After Amputation Advice

Amy BAmy B KershawMember Posts: 3,254
edited 11 February, 2010 in Cat Health
My little one, Gaia, is going to be having her left front leg amputated soon. This is a decision both her vet and I have made after months of trying to get it to heal. She has lived in a cage for most of her six months and enough is enough. This is not a debate on whether or not she should keep the leg. I\'ve seen several three-legged kitties here, but most are missing a back leg. I\'m seeking advice on a front one being gone. Do I need to worry about her jumping from any heights with only the one leg to land on? What about right after the surgery... she\'ll have a collar, but what about her scratching with the hind leg? Should I ask about having that one wrapped with soft bandages or will they do that any way? I know she\'ll adjust fine as she cannot use the leg as is anyway so she\'s never known what it is to walk on all fours. I know she may take tumbles, but I\'m sure she\'ll be running just fine too... it\'s the jumping that worries me. The next one up from her, Lilly, has already taught my others to get up on things they\'d never attempted before so I worry she\'ll teach Gaia too. My fears are that with only one leg to land on, she could injure it easily. The first two or three days after she comes home (will overnight at the office) she\'ll have someone with her almost constantly. I know the vet will give me advice on what to watch for, but are there any with experience who can tell me what a vet may not? Or give advice/suggestions I should know? I\'m on all new territory with this. First baby I\'ve gotten... first major injury I\'ve had to deal with... first major surgery...

Comments

  • Barbara HansonBarbara Hanson Member Posts: 1,232
    edited 25 January, 2010
    Hi Gaia\'s mommy...we noticed there is a group on Catster called tri-pods rule... group/Tripods_rule-7731 We bet they\'ll have good advice fur you!
  • Amy BAmy B KershawMember Posts: 3,254
    edited 25 January, 2010
    Thanks Miss Daisy!! Gaia's sent an invite request!! Her surgery is now scheduled. It will be February 2. Fingers and paws crossed all goes well!! :) Amy (mama)
  • Cass DoolittleCass Doolittle FlandersMember Posts: 341
    edited 25 January, 2010
    I had a sister once who could not use her left front leg. It wasn\'t amputated, but it was frozen in a half-up position. She was a stray who showed up at our house when we had the farm. Obviously a pet, \' cause she wasn\'t afraid of us at all and had been spayed. But she\'d been in an accident, which you could tell because of her leg, which was healed but wouldn\'t straighten out, and her tail, which was mashed flat like a beaver\'s. And she was skinny and flea-ridden, which Mom took care of. Her name was Gimpy (OK, not very PC, but she didn\'t seem to mind), and she was such a love. Never had any trouble getting around on three legs. Could even catch mice. She did, however, develop a hernia, which the vet thought was because she got overweight and the weight was not being evenly distributed on four legs. Whatever. Never knew how old Gimpy was, but the vet said very old. She stayed with us for four years before crossing the bridge. Gaia, sweet baby, is young. If Gimpy could adapt, I\'m sure she will! You never miss what you never had.
  • Cass DoolittleCass Doolittle FlandersMember Posts: 341
    edited 25 January, 2010
    Forgot to mention the jumping. Gimpy had no trouble getting up on the bed or down from it, or navigating any similar distances, like up on a chair or down from the porch. She didn\'t attempt anything much more ambitious than that, but as I said, she was an olde furt.
  • Cass DoolittleCass Doolittle FlandersMember Posts: 341
    edited 25 January, 2010
    Forgot to mention the jumping. Gimpy had no trouble getting up on the bed or down from it, or navigating any similar distances, like up on a chair or down from the porch. She didn\'t attempt anything much more ambitious than that, but as I said, she was an olde furt.
  • Carol GordonCarol Gordon Member Posts: 10
    edited 27 January, 2010
    My husband works for a vet and we took on a feral who needed to have a hind leg amputated. A year later, he is very cuddly and FLIES around the house. He gets into places where none of our other cats have ever gotten, climbing onto shelves, running across pipes. So when our 12 year old cat was diagnosed with bone cancer in a front leg and needed amputation, we knew what to expect. It\'s been about 9 months and she is as good as ever - running and jumping up and down. In the long run, it won\'t make much difference at all. BUT - you need to be very careful with your cat for a couple of weeks after the amputation. They don\'t understand that they don\'t have four legs and can really get hurt. Crate your cat in a solid plastic dog crate, rather than a cage. Our cat tried to jump up and grab the top of the cage and got stuck on one of the rungs of the cage. If we hadn\'t been there when it happened, she couldn\'t have released herself. And only allow her to start off walking in a room with no place to jump up to. Jumping down is the toughest for them to adapt to but our cat is totally fine now. Take it really slow with your cat and it will be fine. Really.
  • Susan WolfeSusan Wolfe Member Posts: 236
    edited 27 January, 2010
    One of my cats had a front leg amputated. He was jumping on waist high tables within a week.
  • Amy BAmy B KershawMember Posts: 3,254
    edited 29 January, 2010
    Gaia\'s never had four legs to use with that front one being locked in place against her chest and she\'s been confined almost all her life so I\'m hoping she won\'t know to start with she can jump high... lol! She\'ll be confined to the bathroom after surgery. The highest thing she could get on is the toilet, but she may not know she can get up there as she never has before. She\'s got a kennel cage, but with the collar she\'ll have after surgery, I don\'t think there will be enough room. Thank you all for the stories of kitties who\'ve done well after surgery like this. I can\'t wait for her to be well so she can really run and romp with her sisters! She\'s met them all and wants to play with them even if they aren\'t too sure of her. ;)
  • kristina bkristina b Member Posts: 169
    edited 31 January, 2010
    Purrs to her, on Tuesday and after. Keep us posted how she's doing!
  • Carol GordonCarol Gordon Member Posts: 10
    edited 31 January, 2010
    After amputation, our cat only wore a collar for the first two days. It got in the way too much so we switched off between a newborn onesie and a small dog sweater. If you find the right combination, it's tight enough so that they can't get at the incision but not so cumbersome. Best wishes.
  • Annalisa Conserti-JonesAnnalisa Conserti-Jones Member Posts: 5,234
    edited 1 February, 2010
    I'm sad to hear that she has to become a tripod, but as you well know, the quality of life for tripods is usually pretty close to normal, and I'm sure she can't wait to be able to play with her sisters after all! I'll be purring for Gaia Rose!
  • Renee RyzRenee Ryz Member Posts: 2,164
    edited 1 February, 2010
    Sending purrs for your surgery tomorrow :^:
  • Barbara HansonBarbara Hanson Member Posts: 1,232
    edited 1 February, 2010
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  • Amy BAmy B KershawMember Posts: 3,254
    edited 3 February, 2010
    She's home and doing well! The collar is small and she's learning to maneuver well. She's gotten her mouth caught under the edge of it once. I'm home until Saturday so I'll be watching in case it happens again. She was trying to bite me when she did it so hopefully it won't happen when she's on her own. If it does, she'll stay with my sister for the weekend so someone will be there to watch her. The treatment is compresses twice a day and a 50/50 peroxide/water mix once a day to keep it clean. Then she'll have the stitches out in two weeks. She's got pain medicine for three days and they said she shouldn't need it past that. They did say she going to bruise up pretty bad. I didn't expect the incision to be almost 6 inches, but I knew the bad skin would have to be removed with the leg... just didn't realize how they'd have to do it to remove that skin. She's happy and purring and curled up on a Cat in the Clover bed resting well and comfy!
  • Annalisa Conserti-JonesAnnalisa Conserti-Jones Member Posts: 5,234
    edited 6 February, 2010
    How's Gaia doing?
  • Amy BAmy B KershawMember Posts: 3,254
    edited 11 February, 2010
    Sorry it's taken me so long to reply. Gaia's doing excellent! Her stitches come out next week. She's perky and playful and, finally, seems to be a normal kitten! She's played a bit with Lilly and explored some. I put her on a leash so she can't run or get into anything in here and she just loves it! Thanks so much all!! ~Amy
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