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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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Surgery today 5/5/2021
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Member Since:
16 April 2021
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5 May 2021 - 7:21 am
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Hi.  I'm new to the group and my 11 year old feline, Abbey, is having her right front limb amputated today due to cancer.  I want to introduce us as I'm sure I will have plenty of questions.

I've been reading the forums as to what to expect, but I'm honestly beside myself. So many questions!  Will she adjust? Will she forgive me? Will she mentally accept her loss? How should I set her up for recovery when I bring her home tomorrow? Stairs or ramp, or both?  Will she ever be able to use the staircase to the upper floor again, is it possible to put a ramp on that?

This is just a sampling of how my mind is going and I don't even know where to begin. I believe you all have gone through similar feelings.  Hoping my head will clear up once I hear from the doctor after surgery. 

In the meantime, I just wanted to say hi and tell you all that you are amazing parents!

Carol

Virginia




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22 February 2013
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5 May 2021 - 9:15 am
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Hello Car9l and Abbey.  Welcome to the damily.....a family that is here to guide you, support you and to cheer Abvey on as she navigates thru recovery with a pain free quaility  life.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!  We understand all the emotions all too well!  We've all had the same fear, the same uncertainty,  the same questions, etc. 

Giessing you've already read the Cool Tios of tripawd Cats, etc.   Recovery is no picnic for a couple of weeks and Abvey jist needs rest and good pain management   during that time.. 

Yes, Abvey will be able to do al ost everything  she's ever done before. ....but not during recovery.  There may be some modifications s you need to make for I stance,  perhaps a ramp or steps to your bed. She'll probably decide to. Bypass those tools and jump up and down on the bed anyway...

For now, if you can keep her confined to the downstairs in sort of a little recovery room type atmosphere with lotter box and water at hand.  She'll be able to manage stairs and you'll see videos here of cats doi g that just fine.  But all that is after recovery.  

And she will be grateful that bum leg is gone!!!

Apologies for ma,ing this quick, disjointed and not very inform arrive!  For now I just wanted ro assure you we are here with you and that Abbey WILL, adjust to three and get to be Abvey again!

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!

On The Road


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5 May 2021 - 9:57 am
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Carol and Abbey, welcome to the club nopawdy wants to join! But we are so glad you found us so we can help you feel better about the decision to amputate. 

As Sally mentioned, our book Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats is filled with tons of tips about life on three. Also, our What to Expect articles can prepare you, and Jerry's Required Reading List has tons of links to helpful articles.

If it's any consolation, from what we see around here, cats do VERY well on three legs! They really do better than dogs and even senior kitties fall into that group. As long as Abbey has appropriate pain management , recovery should go smoothly. Be sure to ask your vet what kinds of medication she will receive to manage her pain. Cats tend to get the short end of the stick in that area by vets who aren't up on the latest pain control methods, so you'll want to advocate in that area if you suspect her pain is not under control.

And in the end, Abbey is not going to hold anything against you. I know cats are known for their, well, cattitude, but honestly, they live in the moment just as dogs do. Once the bad leg is gone, and recovery is in the past, a cat or dog just wants to get on with life. They don't mourn the loss or have regret or anger toward their human. It's a great lesson for us all!

Keep us posted on how things are going!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
16 April 2021
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5 May 2021 - 6:12 pm
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Thank you Sally and Jerry.  The hospital said that Abbey is comfy with pain meds right now.  She will need to eat prior to coming home tomorrow and they said they will probably stop the meds during the night and see if she eats.

She doesn't do well with oral gabapentin, so not sure what they will send her home with for pain medication. I have a spare bedroom setup for her and I will be staying in there with her, sleeping and working, to make sure she does well. 

I am concerned after speaking with the surgeon today. He said her lymph nodes deep behind her scapula were swollen and he is cautious about her prognosis. He sent all lymph nodes to the lab for testing so we should know more in a couple weeks, but he is also confident he got all visible cancer out.

Trying not to stress on what I don't know, so concentrating on her comfort right now. I made an awesome "gate" door today for the spare bedroom using garden fencing. It will allow Abbey to heal comfortably while keeping her 3 year old brothers out, they will be able to see in and interact with her through the door when/if she's ready. It turned out really well!

Excited and super nervous about bringing her home. I will keep you updated. Thanks again for the helpful information!

On The Road


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5 May 2021 - 6:37 pm
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Yay surgery is over! WOOHOO!!!

It's good you know that she doesn't do well with Gabapentin. I'm curious what they will send her home with too so keep us posted.

That's so neat you have a spare bedroom all set up for both of you. And you are so right: one step at a time. Don't think the worst about things that haven't happened yet.

I would love to see the "gate" when you get a chance to try it out. Pretty cool! OK get some rest and know that things are gonna be OK. She is going to amaze you!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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5 May 2021 - 8:55 pm
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YAY!  SURGERY IS DONE!!

You've done an excellent job of setting up her recovery area

Just keep things chunked down and get thru the recovery phase,  Whethernlymph nodes are involved or no, Abbey is her own individual  self woth her own genetic makeup and not a statistic.

Glad she's at the clinic tonight and probably  enjoying seeing so empink elephants  right now.  She may not be wa ti g to eat much at first.  You can try some tuna water to help keep her hudrated.

Try and get some rest tonight, okay?  And STAY CONNECTED!  Uou've got this!

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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8 May 2021 - 5:12 am
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Thank you for the words of confidence!  Abbey has been home two nights now and I am thoroughly impressed with her determination.  

The meds they sent her home with are:

Robenacoxib 6mg once daily 

Buprenorphine 0.1ml every 6 hours

Only 3 days worth of pain meds, does that seem normal?  She will finish the meds today.

The first day was entirely exhausting for both her and I.  She tried her hardest to walk but just kept stumbling, rolling, scooting in circles.  I questioned if she would ever get used to 3 legs. But she was so happy to be home and I was thrilled she ate right away.

Prior to surgery I had various boxes and totes next to the bed to serve as steps for her, but had removed them after surgery as the doctor wanted no jumping during recovery. Well she tried to jump up on the bed and couldn't grab it with one paw and fell, so I slid the mattress off the box spring and she and I are now sleeping on the mattress on the floor, lol.

I will gladly post pictures of my diy gate door.  Can someone explain how to attach?

I will keep you updated on my little fighter and will post pics of her too if I can figure that out!

Thanks

On The Road


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8 May 2021 - 8:28 pm
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It's great she is home! I'm sorry I just saw your post right now.

NO, three days is not enough pain control. Please please call your vet and ask for more medication. The standard for most cats and dogs is a minimum of 10 days, sometimes 14 or more.

I'm glad you moved your mattress to the floor, that's good. How is she doing today?

This is how adding images to the Forums works.

Upload pics to a photo sharing site like imgur.com or your own Tripawds blog (https://tripawd.....#supporter).

Pictures and video have to be hosted (live) somewhere other than in the forums. 

Once the photo is uploaded somewhere, right click and copy the Image URL or just copy the image if you’re on a phone

Return to your Tripawds Forum post and paste the image URL (or the image itself) in your post. It should automatically appear. 

If you’d like help figuring out the process let me know.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
20 January 2021
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10 May 2021 - 9:39 am
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Hi Carol & Abbey!

Welcome to the Tripawd community.  

I'm also still relatively new here.  My 8 year old boy had his front leg amputated in February.  Unfortunately I can't really comment on amputation after cancer diagnosis, as my boy had his leg amputated due to a bad fracture that didn't want to heal, but I can share some of my experience with the amputation and recovery.

Now while everyone's experience is different, I want to offer some hope by sharing mine.  My boy is doing so well after amputation.  He exceeded all my expectations.  Not just in how fast he recovered and how well he adjusted, but how much his personality shines now that a constant source of pain is out of the way.  

With that said, pain meds for only three days I would say isn't enough.  My boy was prescribed strong pain meds for quite a few days and that ended up not being long enough.  I had to go back to the vet and get more pain meds.  In the end he was on pain meds till his stitches came out about 14 days later.  

My vet also suggested that I keep him locked in a room with no places to jump on and off to avoid him hurting himself and/or messing with the stitches.  This meant that he was locked in a room with water, litterbox, and a few cosy places to sleep without being able to jump on anything for about 7 days.  It wasn't nice to have him locked up for days, but I would just go and spend hours in there with him, reading a book and cuddling him.  And in the end I do think it helped him recover faster and without complications.  

I wish you and abbey the best of luck and a good recovery!

Member Since:
9 February 2021
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10 May 2021 - 4:08 pm
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Hi,

You sound like a great kitty mom!!!!  I love that you moved the mattress on the floor for her and have her sealed off from your other cats. She's a lucky girl. 

My cat had her leg amputated in February.  I believe she was on pain meds for 14 days. She also had a cone for 14 days to make sure she didn't groom her stitches and wound. Like you, I had serious questions before the surgery. I dropped her at the vet for the surgery and sobbed all the way home. I felt like the worst cat mommy. 

Because my cat is a senior girl (at least 17 but maybe older), I questioned whether she would be able to eventually use stairs. I decided I had to get ramps. I found a great one for the couch. But I had some stairs from a previous senior dog, so I figured I might as well try. Sure enough, my cat goes up and down those stairs with no problem -- much to my surprise. Abbey is younger, so . . . 

I'm glad you are through the first days after surgery. Those are the worst--at least they were for me. I hope you get good news on the lymph node front. As Sally said, Abbey is a unique individual and not a statistic. My cat had mammary cancer years ago. I had the tumors removed twice, and the vet oncologist told me if I didn't remove Rita's whole mammary chain, her cancer would return within a few months (based on the statistics). I opted not to do that and instead put her on the highest-quality raw food and supplements to target cancer, along with energy work.  Here we are 6 years later, and no cancer in site. Her leg was amputated in February due to an old injury and not cancer. So . . . every cat is different. That being said, I hope you get good news. 🙂        

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16 April 2021
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10 May 2021 - 7:16 pm
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Hi everyone! 

We are now at day 5 after surgery. Abbey is doing quite well.  Like you motherofcats, she is exceeding my expectations this early on.  She is enjoying attention much more now than prior to surgery. I know she's still in pain, but the pain must be much different than the pain she had limping on her affected limb. She is learning to center her weight over her front leg and she is moving around better and stumbling less.

I appreciate everyone's input on the pain meds. I contacted the hospital first thing this morning requesting more meds. It's only another, 3 day supply, but this will keep her going and if I need to request more I will.

Kmdenver, bless your little senior girl. I'm on pins and needles awaiting the pathology report.  The stitches are dissolvable so none need removed, but the surgeon put a bandage wrap around her torso that he will take off 2 weeks after surgery. I scheduled an appt with the oncologist the same day, but I'm praying the outcome on her lymph nodes will be clear and require no further treatment. I am intrigued by your choice of food and supplements. Maybe you can share what your are feeding and supplementing.

I took a couple PTO days to tend to her needs (even though I work from home), so I was quite busy today and didn't get a chance to post pics according to Jerry's instruction.  Those will be coming soon!

On The Road


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10 May 2021 - 7:36 pm
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Oh that's great about Abbey! and good for you for being such a terrific advocate. Pain relief is such a huge need for new Tripawds. Some vet clinics can be really strict about handing them out and I can't blame them, so I'm glad they're willing to extend the supply if necessary.

Oh regarding the bandage wrap: please keep an eye on what's underneath if at all possible. Infection is hard to spot if the area isn't being inspected. Unfortunately we've seen that happen a few times.

Let me know if you'd like help with photos, I'm always available.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
9 February 2021
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11 May 2021 - 3:46 pm
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Hi,

Yes, I'm sure you are on pins and needles awaiting pathology results. I'm sorry!

Here are the supplements I started giving Rita after her cancer diagnosis:

1) Mushroom supplement. I can't remember which brand because this was so long ago. They sold it at my vet's office, so I believe it was specific for felines (or at least animals). I believe the Dr Becker/Dr Mercola site also has animal mushroom supplements. https://www.mer.....ne-support

2) ASEA -- I'll have to get the link for this one. Rita used to rink this out of a bowl. Now I syringe it into her mouth because I mix it with a kidney homeopathic remedy.  

3) Moxxor -- an omega supplement http://katesoli.....oxxor.com/  

4) Bioage F2 -- https://bioage.com/shop/

5) Probiotics -- I can't remember if I started Rita on these with her cancer diagnosis or later. She takes Dr Mercola's/Dr Becker's https://www.mer.....-container

I worked with an animal nutritionist on coming up with a plan. Her name is Kate if you're interested. https://www.kat.....t-planning. I also give the cats energy work.

If I can remember any others, I'll let you know.  Oh, the food we started using was Rad Cat raw.  The company, unfortunately, went out of business. Now I use RAWR raw food. https://www.eat.....te-meals  It may not be in your location though. Tiki Cat also has a good raw food. That brand may be more nationwide. 

Here's to a good diagnosis for Abbey!  I'm glad she is doing well after her surgery.  Fingers crossed. 

On The Road


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11 May 2021 - 3:53 pm
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kmdenver said
Hi,

Yes, I'm sure you are on pins and needles awaiting pathology results. I'm sorry!

Here are the supplements I started giving Rita after her cancer diagnosis

  

This is so helpful! Thank you so much for sharing.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

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16 April 2021
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11 May 2021 - 4:15 pm
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Yes this is extremely helpful, thank you so much!  Trying not to sound too naive, what is energy work?

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