoil.

  

for this precious  kitty and look forward to hearing  about all the ways you are spilling her👌

Extra 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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11 August 2020 - 3:53 pm
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Gosh benny55- you make me feel like crying more- but with the fact I have support is what brings me to humbleness seeing your post and paws and Jerrys. I feel so confused. Today she came downstairs and sat- and when she saw me, she hurriedly hopped on 3 legs my way.Her curiosity is her strength. She is hopping throughout the patio seeing things and checking things- I am sure she is in excruciating pain.  This is what is making this all so hard for me. I know she can get through this surgery- but is there enough time for her to enjoy life- or is this just a matter of pain? Which is the worse route- which gives more good days route.- and will amputation maybe alter what I see now in her- this spirirt- because I will be taking away quite a bit- for quite some time.  

I am waiting for Dr. Kennedy to call me. I placed a call 2 days ago- They said she may call by Wednesday- but this is the problem I am having- No-one is also accessible. 

I see this tumor growing and I feel it is about to rupture any day- But PIttens mind and spirit is full. If she was even granted 3more years- I would do this. I know its all statistics too, I agree with you fully. 

Sometimes I wonder if I contemplate amputation because I can not bear sitting idle as she will die and her mind is alive and I need to be proactive. I also really don’t know which is more damaging for her given all the risks- and trials for an older kitty. 

Sorry for me going back and forth this way. I must be frustrating. 

Thank you for all of this love and communication. I need it so desperately. 

Thank you,

Pittens and Sumi

New York, NY
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11 August 2020 - 6:53 pm
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Hi Sumi!  My 10-year old goldendoodle, Griffin, has been a patient at the Animal Medical Center since March 2020 (right forelimb amputation due to osteosarcoma).  When I saw your last post expressing frustration about the lack of response from Dr. Kennedy, I reached out to a wonderful care coordinator at AMC to ask for her help in making sure you get the help you need.  She is familiar with “sweet Pittens” (that’s what she called her) and confirmed that Dr. Kennedy doesn’t work on Mondays or Tuesdays, which explains the delayed response.  She provided the general surgical email as well as the specific one for Dr. Kennedy, both of which I included in the private message that I just sent you.  Fingers crossed that you hear from Dr. Kennedy tomorrow!  Sending hugs from NYC! ~ Stacy (Griffin’s Journey)

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11 August 2020 - 7:23 pm
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I am so sorry that this is eating away at you.  Clearly you have doubts either way. I have seen very difficult amputations last a month or so recovering.  

I don’t know if that helps? We’re all different,  people and furbabies alike.  There truly are no guarantees. 

Most geriatric kitties here have taken time to recover, no lie.  But there are kitties that did really well too. 

I don’t think they see amputation the way we do.  For us it’s emotional.  For them it’s learning a new way of getting around.  I wish i was more dog or more cat.  

Please follow your heart.  This is such a hard decision.  There is no right or wrong,  ok? You know Pittens.  

The road to recovery is a challenge.  Losing your heart cat is awful too. 

We are here but this decision really is yours.  You are there living it.  

Sending you huge hugs and as much pawsitivity as I can. 

❤❤❤

Hugs,

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

Huckleberry's Blog

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11 August 2020 - 7:35 pm
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Thank you so much for helping me like this. I am so grateful to you and to everyone here who has extended themselves to myself and Pittens outside of yourself. You have made me feel secure and feel that I am not alone in this. 

My main question for Dr. Kennedy is if her life expectancy is 6 months to a year – what is the longest time for adjustment and then will it darken that extended time with trauma. And if I do not o forward with amputation – who are the emergency places close by I can go to – or referrals for vets in this area. The vet I have now sent a prescription for Gabapentin for 3 days- when it should have been 30. She did not call me back for a whole weekend and then called and said ” oh the girls in the front must have just sent in 3 days worth- they will call it in” – she didn’t feel the emergency here nor ask how Pittens was without meds for that weekend. That type of callousness makes me nervous about post op. 

My vet issue occurred during the peak of Covid in NY – and my regular vet of 6 years had left during that time- hence, this terrible desperate pleading with anyone who is a vet to help- and not finding anyone. 

It feels nice to hear that Pittens was referred to that way- she was very anxious and howling the whole time there. I believe they gave her a sedative to calm her. Its nice to hear that they understood that and not see it as she is not likable or as unfriendly. It touches me deeply. Very deeply. She is my little misunderstood complicated artist girl. The vet who did the cytology( I found out it was never a biopsy as she claimed and charged me for as there was no grade on the report) said “wow she is quite tough and snappy”. It broke me fully. Beasue she has to be understood.She is the farthest from that. She sleeps with me  and I hug her my face on her back every night for 18 years and she sees me and talks through her language . She is brilliant in so many ways….

She would sit on my mother head like a parrot when she was small as my mother painted. She loves looking at paintings. I have suspected she sees more color than the norm…and she loves music. Lionel Richie and country- she even enjoys some opera and classical. She is my misunderstood intense complicated artist- who really has the strongest fiercest sense of loyalty I have ever seen. I learnt such ferocity through her love for me. I have felt her whole life and said it to people who would raise their eyebrows at me” I don’t know how to handle how much she loves me- it makes me sad.”

I have been blessed with her. We are both introverts but extroverts when comfortable. We are both thinkers- and she opened my heart to feel free to love because she was always steady and stable in my life. I have learnt how to love because of her- because she not only let me – but she allowed me to feel safe loving. 

Thank you dear souls on here. I have never met any of you and even if we never cross paths I feel so close to all of you that I have no guard or anxiety discussing my pain here… and for that I will feel l bound to you forever…. 

sp_hearticon2

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11 August 2020 - 7:36 pm
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Threepaw

A story of an older kitty that lost not one but 2 legs.  

Im not sure if this helps or hurts.  It’s totally NOT solution, ok?

But if you are weighing all of your options,  this may help you. 

Xoxo

Hugs,

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

Huckleberry's Blog

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11 August 2020 - 7:39 pm
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Thank you my friend for this I will read it now

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11 August 2020 - 7:41 pm
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I hate that this is happening now of all times.  

All i can say is we are here for you,  ok?

💜💜💜

Hugs,

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

Huckleberry's Blog

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11 August 2020 - 7:45 pm
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Three paw is the most beautiful – I want her. hahaha

Thank you for this. This gives me faith- hope is desperate and Have been sitting on hope. But this- this gave me faith in this all. 

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11 August 2020 - 7:46 pm
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Thank you paws120 for that hug. Thank you…. 

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11 August 2020 - 7:48 pm
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(((((((Hugs)))))))))  Just remember,  whatever you choose is out of love.  Even harder when you cannot find a doctor you trust. 

I understand that totally.  Im glad i could help you smile ❤

Hugs,

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

Huckleberry's Blog

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11 August 2020 - 8:48 pm
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You did. sp_hearticon2sp_hearticon2sp_hearticon2sp_hearticon2sp_hearticon2

You know what makes this hard is that with Pittens- she would hide no matter who came over and wouldn’t like to be touched for long by others- but with me, it was the extreme opposite. She buries her head in my hair as a sleeping blanket almost- and stares at me the minute she sees me fixated- just will stare at me focused. and then do a little noise with a head nod. There could be noises like fireworks even but she will stare at me and sit. When she wakes she has to know where I am immediately. 

I feel I am her whole world….. and that I have to find out what is right She gave me this trust and this unbelievable amount of love that she gives no-one else… I have to give her everything .

Thank you for your love today. It gave me strength.sp_hearticon2

Virginia




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11 August 2020 - 9:34 pm
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Pittens knows  she is your everything,  just as you know she’s yoir everyt!  Nothing can change that!  She KNOWS you will put her needs first.   She knows any decision  you make is out of selfless love for her!  We can see the depth of love yoj two share!!

We all feel your struggle and understand the “back and forth”  We can only mirror back what you are processing with is through your post.    I know that, as of yesterday, you were leaning  more towards  palliative care.  Today it seems you may be leaning more towards amputation.   

One “theme” that shows up with either the palliative  care or the amputation is “timeframe”.  A timeframe for how long Pittens MAY live after amputation; a “timeframe” for the roughest part of recovery.  And then there’s the question of “timeframe” with  palliative care.  And while we’re  at it, we might as well add in “timeframe” for natural aging  with cat who is already18.

Now, don get me wrong, all of those scenarios involving  “time” are important  to your decision.   The unfortunate  real is, NO ONE KNOWS.  Everything is a “best guess” with NO assurances  of whether it would be less time, or more time ‘etc.

One thing you do know, QUALITY  is what’s important  and QUALITY  is what you have control over to some degree.  Controlling the pain and being with you seems like one way Pittens would certainly describe what quality  means to her at this point in her earthly journey.

Maybe Dr Kennedy can give you really specific  answers to uour  questions uou mentioned above in a way that gives you more clarity and a little more peace of mind.  

A couple of quest you can ask yourself:

1.  If you do palliative care and can control the pain, and her remaining time is quality with no poking and prodding, can you find “peace” with that decision, even if the remaining  time is not very long?  Can you let go and not second guess  your decision?

2.  Wjat if you do amputation  and recovery is hard and she needs to spend several nights in the clinic. Additionally, It takes at least a month or so  to get to somewhat of a normal lifestyle with no pain, but her extended  time doesn’t  get you to the six month mark.,   Can you find peace in that decision?  Can you let go of second guessing?

3.  Of course, the ideal situation is she has amputation,  recovery is not hard and it only takes her about two weeks to start feeling better.  And she gets a good year of pain free time.  Obviously no second guessing, right?  Of all the scenario though, this one is the least probable  due to her age, some other issues, the trauma of. major  surgery, for a senior, natural life span, etc.  Thos would be something  maybe Dr Kenned can tell you is a good possibility  one way or the other

Probably  in k e of these scenarios  you will find more peace and less second  guessing g than the others

Okay, onto a more enjoyable subject!!  The relationship  you and Pittens have is so beautiful!!  I thoroughly  enjoyed getting to know who she is, who you are, and how you two clearly  are Soul mates!  DEFI meant to be together. 

The life lessons she has taught  you are so profound!  She came here to be your teacher and uou are the perfect student.  No matter what….NO MATTER WHAT….these lessons will stay with you furever and the deep bo d you two share can NEVER be broken!  Never!!   Pittens came to yoj with a Soul’s purpose,  a clear mission.  And Pittenx has done a spectacular  job fulfilling her mission.  She must feel so, proud watching  over you and watching  you become the best you possible. Whenever  Pittens does head to the Rainbow Bridge (and hopefully  that’s  a long time from now), she can transition knowing she has done a great job in fulfilling  her Soul’s purpose💖

Again, thank you for the privilege of getting to kmow how very, very special Pittens is….and how very, very special  her hooman is.  She does, indeed, have the Soul of an artist and you jave been the blank canvas on which she has created her masterpiece. 💕

Love and light

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS.  Stacy, so very kind of uoj to connect with Dr Kennedy’s office❤❤  And good cyber hug from Jackie❤

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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11 August 2020 - 10:32 pm
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Hi benny55,

Your post is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much. Pittens made me feel like I mattered and I was important and she looked for that from me to give her also… I always feel sad when she looks at me so focused with full love because its so much. This dynamics has made this so hard for me. 

Your questions made a lot of sense for me. And helped structure my thoughts. I worry she won’t have enough time to enjoy the new normal pain free. and then where is the quality in that- only depression. I do feel she would be happy not being poked at and investigated and more hospitals and just staying at home- but I see her pain also. today she wanted to walk around the patio and had to stop. I worry what this is going to look like for her. What does this rupturing look like and does it give relief? I have read some places that said it does- in that case I wonder why it can’t be drained or aspirated. Is that an alternative?

I do feel with amputation and her not recovering fully- and maybe never making this a normal and her personality shifting would be very tragic and I would never forgive myself  – because coming back to quality- I would have destroyed it. And yes, there are no givens with this- I appreciate you being so honest by not saying “age is just a number”- because in truth it kind of isnt-age tells us how much more time we have and it does matter since it helps guide and dictate decisions that can impact quality of life- because time becomes so precious that every move has to be thought of properly- for happiness and content and calm and peace… and health on a biological and psychological level.

Pittens has respresented loyalty, faith, and love in my life… and now her journey is presenting me with a challenge regarding the morals of nature.  Though there is no right or wrong- it is a test almost of how well you have understood this little ones life. I hang my head low with this all. But you holding out your hand and looking at me eye to eye and speaking- is making me strong to determine this and find the right way to surround her with all the sunlight and all the love that exists in this space we are in now.

Thank you  for being what I needed now- truth. 

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12 August 2020 - 2:45 am
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Dear Sumi,

You are not alone.

I too, am struggling deeply with our own 18 year old boy-cat, Strummer, and the just recently “discovered” cancer in the leg he broke (count them) seven months ago. 🙁 His claw got stuck in the carpet, was startled when a door opened suddenly, his body twisted rapidly and strangely, he ran down the stairs, and when we took him to the vet the x-rays showed a badly broken femur.

So (based on lots of research and the advice of others) we brought him to the most “top-of-the-line” surgical center in the entire Bay Area (Sage) and upon the surgeon’s advice, he underwent surgery with a metal plate, screws, and a big long pin to hold his femur in place. Took him in for his 8 week follow-up…”No, he’s not quite healed yet.” Took him in every month for x-rays, poking and prodding, etc. until June. At this point, the surgeon says (paraphrasing) “Yeah, he’s just not healed enough yet for me to take the long pin out yet, you should bring him back in two months.” 

We trusted her. We followed her advice, and brought him back in two months. Well…between June and August, his femur had apparently disintegrated. Last Saturday, when we brought him in for follow-up #4 (after the suggested two-month gap in care), Strummer’s surgeon tells us “I’m so shocked, Strummer has bone cancer. His femur is almost gone, and we don’t even know if amputation is a possibility.” 

Wow.

We can pay another…$5k? (on top of the $13K we’ve already spent)…just for the tests to even SEE IF amputation is a possible avenue. Or we can try to manage his pain at home and treat him like the awesome, hilarious, age-defying King-Strummie he is, until it seems clear that it’s time to let him go. He HATES the vet, hides under the bed for three days after every visit…and right now, I don’t blame hime.

Like you, we see all the life he still has left in him. No offense to all the other cats in my life (past and present), but this guy is just special (sigh). I had to let go of another cherished kitty, Tamari, about 9 months ago, and that just about killed me. She was like your Pittens is to you: she was so bonded to me – the instant she laid eyes on me, I was her Mama. She never really liked anyone else, for her whole 17 years on the planet. But she would bury her head in my hair, lock onto me like a rhesus monkey. That was love, so I totally get how hard what you are going through is. Boo. It is So, so hard.

Ok this has gotten way longer than I intended. but I wanted to reach out to you to let you know that reading your posts, and the incredibly kind and caring replies of others on this thread, has been so helpful to me. 

Please feel free to message me any time. You’re a good kitty-Mama, Sumi :). This sucks.

Jen

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