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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I already own one tripad Animal, my dog Jake. I got him from the Animal Shelter two days after his leg amputation. Unbeknownst to me at the time, my cat Samo may face a very similar future. On Monday I found him several hours after he got his back leg caught between two wooden fence slats. He was hanging upside down for up to six hours by his back right leg. My vet did an x-ray and there was nothing broken and he does have some nerves are working in his knee. But below the knee it’s still swollen and he’s not using it at all. I am at a wait-and-see time for him before I have to decide on amputation or not. Finances for me are already slim but I am fortunate that there is an organization in my city that will help defray some of the cost. I am hoping for the best for him at the same time as I plan for the worst.
My question to any veterinarians out there or other owners is what are the chances that he recovers versus him ending up with his leg being amputated?
There is still a lot of swelling from where his leg got caught down. When he walks the part of his leg below the knee and the lower part of the leg just drags. He has good blood flow as his paw is as warm as the other paws but I don’t know about the nerves working. If the cost ends up to high I will have to make the tough choice and put him down. This would break my heart as I bottle fed him, his brother Davie-whom I still have and two sisters who I found homes for, from the time they were a week old. He is such a wonderful cat and I cannot imagine losing him at this point in his life. I can handle him being a tripawd I just don’t know about the veterinarian bill. Is there anything I can do as I wait for the swelling to go down that might encourage the nerves to wake up? I know Jake seems to be handling his back leg having been amputated with no problem and runs and plays as much as my four legged dogs. Any information on nerve damage due to constriction of a limb for up to 6 hours would be much appreciated.
24 June 2019
I can only speak about my own surgeries. I have extensive nerve damage from two surgeries and one accident. Nerves never fully heal or regenerate. Can you get a second vet opinion? If you can’t do the surgery, then worst case you can surrender him to a rescue organization that has space. It would be awful, but he could get the care he needs.
Oh my gosh I’m sorry to hear about this! Yikes! I’m hoping our Fairy Vet Mother Dr. Pam will have some ideas.
As for the cost, if you qualify for the Tripawds Foundation ASAP Fund, you may get up to $500 in reimbursement for the amputation surgery.
22 August 2008
Gabapentin can sometimes help but if he was trapped for 6 hours the nerve may be permanently damaged or severed. You can give it a few days but most likely the damage is permanent. It may help to call around for prices as amputation surgeries vary quite a bit and maybe you can get help from a rescue group. As long as he is not painful it will not hurt to wait a few days.
Samo is going back to the vet this afternoon. Going to a different vet for a second opinion wouldn’t work for me in this case as the Animal League, which is helping with 1/2 of the bill only works with this practice. I don’t see any improvement after a week and I’m go to see if the vet will go ahead and amputate the leg. I will check out the Tipawd foundation fund again but it looked like my chances are slim to none there. I could give him up to the animal shelter but there is no guarantee that they would keep him alive. Our town like so many other cities has an over abundance of cars so many are put down. I’m hopeful that I can scrape together enough money for the amputation. He’s getting along on three legs but the injured one just hangs. I’m praying that I will be able to keep him. His litter mate Davie is lost without him. They are so used to playing together and dozing together. I just know that Samo is really uncomfortable right now. Do cats who have had an amputated back leg so as well as dogs? I know Jake is doing really well. Of course I have no idea of what he was like before I got him from the animal shelter. At least if Samo has to have his leg amputated I know what he would be like prior to it as I’ve had him since he and his siblings were a week old. Thanks to all here. You are great support folks.
Oh poor Samo. I’m sorry to hear things are looking bleak. Let us know what the other vet says, and if you no longer have vet-specific questions for Dr. Pam, please start a new topic in our Three Legged Cats Forum so our community can help and you can keep us updated.
Yes, cats do really well on three legs, even better than dogs!