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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Member Since:
6 March 2024
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5 March 2024 - 11:54 pm
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Hi all,

My cats just had a rear left leg amputation just 2 weeks ago. He's off medication now and started showing pain in the affected area.

He has what I believe is a muscle spasm near the wound which causes him to walk backwards - bum in air sometimes jumping onto front 2 legs only whilst yelping.

I am correct in saying this is muscle spasm? What can I do to help him?



The Rainbow Bridge

Member Since:
25 April 2007
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6 March 2024 - 8:14 am
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Hi Josh,

Welcome. Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away.

What you are describing sounds a lot like the "Cats walking backward after amputation surgery" phenomena. It happens more than most vets think, we just tend to see it a quite often here because we have such a concentration of animal amputees joining us. It's a type of unaddressed pain, probably phantom pain , which is when the severed nerves have a miscommunication signal with the brain, trying to tell it to move the leg when it actually isn't there anymore. It happens in humans, and dogs, and cats, who tend to express differently than dogs do, like what you are describing. The good news is that it usually subsides in time and medication and rehab can help control it faster.

This article will lead you to some information you can talk to about with your vet. These Forums search results show that it happens to others, too. My suggestion is to call your vet, describe the symptoms and how often they happen, and request that your cat be put back on Gabapentin (or Pregabalin, which tends to be more accurately responsive to pain), for at least 2 weeks.

Also, please consider taking advantage of our Tripawds Rehabilitation Therapy program which can pay for your first rehab visit . These experts are great at pinpointing the source of uncontrolled pain and their therapy is often needed in addition to pain medication to control the pain faster.

Keep us posted!

Member Since:
6 April 2024
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11 April 2024 - 7:26 pm
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Hi Josh,

I am experiencing the same thing with my kitty cat. It's so nice to know I'm not alone as I've been feeling really discouraged at times. After showing my vet the videos of this 'backwards walking' she was not concerned and just thinks it is the cat trying to learn new stabilization (my cat doesn't seem to be in pain when this happens, just confusion/frustration). We put her back on Gabapentin for the time being, just a reduced amount (about 50-70mg instead of 100mg). The 'backwards walking' has continued but, like I said, no evidence of pain and I think the Gabapentin helps her stay calm and relaxed through these episodes. She seems to try to just lay or sit down until the sensation passes, then she walks pretty normally (well, new normally).

Please give an update on how your cat is doing! It would be great to hear from someone who is on a similar timeline as me.



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