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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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Feeling lost. Amputation on very old cat?
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Member Since:
18 July 2015
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18 July 2015 - 3:08 pm
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My cat has a cancerous tumor on her front leg.  In February, the vet predicted it would get worse quickly and she had only about 3 months to live.  Here we are 5 months later and she's really doing very well.  In all areas that are not her tumorous limb, she's actually improved.  She's well hydrated, eating well, plays with toys, just as social as ever.

For this reason, we are now considering going forward with amputation.  We really don't like the idea of putting her to sleep when she's still 100% herself and the only thing wrong with her is we can no longer care for her leg properly.  The vet ran blood work and is pleased with the results.  Her kidney values have remained the same in the past 5 months or maybe improved slightly, so the vet is willing to support us in our interest in amputation.

The major concern is that my cat is 20 years old.  I'm really struggling with what to do.  Her favorite things in life are constant snuggles and sleeping on her humans' laps, so I don't think losing a limb would impede that lifestyle much.  And like I said before, she's really very very healthy, especially for her age.

I'm feeling very lost right now.  So far, I haven't found any stories of this type of life altering surgery being done on an animal that's so old.  I don't know what the right decision is.

The vet we are seeing a specialty vet with all the certifications and has done amputations on some of the pets I've seen on this forum, so I think they can do a good job.

On The Road


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18 July 2015 - 3:32 pm
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Welcome, your future forum posts will not require moderation.

20 Years!? oh-myHow fortunate you are and how lucky she is to have you. What's her name?

You'll likely hear from others soon. In the mean time, be sure to check out all the tri-kitty bloggers and reach out to them for more feline feedback. Or, you can always call the Tripawds toll-free Helpline.

Best wishes, please keep us posted!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
18 July 2015
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18 July 2015 - 3:36 pm
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Thanks for your reply!  Her name is Mia, and I'm very happy to have had so much time with her 🙂

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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18 July 2015 - 9:57 pm
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TWENTY YEARS OLD???? Did I read that right? TWENTY YEARS OLD? Holy Cat! That's astounding!!!

How wonderful to be able to have a beloved ani.al family member in your life for twenty years! The memories that you have over this time span must be magical! And you're still making more delightful memories!

Whatever decision you make out of love for Mia and in Mia's best interest is the right decision. Her leg isn't causing her in real pain and she's enjoying her "seniorhood". Clearly Mia has no time frame stamped on her butt! She's already proven that!

It IS major surgery and is not without risks, like any surgery. I'm no vet, but I wonder if a cat that old would have a very hard time trying to figure out how to adjust to walking on three legs. And I woukd be concerned about any possible ramifications from surgery on a cat that old.

Geez...this is such a personal decision. And age, in my opinion, is a major factor. Knowing that Mia is a "statistical marvel" already and knowing that none of us can battle age but for so long.....a real dilemma....ugh!

I know you want this chapter of her life to be as enjoyable as possible, as pain free as possible with very little prodding and probing at a vet's office and not scary or uncertain for her.

Just know whatever decision you make, we are absolutely here to support you. In the mea time, stay in the moment with Mia and let nothing rob you of your time together! Mia isn't worried about a thing! She just wants to be on your lap getting snuggles!

((((((((((((((((((((((((((((Hugs)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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!



Member Since:
27 July 2014
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18 July 2015 - 11:55 pm
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My 8 year old cat had her leg amputated last year due to a fibrosarcoma which is an aggressive cancer where the tumour grows quickly. I recall hearing about a cat whose leg was amputated at 16 years old.

First congratulations for having Mia for so long. That is a major feat and it's great that her health is so good other than the cancerous tumour.

What type of tumour is it?

The things I'd consider before amputation are: How quick the tumour is growing? Is it causing Mia any pain? Amputation makes the pain go away. ( I know it's sometimes hard to tell if they are in pain. My Mona would bunny hop down the stairs but otherwise showed no pain.) Has the cancer spread? Would the amputation eliminate cancer from Mia's body?

Amputation is major surgery but your vet sounds supportive. Sure an amputation will slow a cat down but they don't do a heck of a lot when they get older anyway. Age is just a number. Just like the vet's statistics. My only concern would be recovery from the anesthetic and managing the pain. My kitty Mona went nutty from the meds and was either sleeping or racing around the house. I liked it when she was sleeping best although I did love nursing her.

Good luck in weighing out the pros and cons of your decision. Keep in touch with us.

Kerren and Tripawd Mona

New York, NY
Member Since:
3 December 2012
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20 July 2015 - 2:59 pm
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Wow 20 years young huh?  That is pretty special!

My Jill was 8 at the time she had her rear leg amputated due to bone cancer, but like your kitty, all she does is snuggle...she was never a very active cat.  If your vet thinks she can handle the actual surgery part (the anesthesia, etc.), then I think you she will do pretty well with recovery.  Jill was up and at it after only a few days.  Definitely check out all the blogs, you can see for yourself how well kitties can do on three legs.  

It must be a really hard decision given her age, but I am sure you'll make the right one and we're all here for you!

Erica

Jill is a 9-year-old tuxedo kitty. She was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in June 2012 on her toe in her right hind leg. Her leg was amputated on 12/12/12 and she completed four rounds of chemo (2 of Carbo, 2 of Doxy) in April 2013. "Like" Jill's facebook page: https://www.fac.....tty?ref=hl Proud member of the WINTER WARRIORS!!!! Her blog can be read at http://jillsjou.....ipawds.com. xoxo

Member Since:
18 July 2015
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20 July 2015 - 7:32 pm
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Thanks for the replies and kind words everyone.  We're thinking that we want to go through with the amputation.  We've scheduled an appointment for x-rays and ultrasound to see if the cancer is anywhere else, and if that's clear, the surgery will be a few days later.  I've been trying to do all the research I can, and I'm definitely glad this community exists.

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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20 July 2015 - 8:18 pm
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You are moving forward and I know that has to be a relief!!

Whatever decision you make, you are making out of love. We are here for you and your sweet Mia.

(((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))))

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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!

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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21 July 2015 - 9:13 am
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It's so nice to meet you, I'm sorry it's under these circumstances. But wow you and your kitty are an amazing team. What's your cat's name?

Oh and who is your vet? Do tell! And ask if they'd like any Tripawds Outreach brochures for their clients, we're happy to send them along.

We hope that the next appointment goes great. Let us know OK? We'll be thinking of you.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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28 July 2015 - 11:24 pm
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Update us when you can, okay? Thinking of you.......

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!

Member Since:
18 July 2015
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31 July 2015 - 2:46 pm
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Hi everyone.  Mia had her staging appointment today.  The vet did x-rays and ultrasounds, and the results were very good.  We're moving forward with the surgery which is scheduled for next week.

Is there anything really specific you guys think I should be aware of or that I should do before or after the surgery to make sure her recovery goes smoothly?

Jerry, I forgot to ask them today if they would like brochures, but I will make sure to ask when I take her in for surgery.

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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31 July 2015 - 11:26 pm
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Oh wow what a week ahead! My most specific suggestion is to breathe and remember that our animals reflect our emotions. What you feel, she will tap into so the more positive and optimistic you can be the better she will be because of it.

Thank you for trying to remember to ask about the brochures, I know you have tons on your mind so don't sweat it if you forget, really.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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31 July 2015 - 11:45 pm
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Other kitty owners can chime in on specifics. Just take it very slowly, try and keep her pain managed, and just love on her and let her know you are there. As Jerry said, BREATHE!

I am just amazed...TWENTY YEARS! Wow! What a well loved kitty.

We are all sending positive thoughts for your sweet Mia. For now, STAY IN THE MOMENT WITH MIA. You are together now..make every moment count! She isn't worrying about a thing.

Love,

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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!

Virginia




Member Since:
22 February 2013
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8 August 2015 - 10:11 am
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Update when you can. We are all thinking of you.

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!

Member Since:
18 July 2015
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9 August 2015 - 9:19 am
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Hi everyone.  I'm happy to say that Mia got to come home yesterday afternoon, and it seems like everything is going well.  She's currently laying in a sun spot 🙂

Thanks for all your well wishes and positive thoughts for us 🙂

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