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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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Cat had broken humerus due to bone cancer please help.
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Member Since:
6 November 2016
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6 November 2016 - 8:45 am
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Snuffles our[Image Can Not Be Found] cat broke his front left humerus yesterday we took him in and he has bone cancer they couldnt see it anywhere else.   I am trying to get a picture to share of the x-rays.  he is 11 years old and doesn't seem to be in much pain.   my question is if we amputate what would be his life expectancy after amputee and odds of not getting all the cancer.  Any other recommendations you might have would be great.   there was no mass tumor just a shadowy look to his humerus bone.  we are taking him for a second opinion tomorrow and just want to do what's right for our cat. 

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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6 November 2016 - 1:23 pm
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Hi Snuffles and family, welcome. I'm so sorry about the potential diagnosis. It's crazy how many kitties have joined us recently because of bone cancer. Did the vet say what kind they think it is?

I'm glad to hear you're taking Snuffles in for a second opinion, that's awesome. Cats can do great on three legs, even better than dogs! Don't let age be that much of a factor in your decision, especially considering cats' typical lifespans.

But please, if Snuffles isn't on some kind of pain medication already, get some ASAP from your vet today. Animals do a GREAT job at hiding pain, and even when they don't appear to be in pain, they usually are. Imagine yourself trying to hobble around with a broken humerus...ouch! Here are some posts that can help you right now in your research:

Pain Signs in Cats and Dogs: Learn the Symptoms

Tips for Three-legged Cats During and After Amputation Recovery

Oh and here's a post about adding images to the forums. Holler if you'd like assistance OK?

Stay tuned, others will chime in shortly.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
14 February 2016
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6 November 2016 - 3:27 pm
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Ditto Jerry.  Most cats do really well on three. Bone cancer is painful, so think of amputation as a way to get rid of the pain.  

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

Member Since:
27 July 2014
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6 November 2016 - 4:39 pm
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Wow, this is a bad week for cats with bone cancer. I'm sorry to hear this is your cat's diagnosis. Although considered it "rare" we've had Jimmi: http://tripawds.....onary-mts/ and Rocky: http://tripawds.....need-help/  Jill lived a long time with osteosarcoma, here's her blog:

You can learn more from their posts.

Also this week there have been more cats getting amputations for vaccine associated sarcomas, also considered "rare". I suspect that these diseases are either not properly diagnosed or that the pet owners choose not to proceed with treatments.

The vets will give you the prognosis but please remember the statistics don't mean a heck of a lot because all pets are different as is the stage of their disease. As mentioned pain control is most important right now. I hope the vets help you with how to proceed. Please know that cats do really well on 3 legs. My kitty Mona had her leg amputated 2.5 years ago and is doing great.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona


Member Since:
11 July 2016
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8 November 2016 - 5:28 am
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Hi and welcome ,

Like everyone already has said we have had a lot of cats join lately , several with bone cancer rare and vaccine associated sarcomas.

I agree with Kerren I think we are probably just getting more diagnostic done on cats now then years past and finding it & able to do something about it.  Time will tell us that for certain. Maybe its not so rare.

Dont go by life expectancy go by quality of life! Statistics are just numbers, all animals are different and some animals defy those!

Snuffles is in pain and removing the leg will remove that pain ! If you proceed with amputation you will see later how much pain snuffles was in! 

To add to Kerrens list Harry the cat was also diagnosed with bone cancer he had his amp a month ago. http://tripawds.....3/#p176173

Our kitty Purrkins is 6 he had his amputation on his front left leg over 3 months ago from a soft tissue sarcoma and is doing great on 3 legs.

Its a horrible decision to make and its certainly not a easy decision when your faced with it!

If I was ever faced with making the same decision again what I can tell you is I would make the same decision we did and amputate get rid of the pain and hopefully the cancer!

Keep us posted please


Holly & Purrkinsheart


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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8 November 2016 - 5:27 pm
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Sorry you find yourself here but, as you can see, this is the best place to be for support, information and understanding.

Youve already gotten great advice and great links. I just want to add my support. Also, remember, Snuffles does NOT have a timeframe stamped anywhere on his but and doesn't care about days on a calendar! He DOES care about being loved and spoiled by you and getting yummy treats!

Sending 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!

Copperas Cove, TX
Member Since:
12 May 2016
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9 November 2016 - 7:16 am
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I remember when we found out Bandit had cancer.  I was on a walk with him and had to sit down in the middle of the street and hold him.  We struggled with whether to amputate or not.  I Just couldn't grasp how it could be a good thing.  But it was.  It stopped his pain and we had 5 more months of doggie kisses and walks and love.  Keeping you in our thoughts as you go through this journey.  Pawsome thoughts from Deb and Angel Bandit

Member Since:
2 October 2016
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11 November 2016 - 9:45 pm
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Hi! Just wanted to add my echo...welcome and I'm so sorry you find yourself and your kitty in this position. Poor thing, and his poor little leg 🙁

I would also recommend getting on top of pain management ASAP. Harry, my cat, also had bone cancer and my vet recommended putting him down within the week if I didn't amputate because the pain is so severe. Cats do an EXTREMELY good job of hiding pain, so as not to appear vulnerable to predators. Harry was acting completely normal, except he was limping, and is fore"arm" was almost eaten entirely through 🙁 

As far as prognosis, your vet is the one to ask, but Harry had bone cancer in his right front leg without any sign of it in his lungs, and I was told  that, of course there is no guarantee, but that most cats get another couple of years or longer following amputation. 

Life on three legs is absolutely doable for cats. In my case, after the initial healing, there is very little difference in his life now - the only difference being that he uses steps to get down from higher places rather than jumping straight down onto his one remaining foreleg. He is actually, very quickly, becoming more active than he was before amputation - probably because the pain is gone and he's building up his new muslces. And, because I imagine I can read his moods, he seems happier. Nobody can make the decision for you, but I will say that I was very aprehensive about the whole thing, and VERY worried that there would be complications or that he would suffer needlessly, and I am ecstatic to report that I made the right choice for us. The first couple of weeks were very tough on me, emotionally - mostly worry, looking back, or panic when it took him a bit of flopping about or wriggling the shoulder where his leg is no longer, to figure things out, but it was absolutely, beyond question, the best choice for us. 

Let us know how the second opinion goes. Harry's cancer just looked like a dark shadowy area on the x-ray as well.......not that that means anything. 

And I can't express enough how absolutely FINE he is now. And that seems to be the case for the majority of cats I've read about. 

Member Since:
21 May 2016
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15 November 2016 - 4:36 pm
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Hi Snuffles and family 😺💗

You've got great advice so far but still ... it is always a very hard decision to amputate ...

My girl is a Great Dane who lost her front leg to osteo 6 1/2 months ago and all I can say is if a HUGE dog can cope, recover and enjoy life so can your cutie kittie.

And let's not forget about the excrutiating pain which will disappear as soon as the leg goes. 

Please keep the updates coming!

Sending Snuffles lots and lots of ear scratches and hugs to his human family 😻💕💕💕😘

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

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