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Spin-off: My kitty is facing hind leg amputation. Experiences, advice, jingles?

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  • Spin-off: My kitty is facing hind leg amputation. Experiences, advice, jingles?

    Hello COTHers,

    This is a spin-off of the other thread I started a little while back about my kitty severing his Achilles tendon on his rear leg. We've gone through several vets who have said that since the tendon is completely severed, there is no chance of it healing on its own.

    As a result, we are faced with the option of $3000 surgery that may or may not work, or amputation. At this point, my family and I are 99% leaning toward amputation, but the final decision and appointment for surgery will be made soon.

    Have any of you been through the experience of an amputation with a pet? I personally never have, and it's a little bit of a traumatic thought. I know they are extremely adaptable and can get around fine on three legs, but will he be able to do all the things he used to do?

    My worst thought is that the poor little fella is going to be trying to do everything he could do before, and might end up trying to jump too high onto things and falling, etc.

    Please share your experiences! I'm pretty nervous for my little orange boy.

  • #2
    We had a cat with a hind leg amputated, and she caught swallows in the barn (before I adopted her and made her a house cat). They adapt really well, and amazingly quickly. She could get on furniture, up and down stairs, take part in the nightly hall races, you name it. Apart from the odd gait you'd never kow she was missing a limb. She did appreciate extra skritches on the missing leg side though, you'd see her tilt her head and the muscles in her rump twitching when she needed a little help with an itch

    Right now I'm fostering a dog who's still healing from a front leg amputation. She gets around just fine, though she's still working out how to hold a bone for gnawing, and how to prop her head up when she lies on that side.

    Don't worry, he'll probably be better off without the leg than with a damaged leg.


    • #3
      I have a tripod kitty. Except for not being able to scratch the left side of her head/left ear, she's fine! Can be a holy terror, racing around the house too!

      Truly, they adapt very quickly and will just need you more to scratch the side where the leg is missing
      <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


      • #4
        My aunt has a tripod cat, front leg is missing though. He's a reformed feral cat that they found with a badly damaged leg that was later amputated. Dude still is able to climb trees and catch birds with only 3 legs. I didn't even notice at first when I first met him, he was just so chill.


        • #5
          Our orange kitty Chris was missing for several days- showed back up with his lower back leg bone sticking through the "hock". Also had the possibility of 150 mile away $2,000 fusing with a 50% (at best) chance of healing properly to be used, an experimental surgery that our vet had never done, or amputation. We chose amputation. The back leg was amputated at the hip bone - be prepared for a large incision. I wasn't - have no idea what I was expecting, but it wsn't that and made me question whether we should have just put him to sleep. SO glad we didn't - he has healed fine, is back to climbing trees and being able to jump up on things to get out of harms way. We did keep him inside for a month after the surgery, and have been letting him out since. We do bring him in at night, but it has been very cold here. I was surprised at how well be has adapted - he runs and plays like he used to do before the surgery.
          Hoping for the best for your kitty!
          stained glass groupie


          • #6
            Check out this 2-legged cat who seems to get along just fine! http://www.catster.com/the-scoop/caf...-videos-photos


            • #7
              I have a blog friend whose young female cat just had a hind leg amputated. She posted videos of the cat zooming around very easily not long after the surgery. Her blog, with photos and video of "Luna", is here: http://jessandprinceofthieves.blogspot.com/

              Custom Painted Saddle Pads and Ornaments


              • #8
                I had a tripod cat - he lost a back leg when he slipped through a ladder and caught his toe on the crossbar, pulling the toe and a good bit of skin off with it (we found the toe in the crossbar). He did just fine without the leg; could jump reasonably well and was certain to be the center of attention from all who met him.

                His recovery took a bit, because he had an infection and it took a few weeks before we got the right antibiotic in him, but then he was right as rain.

                The vets offered to try to keep the leg but had see similar injuries and the skin never remained strong enough to protect the "peg leg."

                He had been a barn cat, but after the amputation, he became a house cat... much to his delight!


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks everyone! Your stories have really helped soothe some of my worries about this.

                  The final decision has not been made yet - we're still talking it over with our vets - but I will keep you posted!


                  • #10
                    They do great. We have had many tripods (cat, dog, hamster...)

                    One thing with leg amputation in cats & dogs is that total removal is typically preferable to leaving a stump. The stump is often subject to gnawing or other injury (that may lead to gnawing) & often gets infected, then ends up being amputated anyway.

                    good luck & best wishes for your kitteh.


                    • #11
                      We recently had our cats leg amputated. He got out right before Hurricane Sandy and somehow broke it - spiral fracture. Vet said a 3k surgery but with the Hurricane coming, I didn't want to drive to the specialist, so they cast it and we hoped for the best. It was a week of agony. He was miserable, couldnt walk, couldnt go to the bathroom, it was horrible. Add to that no power and we were all miserable.

                      Finally I had it amputated. It was the best decision I ever made. He immediately tried to walk, he was happy, hungry, and finally could poop!

                      It's been about 4 months and he is 100%. It probably took 3 months until he wasn't falling at all ( and even that was occasional, and only when he was laying in a weird position). He is around 13 btw.

                      If you do a search for tripod kitty on here my threads should come up.

                      Only advice would be to make sure you don't let your kitty get fat