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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22 February 2013
I didn't mean to say that I thought this process is easy for anyone, nor that I expect Harry to be all better within days...just that if I had thought about it before Saturday, which I hadn't really, I would have expected months just to be moving around again. I was shocked when the vet told me most cats are moving around and figuring things out within days and that most heal cleanly and without complication. Of course I know there are exceptions and am a worrier so will assume that my case will be one, but all the cases I've been reading about seem much quicker and easier than I would have thought last week.
That's a great idea to try adding some tuna juice to the drugs, Holly. I will do that next dose, and thanks for the links. I'll be heading there next. I don't thik I could just watch Harry flop around either... I'm a proper cat lady (although Harry is my first and only baby) so I have, naturally, had shirts on Harry before (:P he has a Halloween sweater that his big belly hangs out of and a Christmas jumper that matches one his 'cousin' my sister's bulldog had. Don't judge me, most years I don't make him wear them). It's pretty easy to get them on, but then he just lies there and looks ashamed. So we'll see. I hadn't even thought about exercises..will need to look into that. I have worried about my hardwood floors though...........:s Thankfully, I don't have any stairs, but Harry does get up on furniture and counters (though he's not supposed to do the latter), so I'll need to make some accessability changes. I've already made him steps up to my bed with a box and a chair...but we'll need something more permanent. Don't worry about overloading! I'm so grateful for all of the information. The only thing I'm avoiding at the moment is the 'complications' and loss related threads. I can't bare to go there at the moment.
Kerren, I think I'd be cool with squirming about rather than flopping down...but I suppose you're right and they do learn. I'd hope :s I can't imagine the wound side not hurting after all that cutting........I wonder why my vet goes with tramadol if that's not standard. I guess I'll ask. It does smell painfully bitter, even with the chicken flavouring mixed in. I've got some good kitty wipes for getting it off his fur if he foams, so he doesn't have to walk around miserable smelling like chemicals. He's not a big snuggler, but he likes a good grooming session. We do mostly wet food, so that's good. I've decided to put the weight on the back burner for now....he doesn't need another change right now and just in case the worst happens, I wont have his last week spent in diet mode. Food is his favourite. I still have mixed feelings about sharing at work, but they're mostly not bothered and a colleague brought me flowers today which I didn't have to explain so that was nice. I get a bit self conscious. I know there are people who think it's nuts to get so worked up over an animal, but...oh well. I will definitely take pictures.
Harry is incredible, thanks Sally! 😛 I've set up some cozy hiding spots around the flat for him and he is currently enjoying the front hall closet. It's hard not to dig him out and force him to cuddle, but I need to respect his wishes, lol.
All of your little buddies are gorgeous, btw
27 July 2014
Sorry, I didn't intend to imply that tramadol is not standard. The pain medication the vet chooses may be based on his/her experience and there are pros and cons to every drug. Buprenorphine is a controlled medication and perhaps it's only prescribed post-surgically. It's worth discussing the pain management plan with the vet before the surgery so you are prepared when Harry gets home. I hadn't done that and when I got Mona home and realized it was time for her pain meds I panicked and couldn't figure out how to open the bottle!
Harry sounds like a real character. I'm glad he lets you dress him up in outfits. He's obviously a proper cat for a proper cat lady!
Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona
My quad pug Tani took gabapentin for her arthritis and because she was so small we had to get the med compounded at a vet pharmacy into a liquid since she was too little to take the smallest pill available.
I was chatting with one of the reps once and she told me that because tramadol is so bitter they had developed a 'melt-a-way' tab that was easier to give than the normal pills or liquids.
It might be worth checking into if you continue to have issues with the liquid tram. The pharmacy I used (through my vet) was Roadrunner Pharmacy in Arizona.
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
Thanks. Harry was on some other opioid once, following dental surgery, but I can't remember which. He hated that as well although not as much.
Right now I'm struggling to work out a schedule to get him three doses a day, eight hours apart. I give him one at 7:30 before I leave for work, but it's at least 5 by the time I'm home to give him the second, then I could do 1am but wouldn't be able to give him another dose before work...
I may have to try slipping away at noon and going from there
I'm a bit roller coasty today. At some points I feel more accepting and optimistic than I have yet. At others, panicky. Last night I dreamt that the vet - who was Henry Winkler (my vet isn't even male) took me into a hospital style waiting room and told me Harry had died. lol. Oh my brain.
So I called the vet tonight to ask about after care and pain management . I didn't speak to the vet, but the assistant who answered the phone and was very reassuring ... although I'm aware that's part of her job. She said he'll probably forget he ever had four legs. She told me they'd just done a forelimb amputation on a kitty from the SPCA on Monday who was running around begging for cuddles already. Oh how I hope that's what it's like for my lad. He's being a doofy stoner at the moment, rolling around in luxury on the front door mat. I'm tempted to share his meds.
Oh, that reminds me. I mixed a bit of tuna into his tramadol dose at noon and it went much better. He still made a hilariously human gross out face, but didn't froth and was perfectly willing to have a bite of consilliatory tuna immediately afterwards.
Anyway, vet assistant says they do a lidocaine drip during and it lasts for a while after, and he wont feel anything. Plus they'll probably keep him on metacam and tramadol (or an alternative) for a bit. She was sensitive but also seemed very unconcerned like it's all no big deal and nothng to worry about...which is soothing in a way, but makes me wonder if they are appropriately sensitive to Harry as well...no mention of gapapentin (if that's what the phantom limb pain thing is called??)
She said that they recommend something called vet wrap for hind paws to prevent scratching when you're not there to supervise or if you can't keep him from going at the stubble or stitches. I thought that might be a tip for others who were wondering. It sounds like a medical tape sort of thing.
23 April 2016
I know it is so scary - never fun to put them under anesthesia. But I think he will adapt very, very well. Cats do seem to transition perhaps a bit more smoothly than some dogs.
You should be able to pick up Vet Wrap at Petco or PetSmart or order it off Amazon. Good stuff to have.
There is something called a surgical suit you can buy for your cat to wear....looking for the blog on one kitty who had one.
Here it is - Tia in her Surgical Suit
And yes, Gabapentin is for nerve pain - some vets won't prescribe it unless there seems to be a need post op. Others are more "pro-active" in approach.
Thinking good thoughts for your Harry!
On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly. His canine sister also succumbed to cancer on March 1, 2019 - we lavished her with our love in the interim, but life was never quite the same without her only real canine friend. Cliff kitty had to leave us, too, suddenly, in August 2019. Lucia kitty grieved all these losses, but helped us welcome two new Lurchers into our home and our lives, Shae and Barley.
Thanks 🙂 Just one more day, now. I want to get it over with...but I'm also so worried that something will go wrong/badly. Sigh.
They actually have vet wrap at my vet's. That link just took me to some profiles of cats with VAS but that's ok, I don't think I need to go for a surgical suit.
You can also get the human form of vet wrap at most pharmacy stores- it's called self adhesive wrap or something like that.
It's common to be nervous before a surgery....but I haven't heard of Henry Winkler as the vet before
Sending positive thoughts for a successful surgery.
Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls
Thats sooooo normal to scared & worried! Remember ,Your helping Henry your getting rid of his pain.
Roller coaster ride, it sure is! Your dream with Henry Winkler how was he as a vet lol.
I think that is our subconscious trying to deal and make sense of whats going on. I dreamt about Purrkins before the surgery too. After his surgery I would have nightmares of him being attacked or being injured. Then I had one of my leg being amputated.
You and Henry will get thru this. You will get to the new normal!
I'm glad to here the tuna helped! NO frothing was the goal you masked the bitterness. Might try the sardine also he might do better on one or the other. Do you do ok syringing Henry? I don't know how much juice you added. If your comfortable syringing him you could add a little more. Just be careful not to aspirate him.
I know you said Henry was sleeping in the closet ,he will most likely want to hide afterwards to recover. Can you get to him easily to get him his meds during recovery?
Did they say how long they were keeping Henry? Is he staying or coming home on Friday?
All vets have different protocols with pain management
. You can always ask about gabapentin. There are so many nerves they are cutting off! Gabapentin will help with the nerve pain afterwards.
Lisa was referring to Tia the tripawd kitty in her surgical suit. If you want to look at it. Its a great idea . Its new, I don't know if you have time to get it if you wanted to. Here is the link
I think its a great idea, I hadn't seen or heard of it before Purrkins surgery. I was home during recovery, someone was with him all the time. We set up our spare bedroom room and stayed in there with him .
1 August 2014
Sorry to not have checked in sooner!
Welcome to the family. (((((Hugs))))))
Is surgery today? Read through all the posts but wasn't sure when it was scheduled. He'll be losing a front limb, correct?
So here's a bit of my experience: Smore had her amputation 2 years ago around the same time Mona did and had all the same meds. She had an injury when she found us. I took her to a specialist to try to fix it but they called during surgery to tell me that the nerves were beyond repair. All the vets told me amputation was easy on cats because they respond so well. My mom thought it was akin to a death sentence because we'd never heard of such a thing. So when they told me that. I broke down crying but trusted the vets.
When they called me that night with a check up and told me she had played with some toy mice I thought they were trying to make me feel better. No possible way for that to happen. But they told me that again when I picked her up.
I was SO WORRIED she'd blame me and never want anything to do with me. They said they'd take turns holding her on their lap during meetings, lol. And if she liked the people who actually took her leg, I'd be fine.
Again I didn't believe them, lol. But you know what? They were right.
Smore had the same meds as Mona and basically slept through recovery. I kept her in a large dog kennel with a box and blankets to sleep in and her litterbox and a bowl of water when I wasnt around. She was a 3-4 lb kitten at the time though. She preferred to sleep in my lap. Some cats hide.
She had surgery on Thursday and I have a video of her playing on Sunday like she was born to be on 3 legs. She did face plant in it too. And then went back to playing.
Now she was younger and had a bum leg for who knows how long before surgery, so that helped. However, I've seen the cats here and at Instagram with three legs do just as well.
Harry will be better before you know it!
It's so tempting to help them with everything. I held back and watched Smore as she figured it out because I knew I wouldn't be there all the time. I still say it's harder on us humans to watch it happen to our furbabies.
I didn't see anyone mention it, but don't be alarmed if you see Harry trying to use his missing limb, especially when digging or covering his poop and pee. It's terrifying the first couple of times and I remember feeling so disheartened and upset knowing I'd made the choice to do that to my cat. Unless it's accompanied by twitching or yowling or crying, it seems to be just a normal thing. Smore still does it on occasion when she's covering her stuff in the litterbox and I do sometimes help her out when she can't figure out a right angle I'm the box to get her good leg to cover it.
I find a larger litterbox helps with this because there's more angles and space to move.
We're all here for you. Recovery is a roller coaster of emotions and experiences so wait to judge how he is adjusting and the decision you made until at least 2 weeks post op. Obviously though do feel free to post here if you are worried about anything during recovery! The meds, as I'm sure you've figured out, make them loopy so coordination is off and everything.
Tina and Smore
Tina and Smore
(with the spirit of Pebbles watching from the Rainbow Bridge)
Smore is my tripawd kitty who adopted me one summer evening. She had an injury to her front left leg and had to have her leg removed July 17th. She was only 3 or 4 months old at the time. Now she moves faster than some four legged cats!