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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We are currently on day 6 of Bowie's recovery from his rear leg amputation and this site has been a huge help thus far. He is 10 years old and was diagnosed with cutaneous lymphocytosis. I have found this to be a rare diagnosis that may or may not eventually lead to lymphoma.
He seems to be doing quite well so far but is either trembling or having spasms in his lower back area, at the site of amputation, and even in his remaining right leg. In the first couple days I was told that this is somewhat normal as things are settling down but was wondering if anyone else has experienced this and if so, any idea how long it may take for things to settle down? It seems to be bothering me more than it bothers him but it's so hard to tell if he is in pain. I have been cleared to give him some gabapentin which doesn't seem to be helping with these spasms. It's disturbing to watch as sometimes his whole body shakes as a result of the twitching.
Any feedback would be hugely appreciated! Thank you. Bowie's mom, Jess
Hi Bowie and pawrent!
Is he on any medications? The spasms may be discomfort or phantom leg pain . The first couple of weeks can be stressful trying to keep him comfortable while he heals. pain management is important. Sometimes they need to have the medications adjusted to make sure they are comfortable. Also, right now rest is really important. Keeping them contained to a spare room can help to keep them from doing too much. Huckleberry had spasms, he is a right rear amp. He was on pain medication and gabapentin for 2-3 weeks following surgery. Hang in there, it does get better
Jackie and Huckleberry
Thank you for responding! Bowie was only on pain meds for 3 days after coming home =( He doesn't seem to be in pain so I was hesitant to ask for more because he is older and I know some of these meds are hard on the liver. The spasms seem to be more fired up after he's been walking around so thank you for the advice to keep him contained. He's been mostly contained but seems to get a little stir crazy and we have let him venture out a bit. I've been worried he's doing too much so we will do better at this! Luckily the gabapentin keeps him a little lazy. Do you recall how long the spasms held up?
Thank you again, Jess
Huckleberry also had buprenorphine and I almost had to argue with the vet to continue with it. We ran out like three times and I had to call them back for more. You could tell when he didn't take it though, because you could see the discomfort coming back and he got really hissy with me. It is easy to administer because it comes in little TB syringes and is virtually tasteless. I think the first several weeks were the worst. Now what I see is that little bump moving, almost looks like it is vibrating when he has something itchy on the side of his amp and cannot get to it. I give him a good rubbing, pet and scratch him and it stops. The big difference now is that he does not jump and it does not seem painful.
How old is Bowie? It is hard to tell if it is discomfort in general or phantom limb pain. What is his gabapentin dosage? You might want to speak with your vet about getting him something to go with the gaba for pain. One of the ladies in here, Holly, has recommended videoing when the episode happens. I know I did that with Huck, and when everybody was watching him be cute, we got to see things that the naked eye misses. Holly picked up on it right away.
Huckleberry was a little different as far as confinement was concerned. He was feral when we took him in so he lived in an extra large dog crate first and then as we started socializing with him he spent more time in the room and less in the crate. I will tell you though, we spent a lot of time in that room with him. I have a TV in there and Alexa and I would just go up and lay on the bed to either read or watch tv and just cuddle with him because I felt bad about him being up there all by himself. I found kitty shows on Netflix and Amazon and I played that stuff or just calming music when he was by himself. The gaba and buprenorphine really helped to let him rest also. I know, crazy cat lady lolol
This will get better, he is still in the early stages of recovery and this is a BIG surgery. I have a feeling if you speak with your vet and can help his pain management you will see a big difference. I am not a vet but I do know that it is going to take a couple of weeks before he starts feeling more like his new self.
Good luck in your journey, I am sure there will be others chiming in soon when they find your post. We will do our best to help you through this and answer any questions that come up.
Jackie and Huckleberry
18 October 2009
Hello and welcome. As you can see your future posts don't need approval after the first one. I approved your first post and typed a response but it seems to have disappeared
Oh well, Jackie took care of you!
I was also going to ask about pain meds. I don't know why vets only prescribe 3 days of pain meds after an amputation! It still happens with dogs but more often with cats it seems. The trembling can be a sign of pain.
You might also try some massage or some heat when the muscles spasm.
Six days in is still early in recovery. It sounds like Bowie is coping pretty well already- I bet after some tweaks to the pain meds you will see him more comfortable and he will continue to improve.
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
I see there are 2 posts start on this topic - here are both posts
Jackie you posted under both but this is where you were intending to go 😉
Karen it disappeared and it reappeared one or both?
Hello and Welcome Jess and Bowie,
Sorry you have to join us but glad you have found us !
That is a rare diagnosis and we hope taking the leg stops this from ever becoming lymphoma. If you don’t mind me asking was the diagnosis made after the leg was taken & sent off or by biopsy .
What is the dosage and frequency of Gaba? The frequency needs to be more then once a day, if that is not your instructions please call the vet. I think you need more then the Gaba. My opinion we are not Vets but have gone thru this with our own kitties & have seen many others go thru this.
I agree with Karen 3 days of pain medicine is not enough for any dog or cat!! They sent us home initially with 3 days of Buprenophine and 14 days of Gaba. I had to call to get more Buprenophine and it was not problem. In our case Purrkins was in pain and I knew it! Purrkins signs of pain were meowing, growling, hissing at me and I could not get near him. That is never Purrkins.
Cats are masters at hiding pain those were just Purrkins indicators. Trembling can also be pain as Karren has pointed out. Please look at the pain signs with the link she has provided. There is another link to you can look at also.
I understand the concerns for his liver but the liver can recover and regenerate the pain being managed is most important right now. How would we feel coming home with 3 days of pain meds after our leg was amputated. WE wouldn’t be coming home we would be on a morphine drip still.
Purrkins meds & duration were -
- 14 days Gabapentin 100 mg capsule 1 capsule by mouth every 8 hours
- 12 days Buprenorphine 0.3 mg every 8-12 hours
We had restrictions to limit Purrkins activities for 14 days we did that by staying in a spare room and we had the bed mattress on the floor. Purrkins chose to recover in the closet .
Please speak to the vet about tweaking his meds or adding meds in. I agree this will get better 6 days is very early in recovery! As Jackie has mentioned - Taking a video of the episodes is very useful for your Vet they can better evaluate Bowies needs and see what is going on. I did not have any problems getting more pain management , I explained what was going on and the surgeon agreed we needed more.
That is the biggest complaint we see here most cats do NOT come home with proper pain management .
We hope to her Bowie is doing better and if you have any other questions please ask and we will do our best to help you thru.
Is Bowie eating and drinking and using the litter box ok?
Holly & Purrkins
I see now, whew it got me there for a minute. The topic names were so similar.
How is Bowie doing?
Jackie and Huck
Thank you all for taking the time to reply. I am so sorry for the delay. I ended up getting pretty sick which was awful but also a blessing because Bowie loves the company and I love the snuggles. I also apologize for double posting! My computer had a slight glitch and it looked as if the first post hadn't gone through. Thanks for your patience.
The gabapentin is 36mg 2x daily. Overall the spasms seem to still be occurring but fewer and further between. Thank you for advising me to video them! Great idea. I will also try massage and warm compress. It doesn't seem to bother him when I touch the area so I am sure he will allow it haha.
Bowie is about 10 years old and I feel very guilty confining him because he lives to be social. I too have been sleeping every night on an old mattress on the floor with him. My back is paying for it but it's worth it. How long did some of you wait to let your cats venture out, try climbing stairs, etc? His staples will be removed Monday and I am hoping to be able to give him a little more freedom.
Oh and to answer the question about diagnosis, the diagnosis was made prior to amputation. A biopsy was taken and then we attempted to treat him with steriods. Nothing worked. We had his leg sent to a pathologist for further testing. I'll update on any further findings as soon as we know.
Sorry to hear you were sick it’s a bad year for that. No apology needed!
Glad to hear Bowie’s spasms seem to be less frequent. You can ask your vet about every 8 hour dosing that might be the fix. Show the Vet the video. Warm compresses and massage are great.
Purrkins restrictions were for 14 days limited to the one room, Day 8 he was ready to do more and we put his pet steps and window seat back in for him.
Purrkins stitches came out on the 14th day he was free to be a kitty again no restrictions.
Your Vet will tell you when Bowie gets his staples removed. Most kitties are free after the staples or stitches are out. Depends on the incision and your Vets instructions.
We sent Purrkins leg off too, Purrkins was a soft tissue sarcoma.
Keep us posted and glad you both seem to be feeling better.
Give Bowie a chin scratch for us & thanks for the update!
Holly & Purrkins❤️
23 September 2021
Can trembling be phamtom limb pain in kitties?
Our surgeon advised that phantom limb pain is totally real for cats and prescribed gabapentin as needed for it. Immediately after surgery, my tripawd kitty was trembling as the pain meds wore off, so it seemed clear it was pain related. We're now just over 3 weeks post surgery and the trembling happened again a week ago, and now today. I've given her a tiny bit of gaba both times and that seems to handle it. Otherwise, she's acting normally.
Any other advice for pain relief this far after surgery? And any experiences with phantom limb pain a month or more post surgery?
Many thanks hive brain!
Hmm...3 weeks is not really that long, amd this wouldn't be unusual for phantom pain to happen. Have you asked your vet about adjusting the dosage?
Dry needling acupuncture can work very well too. Sometimes it takes another modality. Consider taking advantage of the Tripawds Foundation rehab reimbursement program that can pay for your first rehab visit . These pros are often able to diagnose and treat pain pretty quickly.