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Plz help! Where to amputate? | Ask A Vet!

Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Plz help! Where to amputate?
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Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
16 April 2017
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16 April 2017 - 12:58 pm
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I got a recuse cat whose front right leg is paralyzed. Basically, she drags her leg at the wrist, where it’s bent in (check out pic below. Not my cat. A pic off Google but quite similar to my cats situation).

The people who took her in wrapped a cloth around the leg and cut circulation, hence got minor infection. Put her on antibiotics and daily ointments. The infection is gone but the wound is not going away. The area where it’s circled – for lack of a better term – looks like a red flower. I’m guessing its not healing (always looking fresh) because she is constantly standing on the wound.

The vet, who i went to to get the leg amputated, said to come back after the wound has healed. Prescribed ointments, but its been over 2 months and it looks the same. No sign of healing.

I don’t know why he wanted me to wait until it healed. Any ideas?…that’s the 1st question.

2nd question… Where should it be amputated? The Scapula and below (I heard this would be purely for cosmetic reasons), the Hemerus and below, or from the Carpal (where the problem is)? The vet said at the wrist (Carpal) since she can use the remaining part of the leg to support herself. I then asked “wouldn’t the skin break again at the stub from friction?” (since she will be walking on it), to which i can’t remember his answer – i can remember it not making sense though. 

Any from a surgeon?

Image Enlarger

Livermore, CA




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16 April 2017 - 3:35 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

While you are waiting for Dr. Pam to post you might read though this post on Full vs. Partial Limb Amputation.

When you say the leg is paralyzed- is the entire leg paralyzed? Can she use her shoulder and/or upper leg?

It seems like more vets are considering partial limb amputations as the blog post discusses, but from what I’ve seen here they often cause a problem unless you are planning on a prosthetic, and then the prosthetic needs to be part of the amputation plan.  It seems to me that an amputation at the wrist joint could lead to the same problem you are seeing now.

I would get a second opinion on amputation surgery from a Board Certified Surgeon. 

I’m not a vet or a cat parent, just my input from my experiences and what I’ve seen on this site.

What is your girl’s name?

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Michigan


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16 April 2017 - 4:23 pm
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Hello and welcome,

Not a vet, I just just wanted to welcome you.

Ditto Karen get a second or third opinion and go from there. 

Unless you will be getting a prosthetic they usually take the scapula and below .

Our cat Purrkins had his front left leg & scapula amputated from a soft tissue sarcoma.

My understanding was by taking the scapula it was more comfortable for the cat.

We did not have a choice it was the way the surgeon did front leg amps.

Best of luck to you and rescue kitty!

Holly & Purrkins

Michigan
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16 April 2017 - 7:29 pm
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Is the vet who you took her to an orthopedic specialist or a regular vet?  I think that if I were you, in this case especially, I would want to go to an orthopedic specialist.  This doesn’t seem like such a clear cut case as would some others.  Do you maybe live near a teaching hospital?

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy  http://murphyh......pawds.com/

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old.  He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  

Donna.png

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16 April 2017 - 9:52 pm
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Thanks for the replies!

midnighter94, i think a regular vet, my only choice since he’s the only vet around. At this point, i’m just trying to educate myself. I dont want to depend on him for info.

Virginia




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17 April 2017 - 9:48 pm
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Just wantrd to add my support. You are doing an excellent job in trying to figure out what’s best for your pal. It can be a daunting task and certainly full of contradictions!

Uodate us as you can. We’ll all be wishing for the best possible outcome for yiur cat 🙂

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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17 April 2017 - 10:24 pm
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It looks like a brachial plexus injury?  Can the cat swing its shoulder joint?  I would amputate at the shoulder or take the entire scapula for best results.  I would only consider leaving some leg if you were going to get a prosthesis although cats do great as tripawds.  Also I would not wait…

Pam

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17 April 2017 - 11:08 pm
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tazziedog said
It looks like a brachial plexus injury?  Can the cat swing its shoulder joint?  I would amputate at the shoulder or take the entire scapula for best results.  I would only consider leaving some leg if you were going to get a prosthesis although cats do great as tripawds.  Also I would not wait…

Pam  

Thank you for commenting tazziedog!

Question: Why not at the wrist? (if she won’t be getting prosthesis). Why would be at the scapula better…and not the wrist?



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18 April 2017 - 9:14 am
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I’m not a vet. There have been a number of people here whose pet had a partial amputation where the stump never really healed well and they ended up having a second operation to have the full leg removed. Perhaps we don’t hear about those who do well with a partial leg.

I don’t see how the partial leg will help support your cat. It would seem like a table with one leg shorter and we know how annoying that is.

Has your vet done leg amputations before? You have Pam’s opinion and I hope you can find another vet/surgeon if you need another opinion.

Thanks for rescuing your cat. You have great questions and I hope you find someone who can do the needed surgery soon.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

Michigan


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18 April 2017 - 10:38 am
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Here is a forum post where the kitty had to go back for more surgeries. He started using the stub. Which led to more surgery.

http://tripawds…..s-journey/

Please let us know what you decide.

Holly & Purrkins

The Rainbow Bridge



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18 April 2017 - 11:28 am
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I agree with Kerren’s analogy about a table with one leg too short. A gait like that could lead to major spinal issues down the road. Ouch.

Where do you live? Perhaps we can find a vet surgeon for you so you can get a second opinion.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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18 April 2017 - 1:05 pm
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At Da Bear HQ, there once lived a natural born tripawd who had three normal legs and one “vestigial” leg not unllike the picture you have shown. He was completely fine as he used the leg almost as a counterbalance and also was reassured having motion in all “four” legs. However, that was his normal. 

There are many, many occurrences of partial amputation that have led to further complications and then full amputation at a later date which is why many people choose full amputation at the onset. It may be one of those cases that is not clear cut until the vet either does more imaging or, perhaps, makes the decision during the operation based on their findings at the time. 

Why was s/he asking to wait until the wound had healed? That is a question that I would ask the treating vet (if only to be certain that you are comfortable with the rationale and treatment). If your Wonder the Rescue cat is still scraping the leg, then it does seem as if will never heal and then where would the decision to amputate be? Is there any way to pad the area as it is healing? I read that the previous owners did and that there were complications but do you think it is possible? 

Here is to hoping that healing occurs sooner rather later and that you get the answers you need!

And, kudos to you for rescuing The Wonder Cat!!!

Best wishes and PyrPaws all around!


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19 April 2017 - 5:49 pm
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I find that the stump will be difficult to use and may get infected/break open.  You can always try it but I would bet that the cat would do better without the entire leg.

Pam

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