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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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Lost (Izzy the Cat has Cancer)
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Forum Posts: 23
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9 March 2020 - 9:37 am
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Hello.

Last week we found out that our precious Maine Coon mix Izzy has cancer in his left shoulder. 

Two hours prior to finding this out, we had said goodbye to our little boy Manx Balou, so the cancer diagnosis literally left us numb. Now a few days have passed and we are at the point where we can discuss Izzy’s future.

I will admit. At first, when amputation was mentioned, we cringed. A three legged cat? Oh no. Now that a few days have passed and our minds are a bit more clear, we are considering this option.

Looking at Izzy’s X-Rays, there was no doubt about the diagnosis. It doesn’t appear to have spread into Izzy’s lungs. His overall health seems to be good (he’s eleven). He weighs in at almost fourteen pounds. 

There’s so many quesions running through our minds right now. With the tumor being on the left shoulder, surgery would be close to Izzy’s heart. That scares us. How painful will it be for him? What if we have the surgery done and find out he has cancer in his other leg? Eleven years isn’t that old but he’s not a ‘spring kitten’ either. What if he doesn’t make it? 

I’m sure you’ve all asked similar questions. And I know nobody can say ‘oh, it will be ok’ but at this point we would appreciate any input/comments you may have.

Thanks for listening

The Rainbow Bridge



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9 March 2020 - 10:37 am
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Hi Izzy and family, welcome! We are sorry you found yourself here, especially after losing Balou. My deepest condolences for your loss. I know it’s extra tough to be in your shoes right now and we hope to make this journey easier for all of you.

What kind of cancer is suspected? 

The truth about three-legged cats is they do very, very well on three legs. Even the bigger ones, even the older ones. They are so spry they make amputee dogs jealous! Seriously. The biggest issues we have seen with cats recoveries are poor pain management and occasionally infection. You can alleviate these risks by choosing a high quality veterinary clinic. Our book, Cool Tips for Tripawd Cats , has lots of ideas for how to do that, and how to cope with life in general for a Tripawd cat.

Regarding your concern about the tumor in Izzy’s scapula. This happens quite a bit, and it happened with our Jerry. All worked out fine as far as the surgical process. Does your vet have a concern about it?

The best way you can ease your worries is to make a list of all of your questions for the vet, and take time to meet and go over them. We can help you based on what members have reported here, but it helps to get all of your concerns out in the open with the vet.  

What is your home like as far as other cats? Is Izzy and outdoor cat? Tell us a little more about his environment, and then don’t forget to check out our What to Expect series of articles to put some of your worries to rest.

I hope this helps. Stay tuned for feedback from our amazing community!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 23
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9 March 2020 - 11:30 am
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Thanks for the welcome. 

Fortunately, we don’t have a concern with regards to our Vet Clinic. Over the years, they’ve treated ten of our furbabies, helped us ease eight to the Rainbow Bridge . Now there’s just Izzy and Roo, our wee Siamese.

Izzy has Osteosarcoma.  He’s an indoor kitty, we live in an apartment & there are no stairs. We’re both retired so Izzy would have constant supervision.

The Vet felt that we should have a few days to gather our thoughts all things considered and will be touching base with us in the next day or so and we will go from there.

In the meantime, I figured it would help to read as much as I can about others’ experiences.

Thanks for listening 



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9 March 2020 - 12:47 pm
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Sorry to hear about Izzy’s diagnosis. I remember when the vet recommended an amputation for my cat Mona I went numb. It was assumed she had cancer because the tumour was growing so rapidly. I did no research and only knew I wanted the cancer gone so her leg was amputated the next day. That was 5.5 years ago and she’s now 14 years old.

Osteosarcoma in cats does not seem to be as serious in cats as it is in dogs. Here is a link to the forum on osteosarcoma in cats: https://tripawd…..s/#p182536

You’ll see Fang’s story there. Fang had the amputation at 11 years old and died at 17 from kidney failure. Fang’s family was so grateful that they got an extra 6 years after the amputation.

Izzy is in good health. I know Maine Coons tend to be larger cats. Is 14 pounds okay for him or should he lose some weight if he has an amputation? The vet can let you know. I keep Mona’s weight at around 9 pounds because she has short legs.

Cats are resilient. Mona is a bit of a diva and she has amazed me with her “can do” attitude. 

You can discuss your what-ifs with the vet (i.e. cancer in the other leg). You can also ask about other options such as pain meds, chemotherapy which may stabilize the tumour but not cure Izzy.

All the best,

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

p.s. I love Maine Coons – great personalities

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9 March 2020 - 1:52 pm
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Thank you Kerren, for sharing Mona’s story. When I read that you went numb – that’s exactly how we feel. It helps so much when we know others have felt what we are feeling and have gone through all the questions and thoughts and what ifs.

The Rainbow Bridge



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9 March 2020 - 2:48 pm
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Sounds like Izzy is so well cared for, that the recovery, if you proceed with amputation, will be a bit easier since you’re both home, and you won’t be dealing with stairs.

I’m glad Kerren shared the cats with osteosarcoma link. It’s such a rare cancer in cats! The good news is that it behaves itself much better in cats than it does in dogs.

It’s hard to picture our pets as amputees. But the good news is that they don’t have a problem with losing a leg. It’s always harder on us than it is on them.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia




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9 March 2020 - 5:36 pm
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You’ve  gotten such great jnput from Jerry and Kerren…can only say ditto.

I remember  when I first heard the word “amputation “, I said absolutely  not!  I had not  found this site ( didn’t  find ot til siz days after amp). Anyway, he said for me to at least take to an Orthopedic  Surgeon, do some research, etc

Once her pain got so bad she held up her leg. I knew I had to give her a chance at a quality  painfree life.  Recovery  was rough for a couple of weeks.  But once her sparkle came back, I was so glad I made that decision!  

We are here for you no matter what decision  you make.  Any decision  made out of love is always the right decision ❤

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!

Forum Posts: 23
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9 March 2020 - 7:22 pm
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Our Vet is the one who suggested we check out your community and I’m glad he did. I can’t tell you all how much I appreciate your kind words and input. 

We hope to speak to our Vet tomorrow. There are questions and ifs, as I’ve mentioned (if the cancer has not spread elsewhere, if Izzy’s general health (lungs, heart, kidneys) is good enough to undergo surgery…but as it stands right now we are leaning towards having it done. 

A few days ago we both shook our heads (figuratively) about having a three legged cat. Now, that’s the least of our concerns. Life is sure strange at times.

Thanks for listening sp_hearticon2

Livermore, CA




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9 March 2020 - 7:42 pm
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Hello and welcome. 

Condolences on the loss of your boy Balou.  What a tough day.

My perspective on Tripawds now is hugely different that when I found out that my Pug Maggie needed amputation for a mast cell tumor.  I even adopted a second Tripawd a few years ago!

When my vet told me Maggie would need to lose a back leg to save her life I was devastated.  I don’t remember even seeing a three legged dog before! It seemed so extreme- how would she walk?  Could she live a happy life?  Mag was diagnosed before Tripawds was here so we went it alone.  I took a leap- and doubted myself for weeks!  Maggie recovered well physically but spent 6 weeks in bed after surgery.  I was sure I had made a mistake.  But she had always been stubborn- she got used to her new normal on her own time schedule and then hopped happily though life for almost 4 years.

I would suggest you write all your questions down- no question is dumb! Do your research and decide what the best path forward is for you and Izzy.  We will support you on this journey no matter what treatment you decide to pursue.

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

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13 March 2020 - 11:41 am
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Thanks again for all your kind thoughts and positive words.

The initial shock has worn off. Izzy is in good health otherwise. He’s quite active, in fact it’s difficult to stop him from jumping on and off things. We try to put him down on the floor when it looks like he wants to jump – but you know cats.

We have a surgery date. May 6.  If by chance an earlier time comes up we’ll be there. May 6 seems so far away. But we can only take this day to day. We have a call in to Vet to discuss what we can do for Izzy in the meantime. 

Just wanted to post a wee Izzy update and again say thank you.

The Rainbow Bridge



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13 March 2020 - 2:17 pm
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Animals are so good at living life to the max! Glad to hear he’s doing well and getting along.

I’m glad you’re on a waiting list for an earlier surgery date. Osteosarcoma can move quickly in many animals. We will keep our paws crossed that it doesn’t for Izzy.

You are so welcome and thanks for letting us know how things are going. Write with any questions, we’ll try to answer them.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Forum Posts: 23
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13 March 2020 - 3:39 pm
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We spoke to our Vet and he has moved Izzy’s surgery up to March 17 and he’s prescribed Gabapentin so that we can get Izzy on pain medication as soon as possible.

I’m sitting here trying to put into words what we (Izzy’s humans) are feeling right now. And I can’t. Fear, anxiety, worry, they’re all there. Not to mention the gut punch we haven’t recovered from when we first heard it was Osteosarcoma.

Close behind the fear, anxiety and worry is doubt – are we doing what’s best for Izzy? Then I watch him limp down the hall and think “yes”, we’re doing the best we can for him.

My heart goes out to everyone here – either you’re going through this or you’ve gone through it. Hugs to all of you.

Here and Now


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13 March 2020 - 4:22 pm
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tajb said
Close behind the fear, anxiety and worry is doubt… 

We get it. Everyone here does. sp_hearticon2

The FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) – and how to cope with it – play a major role in our book, Be More Dog (a good read for all animal lovers).

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17 March 2020 - 4:49 pm
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Just wanted to post an Izzy update.

Izzy had his surgery today. His entire left leg and scapula, along with some of the surrounding tissue. Surgery went very well with no complications. According to the vet report he was given multiple pain medications and an anti-inflammatory (I imagine that’s the norm with this sort of surgery)

We brought Izzy home about an hour ago and he’s currently resting in his bed which we put in a medium size dog crate. He seems quite stoned but happy to be home. 

Seeing his little furry face looking at me as I write this, I’m glad we chose to give him this chance for a longer life. The days ahead should be interesting (and challenging for both him and us) and I’m thankful I have all the info here to refer to.

Thanks for listening

Virginia




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17 March 2020 - 5:34 pm
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WELCOME HOME IZZY!!  SURGERY IS DONE!!  YAY!!

Stay connected and let us know how things are going okay?  Coming home the same day as surgery often is a little bit scary for the humans. Izzy will be shaking off the anesthesia and coming off of some heavy-duty Hospital meds for the next 24 hours. So right now resting and being conked out is good!  Try and get rest yourselves while he’s sleeping.  

What pain meds did they send you home with? It can be a bit frustrating  sometimes  tweaking  the pain meds just right….and sometimes  it’s not too hard.  Every cat is different, every recovery is different..

Glad Izzy was able to get in sooner.  Izzy will get thru recovery and be Izzy again in no time!  

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

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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