Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat
Tripawds is your home 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.
Hi. My name is Michelle and I am new here. I have a few questions that I would love an opinion about from someone who knows what I am going through. I picked up a cat from a gas station last weekend. She was part of a feral colony, but really sweet and "volunteered" to jump in the car, lol. She had a dangling foot that I suspected wasn't salvageable. I could not just leave her there without care.
She saw my vet the next day. He took one xray and said she needed an amputation. I am almost certain he is correct. Her tib/fib is severed midshaft and the ends are far apart. Her leg is free floating below the fracture and spins/flops when she walk. But she was able to guard it at the time and seemed to be in little pain. He thinks she was hit by a car several weeks ago (also has skin abrasions, broken teeth, etc.). She is 4.5 pounds and they guess 5 months old.
She stayed with my son for 3 days due to a Vegas trip we had planned for months. When I picked her up last night, she seems to be in a LOT more pain. She is biting and licking the leg often, has periods of activity followed by 6-12 hours of hiding and immobility, and her limp has increased by 100%. The leg also flops more when she walks. Seems to be attached by only skin. The severed bone hasn't popped the skin, but looks close.
So.... I need to do something tomorrow! My vet has a traveling vet covering his practice. I met him once and did not feel confident in his abilities. Of course that was only one meeting. I can take him to the vet hospital at Texas A&M. I have had mixed experiences there. They have the best imaging and vets in the state. But if it is not severe enough to interest the experienced vets, you get a student and a brush off. No idea where this fits on the spectrum. I can take her to Houston for a feline only vet consult. But likely would have to get on their schedule, which may not result in sx before Dec. 11 anyway.
I am not sure how much experience a general vet has in amputation. I really don't question that it needs to be done, but I want it to be done right to reduce residual limb pain and other complications. I also want to be sure her pelvis and other bones are ok. I see a few feline prostheses, but assume they are not for most cats? She has good hip muscle function. I would like her to retain as much stump as functional for scratching and balance. Can a general vet be proficient in ensuring all of these goals?
Sorry to be so long winded. I just feel like I am out of my league, but she is in pain and I do not have the luxury of time. But, she is 5 months old. I do not want to make a mistake that haunts her for her entire life. Any thoughts or advice would be really appreciated.
25 April 2007
Hi Michelle, welcome. Your future posts won't need approval so post away.
Sorry I missed you on the Helpline. I texted you but didn't hear back.
Im sorry to be so brief but I'll be back tomorrow. I do recommend getting this taken care of asap. All vets are trained in amputation and as you know some do more than others. Since she is in a lot of pain there's a danger of her chewing her leg off or trying to (happens all the time). I wouldn't wait much longer, even an ER clinic would be better than waiting.
Texas A&M is a pretty awesome school (our Wyatt Ray was treated there) and I have tons of confidence in them. If you can get in quickly that would be a good choice. If not a clinic with overnight care (actual staff who will be there checking throughout the night) is your best bet for safety and comfort as well as pain management .
Back tomorrow with more tips. Stay tuned for feedback from others too.