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My beloved cat needs amputation and I'd appreciate guidance
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10 October 2018 - 7:26 am
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Sky Blue, my rescued 13 yr old Angora cat, has had a limp for a couple months. The process of diagnosis has been slow. But Sunday I found out that he has cancer in his right rear leg and amputation is recommended. I am scared. 

First of all, everyone who knows him agrees he is the sweetest, most special cat they have ever met. When I met him at the shelter (where he had been for 6 months) he kissed my nose and that was that. We have been together for over 12 blissful years. I never ever take him for granted  – he is a gift. 

But circumstances have made this decision difficult. I am now ‘retired’. Although that word implies ‘comfortable’. That would not be accurate. I am surviving on social security and supplementing with depleting savings. So every dollar I spend in a dollar that isn’t coming back. I have 2 other rescue cats and a rescue dog who I have to make sure I can care for. Am trying hard to generate income but it’s not easy. 

Having said all that, my role as loving pet owner is my most important.  Sky is on pain meds but mostly seems happy and wants to be here. I have lost 7 pets in recent years so I know when they are done. He is not. My veterinarian, who is like a sister to me, believes amputation is the best option both to possibly stem spread of cancer but also palliative.  We can’t do a biopsy as it’s so invasive and expensive that we might as well amputate and do biopsy after the fact. 

Cutting off a leg from my perfect cat is disturbing to me. I know I need to get over that if it’s in his best interests. And that leg is no longer as perfect as the rest of him.  If any of you can help give me perspective I’d so greatly appreciate it! I’m on my own and need your wisdom. Also, if you have any advice about financial assistance, i would be most grateful. Thanks so much for myself and Sky heart

The Rainbow Bridge

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10 October 2018 - 8:15 am
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Hi Rebecca and Sky, welcome. We are so glad you decided to join, because you are most definitely not on your own anymore. We are here to help you through this process. Know that whatever you decide is something we will support 100%.

So it sounds like Sky is a great candidate for amputation surgery, which is fantastic. It’s so nice you and your vet have such a good relationship. Will she be the one doing the amputation surgery? If so, would she be willing to help you with the cost via a payment plan? We also have the Tripawds Foundation ASAP Fund, which can chip in $500 toward the cost of surgery for income-qualified applicants.

As you struggle with the decision, keep in mind that when an animal shows pain through a limp, they are in tremendous pain. Animals will do anything to hide that they hurt, so it’s important to make the decision as quickly as you can. Yes, that is a bad leg that serves no purpose at this point, and as we like to say here, you aren’t getting rid of the leg, you are getting rid of the pain. Any quality time you have together after that is icing on the cake. Remember that none of us know how long we have on this earth, with or without cancer.

If you read through our TriKitty blog posts, you’ll see lots of great examples of cats living happy lives on three legs. You will be amazed at how well they do! Even better than dogs!

I’m going to step aside now and let others chime in, but don’t hesitate to ask any questions you’d like OK? 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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10 October 2018 - 11:00 am
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Thanks so much for your gracious welcome, Jerry! I’m so happy to have found you and look forward to learning from everyone here. 

It won’t be my vet doing the surgery as she is a mobile vet and doesn’t have a clinic. However, she is actively engaged in this process researching surgeons, doing labwork, providing as much support as possible including keeping him at home with her the night after surgery (I didn’t know that when pets are hospitalized overnight at regular clinics no one is there!). 

I would very much appreciate the Tripawd financial assistance and will put that in motion today. His date hasn’t been scheduled yet – does the application have to be done after the surgery is performed? it would ease my mind to know that there is $500 I don’t have to worry about in advance of the surgery which my vet hopes will happen in the next 2 weeks. 

Obviously the procedure and recovery process are concerns but I will study the posts here and I’m sure many questions will be answered. Sky is curled up against me as I type this happily grooming himself. I just love this guy!!!

Thank you!

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10 October 2018 - 11:10 am
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rebeccac said
Tripawd financial assistance…does the application have to be done after the surgery is performed? 

The Tripawds ASAP Fund is an income-qualified reimbursement program. The application must be submitted after the amputation, along with the final surgery receipt and all financial documentation. Please read complete details here.

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10 October 2018 - 11:53 am
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Thanks for the clarification! I will read the details. Wonderful that you do that clap

Michigan
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14 October 2018 - 7:57 am
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Hello and Welcome to you and SkyBlue,

We are sorry you have to join us and are dealing with cancer and amputation. Did they do an x-ray to suspect a particular type of cancer? How did they conclude it was cancer? If by chance you are dealing with a VAS you can get the vet to file a claim to reimburse you for some of the costs. I’m not sure on how much.

We all understand how devastating this is when we get a cancer diagnosis and then the next bomb that we have to take the leg off. By getting rid of the leg you are Getting rid of the pain, you are choosing a pain-free quality of life. Cats do amazingly well on three legs. Purrkins is a front leg amputee he lost his leg to a soft tissue sarcoma 2 years ago, and he gets around better then we could have imagined! He does everything on 3 legs that he did on 4. We have modified the house by adding stairs and cutting out his litter box. You can read about his journey on three on his blog
Purrkins blog.

We also understand the costs when looking for a vet to do the amputation. Please compare all the factors on the costs and why one quote maybe less. Having your vet take care of Sky 24-7 after the surgery is one way you will save on costs.

Have you seen our forum Three Legged Cats?

Three Legged Cats

We also have a forum on rear leg amputee kitty blogs.

Rear Leg Amputee Kitty Blogs

Here are some great posts to read.

Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Amputation Surgery for Dogs and Cats (Part 1)

Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Amputation Surgery for Dogs and Cats (Part 2)

Recovery is not easy but with the proper pain meds and duration of meds that makes all the difference. Do not let them send you home with only three days worth of meds. The first day was the hardest for me when Purrkins came home, and he stayed at the hospital 3 nights. There is a relearning process. After the stitches or staples come out and off the pain meds, you will see you Sky is the same kitty on three legs. She is a little older, and we have had older kitties go thru amputation, and sometimes they take a little longer in recovery not always.

You know Sky best she is not ready to go anywhere and is healthy and a candidate for amputation she will hop on with your help and positive attitude. You have to bury your fears in front of Sky for her best interest or she will pick up on those.

Do you have any questions for us we can try to set your mind at ease?
Hugs & Scratches to Sky, please

Holly & Purrkinsheart

The Rainbow Bridge

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14 October 2018 - 8:39 am
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Holly thank you so much for sharing so much wisdom and our resources!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia
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14 October 2018 - 7:14 pm
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As you can see, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! 

Just want to add to the welcome of Sky Blue and sending best wishes to you both.  Your love comes shining through. ❤

Holly and Jerry gave you great links and advice.   Whatever you decide  to do, we are here to support  you in anyway we can.

STAY connected  and let us know how we can help, okay?

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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15 October 2018 - 12:47 pm
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Thank you Holly and Purrkins for your warm welcome! Sorry about delay in response – I was locked out and finally reset my password. So much on my mind. 

To answer your question about how do they know, they don’t know 100% that it is cancer. My vet did a full body set of radiographs as Sky also has IBD and she wanted to see his internal organs. She initially thought everything looked OK but the joint in his leg was obviously eroded badly. However, she sent the images to a board-certified radiologist and he came back with suspected sarcoma of some kind.  The only way to know definitively is to do biopsy but they need to do anesthesia and take such a big chunk of tissue that she said amputation was wiser. She said that 90% chance it is cancer however it would likely be locally invasive. So much I don’t know. But the leg has been very painful and at one point he was walking on the tip of his toes. He’s been on buprenorphrine for pain for a few weeks and is much more comfortable and content. 

I have plenty of pain meds here already. My vet gave us a donated bottle and we already had a full one so no worries there. She loves Sky and will be caring for him at her home the night after surgery. We are LUCKY!!!

He is such an easy cat. I hope that means he won’t be overly distressed by his new circumstances. I have 2 other cats and either of them would be more of a handful. Still I worry…

I’m on my own as I lost my husband to cancer. I survived breast cancer 5 years ago. You can imagine how I feel about cancer.

And I’m squeamish so I worry about my own reaction to the surgery. I don’t want to cause him to feel worse.  I also am not sure where to care for him in my home as I have stairs. But he loves to hang out with me and in my closet has become a favorite place. I’m relieved that he won’t need to wear a cone. 

Oh my vet is sure it’s not vaccine related due to where in the leg it is. At least not a vaccine that she administered. He was 6 when she started caring for him. And we do use the safer type vaccines.

Thanks again for being here!!! It says this is my first post and has to be moderated – I guess since I reset my password. Anyway, I appreciate your support ever so much!!!

Rebecca and Sky xxxxx

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15 October 2018 - 12:49 pm
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Just wanted to thank you, Sally for your message and offer of assistance!! It is most appreciated. I’m sure I’ll be back with questions. The surgery is scheduled for this Friday. what-ever

Rebecca & Sky heart

Michigan
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15 October 2018 - 4:16 pm
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rebeccac said
Thank you Holly and Purrkins for your warm welcome! Sorry about delay in response – I was locked out and finally reset my password. So much on my mind. 

We understand!! 

I’m sorry you got locked out & glad you got back in to reset your password.

To answer your question about how do they know, they don’t know 100% that it is cancer. My vet did a full body set of radiographs as Sky also has IBD and she wanted to see his internal organs. She initially thought everything looked OK but the joint in his leg was obviously eroded badly. However, she sent the images to a board-certified radiologist and he came back with suspected sarcoma of some kind.  The only way to know definitively is to do biopsy but they need to do anesthesia and take such a big chunk of tissue that she said amputation was wiser. She said that 90% chance it is cancer however it would likely be locally invasive. So much I don’t know. But the leg has been very painful and at one point he was walking on the tip of his toes. He’s been on buprenorphrine for pain for a few weeks and is much more comfortable and content. 

I have plenty of pain meds here already. My vet gave us a donated bottle and we already had a full one so no worries there. She loves Sky and will be caring for him at her home the night after surgery. We are LUCKY!!

Thank you for the explanation. I am glad Sky is more comfortable on the meds and, fantastic you have extra meds going into this. Please take a listen to this great podcast or read on pain management in cats,

Tripawd Cats Pain Management Tips and Tricks

It would be best to have more than one type of pain relief.  The pain will be different when taking off a limb.

Purrkins was on Fentanyl in the hospital and not sure what else. We came home with Buprenorphine and Gabapentin. It seems all vets differ on what is sent home. You are very fortunate to have your vet take Sky home and she can ensure Sky stays pain-free.

He is such an easy cat. I hope that means he won’t be overly distressed by his new circumstances. I have 2 other cats and either of them would be more of a handful. Still I worry…

Worry is normal!!

We all do things differently here when it comes to multi-cat homes I separated Purrkins and his brother and allowed supervised visits just to make sure they did ok. Here is a post with all our experiences and what members did.

I’m on my own as I lost my husband to cancer. I survived breast cancer 5 years ago. You can imagine how I feel about cancer.

We feel the same way about cancer here. We are so sorry you lost your husband to this disease!

And I’m squeamish so I worry about my own reaction to the surgery. I don’t want to cause him to feel worse.  I also am not sure where to care for him in my home as I have stairs. But he loves to hang out with me and in my closet has become a favorite place. I’m relieved that he won’t need to wear a cone. 

Take a look at the photo gallery before surgery so you will be prepared for the incision. I was surprised with Purrkins incision it looked better then I expected it too. 

You will need to ensure Sky does not get to the incision. Purrkins was able to wear a baby onesie instead of the cone to cover his incision front leg amp. I only know of one person who got away with no cone/no onesie without incident. They can make short work of those stitches or staples and you don’t want that to happen and end up back in for repair and or get an infection. Hopefully, Sky can be the second kitty to get away with it but I would not bank on it.

Purrkins recovered in a closet he chose in a spare room we set up for recovery we took all the furniture out and put the mattress on the floor.  Most cats want to hide when they come home. If there is a bed in the vicinity be prepared Sky will head under the bed that is why we put ours on the floor no way to get under the bed. You can try blocking it off we have not heard much luck with that route. When there is a will there is a way.

We had restricted activity for 2 weeks until Purrkins stitches were out we stayed in the spare room.

Oh my vet is sure it’s not vaccine related due to where in the leg it is. At least not a vaccine that she administered. He was 6 when she started caring for him. And we do use the safer type vaccines.

Glad to hear it’s not a VAS & great you found someone to do the surgery and scheduled for Friday. Remember your doing this for Sky not to him!! 

Scratches to Sky please,

Holly & Purrkinsheart

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15 October 2018 - 6:23 pm
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Thanks so much Holly and Purrkins! 

There is nothing that helps like the voices of experience.  I just sent an email to my vet about pain meds. She is very proactive about palliative care so I’m pretty confident that he will be covered in that regard. But I’m checking anyway. Not sure what the surgeon will prescribe but as Sky is going directly from hospital to my vet’s house she will give him whatever he needs. 

I will look at the photo gallery when I’m feeling a bit more stable. I tried a minute ago and couldn’t. I’m a big baby.

I’m having a sinking spell so will sign off for now. But I do appreciate your advice that I’m not doing this TO Sky but FOR him. 

Thanks so much- I’ll be back.

Rebecca and Sky

Virginia
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15 October 2018 - 9:04 pm
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SINKING?????   Did you say you were SINKING???   

Others bedore you have felt like they were “sinking” in the sea of fear and uncertainty. The thing is, you and Sky are family now.  And we have an avundance of special TRIPAWD LIFE PRESERVERS for “newbies” who feel like they are drifting out to sea and sinking.  Oh yes we do!!

So get ready.  We are going to throw it to you and pull you safely to shore and wrap you up in our cusrom designed security blanket made just for you and Sky😎

20181015_215915.pngImage Enlarger

On the count of three…one…two…three! CATCH!!!    EXCELLENT!!  GOOD CATCH!!  You two are safe now!!   

And as a follow-up aupport system  for those who have gone through the “sinking phase”, we have the TRIPAWD HELPLINE.  It’s  a toll free number staffed by tripawd members who understand  and are here to help in any way you need us.

1 844 TRIPAWD

Continue  to stay connected and know that we are here for you and Sky. TOGETHER !!!!❤    You have a team now! TEAM SKY 😙

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!

The Rainbow Bridge

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15 October 2018 - 9:23 pm
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Pawesome advice and wisdom Sally, thank you.

Rebecca, you are most definitely not alone and we are all your flotation device. Hang in there and keep us posted.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Michigan
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16 October 2018 - 7:03 am
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Sinking spell? Nooooo sinking allowed! I wanted you to try to look at the incision to help get over the scared of before Sky comes home not to have you sink! So sorry that was not my intention. I know it isn’t easy, but it is a way to prepare beforehand the best you can. I think you will do better when you see Sky I know I did with Purrkins.

Ditto, Sally and Jerry, we will keep you afloat no sinking ok! What we can tell you is you are stronger than you realize!! This journey alone will prove that to you! We all know it’s terrifying we are all on the other side of this. You also have a Vet that will be right by your side thru this too! That is HUGE

We are here to help you and Sky thru this you are NOT ALONE! We will not allow you to state that one more time ok?

Fantastic you emailed the vet!!
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Holly & Purrkins❤️

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