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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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15 Year Old Cat w/ a Sarcoma
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Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
25 September 2019
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25 September 2019 - 9:06 pm
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I’m so glad I found this forum. I’ve been an absolute wreck for weeks.

Skipping right to it, Sabre has a soft tissue sarcoma on his back right leg. We’ve biopsied it and it’s necrotic (a pain as the wound still hasn’t healed weeks later and made my apartment look like a crime scene a couple times) however the type is rare and/or slow to metastasize. We did body x-rays and found no lung masses but a mass pressing between his sternum and his heart. The radiologist thinks it’s a benign cyst however he now has a Grade II-III heart murmur he didn’t have even a month or two ago. He’s also been losing weight, so I have been feeding him more. Double the food and he drinks a lot of water and he just barely maintains.

We’re getting bloodwork tomorrow to double check thyroid (and diabetes which I’m worried about given the eating/drinking/weight loss) and a heart blood test…any of which can change the conversation but if it’s all clear, we’re set for amputation surgery the following day.

My issue is … he’s 15. He has some chronic problems but is otherwise alert/attentive, happy, playing, eating, drinking, pooping, cuddling (not particularly in that order). So, I don’t know what to do. I’ve never loved anything as much as I love him and making this decision is tearing me apart. To make it worse, the vet assisting the surgery (not his regular one) called me and talked my ear off about how old he is, and his heart murmur, and that we haven’t done CT imaging so we don’t REALLY know if it spread, and they can die of shock while under, etc etc. I was finally feeling ok-ish about the decision to amputate and she knocked the wind completely out of my sails.

So I want other people’s thoughts. Am I doing the right thing by trying amputation? I never want to impact his quality of life and this is definitely the threshold where I’m on the fence. I personally feel like he still has that spark in him but is it my heart choosing and not my head?

Livermore, CA

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25 September 2019 - 10:27 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

I’m sorry you are dealing with such a tough decision.

Age is just a number that I don’t worry too much about.  The important thing is how otherwise healthy the animal is and will they be able to survive the surgery and recover after with a good life quality.  As far as doing a CT scan to see if the cancer has spread- it’s probably the ‘gold standard’ but it is expensive and from what I’ve seen around this site it is rarely done before amputation.

I don’t know anything about heart murmurers so I can’t speak to that.  The weight loss would concern me, have liver and kidney function been checked? 

Even though he has some health issues it sounds like he has some living still to do. I would want to know more about the mass in his chest and if that is causing the heart issues, and why the weight loss before I went forward with amputation.  In my mind that does not rule out amputation, but without knowing more about the causes is he a good candidate for surgery?  I hope the testing you are doing will give you some answers. 

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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26 September 2019 - 8:55 am
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Karen has some great advice. 

I’m sorry to hear about your cat’s diagnoses and equally sorry that the vet assisting the surgery is such a downer. We have had many senior cats have the amputation and manage well. I realize some may have conditions that may make the surgery riskier. 

Here’s a posting of a 20 year old cat with chronic kidney disease who had an amputation: https://tripawd…..y-old-cat/

I don’t believe age is an issue but chronic conditions may affect how the surgeon would approach the surgery. It would be best for you to talk to your main vet to discuss your concerns and the risks and to help you with your decision.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

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26 September 2019 - 12:03 pm
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His surgery has been cancelled because his bloodwork has shown he’s now anemic and they don’t feel comfortable doing the surgery because they don’t carry blood products for a transfusion. The only vets in Brooklyn that do it want $4500-6000, not including the $3000 CT scan they are trying to push. I can’t afford/don’t feel comfortable spending that much for a surgery that was already a risk so it looks like Sabre won’t be joining the tripawd community. 

Thank you everyone for your support.

Here and Now

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26 September 2019 - 6:41 pm
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morganette said
…it looks like Sabre won’t be joining the tripawd community.

Too late, you will always be a welcome member of this community. Please feel free to reach out for whatever support you need with the difficult decisions you face.

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7 October 2019 - 4:20 pm
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morganette said

…it looks like Sabre won’t be joining the tripawd community.

admin said
Too late, you will always be a welcome member of this community. Please feel free to reach out for whatever support you need with the difficult decisions you face.


Yep… I LOVE that reply.. I am not always that quick on the delivery, lol.  You heard the boss Sabre and family, you are here now so please make yourself comfortable and stay a while. 

This place is not just about the three leggers.. it is a place for people that love their furbabies to get help and support. 

Welcome, and I wish you the best on your journey with Sabre.

Big hugs,

Jackie and Huckleberry sp_hearticon2


Jackie, David, Bo, Andy, Oscar, Angel Mitchell, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry

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