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Leg amputation

April 8th, 2008, 06:46 PM
My cat Tripod has 3 and a half legs. He has 3 full & normal legs but his back left leg is just a nub. Below the knee is missing. He was born that way and thats how I found him. He keeps getting hurt though. Since there is no muscle protecting it, he often hurts the bone and screams in pain. Basically imagine you only had down to your elbow, and everyone you fell over or something you hit your funny bone. The vet said the only thing we can do about it is get it amputated and take up to the shoulder bone out (or hip bone since its his back leg) and he would wrap muscle around the area to make it cushioned so he wouldn't be in pain.

Has anyone ever had this done to their cat or dog before? What are the risks? Is it worth it? I see it done on animal planet all the time and it looks so simple, and sounds it too but I just need some reassurance. My vet is fantastic and has been a vet for atleast 35 years so I know he knows what hes talking about and doing... I am just worried.

Dr Lee
April 8th, 2008, 06:59 PM
Has anyone ever had this done to their cat or dog before? What are the risks? Is it worth it?

I myself have owned a three legged Rottweiler who did terrific. He loved hiking and swimming.

I perform this procedure (It sounds like your vet has even more experience than I do) very commonly and my patients do very well. The thing to remember is that he is already three legged and now we are just making sure there isn't a bone that can be hurt hanging out in the way. The method of femoral disarticulation leaves a nice muscle cushion for them to sit on - or as my Rottweiler would do - run and plop down on it! - no pain at all, he used it like a landing pad.

Risks? There is always an anesthetic risk but it is minimal and a similar risk to pets that undergo spaying - similar depth of anesthesia. The complications of anesthesia are usually at the beginning and end of the procedure - raising and lowering the anesthetic level. The length of anesthetic time is important but not significant in most cases.

I hope that helps. :pawprint:

April 8th, 2008, 08:05 PM
Thanks! Considering he is already neutered and did fantastic with the anesthesia the first time and has only improved in his health, he should be good to go then?

The ladies at the front desk said about 200 dollars for the surgery...does that sounds about right? My actual vet forgot to give us the quote because he ran off to look to make sure he had the right equipment and then said yes and he's done it a ton of times before blah blahh real easy simple thing he can do it no problem...

Dr Lee
April 8th, 2008, 08:56 PM
Thanks! Considering he is already neutered and did fantastic with the anesthesia the first time and has only improved in his health, he should be good to go then?

The ladies at the front desk said about 200 dollars for the surgery...does that sounds about right?

Yes, all things being equal, he should do well.

$200. Unless demographics are very different, that sounds low. I Recommend that you call and clarify that price. :pawprint:

April 9th, 2008, 12:25 AM
I thought it seemed kind of low as well. I was expecting around the 1,000 dollar price mark.

I think my mom really wants it done though. He keeps getting hurt. I really don't want to make the decision though.

April 9th, 2008, 09:04 AM
I have a three-legged german shepherd.

Jaida was born with a foreleg deformity (kind of a club foot) that impaired her mobility, and the "wrist/hand" part used to bonk and bruise and chafe and rub and generally be really sore for her. We decided to amputate her leg to spare her the discomfort.

I think a properly performed amputation for your kitty (as opposed to the one he has now, which is probably mid-bone and as you say has no padding and MUST be uncomfortable)'s the best thing for him. The surgery will make sure that what's left of the hip is well-padded and comfy and the skin won't pull or stretch over the stump. I know a person who rescued a dog that had a similar problem and she found that her pup was WAY more comfie just days after the surgery.

Amputation can sound like a scary thing, but animals get over amputation way faster than any human ever could; they're back to normal once the stiches come out 10-14 days, and usually even sooner. Also, your little guy is used to walking as a tripod, so this will be a walk in the park for him.

I'm glad you're looking into this surgery for your kitty; he'll thank you for it later! :D Our girl was walking better right away and was laying down comfortably on her amputated side a few it's her favourite way to lie down: right on her "booboo" side!

That price sounds really good! I'd also recommend confirming it, but if that's what your vet is quoting, it's a great deal!

Here's Jaida 3 weeks after her surgery:

April 9th, 2008, 10:24 AM
Yeah.. I guess going ahead with it is likely the best thing for him. It's kind of just a dead weight on his hip anyways.

It just hangs there and kind of pulls him to that side and makes him loose his balance alot.

I'm going back to the vets in a week to get my outside cat Buddy microchipped and while I'm there I'll talk to the doctor again.

thanks for everyones help!

April 9th, 2008, 01:28 PM
Oh he's adorable, they both are. Tuxedos :lovestruck:
Good luck with the op, he'll be so much better off.

May 16th, 2008, 12:01 AM
Hi everyone. I got the surgery done. He's in overnight recovery now. We were going to pick him up at 6pm but my vet tech friend their said his pain meds made him reallyyy out of it, and they needed to keep him in a padded cage. I'm picking him up sometime tomorrow morning or afternoon. I wonder if he's going to be in bandages or what.... I miss him :( But I'll see him soon. His best friend Jack (in that picture up there) is quiet and misses him too. My cats get sad when any of the other ones leave, even if for a little bit (to get fixed and stuff).

Dr Lee
May 16th, 2008, 12:12 AM
Glad he made it through! :D

I am glad he is safe! You must be so relieved.:pawprint:

May 16th, 2008, 01:16 AM
I'm sure he probably will have bandages on the surgery site, for protection against infection, ripping stitches etc, for the next week or more.

:thumbs up Glad everything went well

:goodvibes: for a quick recovery

May 16th, 2008, 08:56 AM
Actually, most hip amputees DON'T come come with bandages. You can expect to see a very large shaved area, and what will feel like a bazillion stitches. There may or may not be a rubber drain coming out of the skin to allow fluids to drain out (my pup did not initially have a drain).

You may want to set up a nice, comfy cage (large dog crate) for him to rest in and also for your own sanity. Most critters are feeling pretty good after the surgery and want to be more active than they're supposed to be. The cage would be useful for when you're not home to supervise and keep him out of trouble.

Expect him to look a little glazy-eyed. Most critters feel pretty weirded out by the anaesthetic/pain meds combo, and can be either really sedated or really vocal and wimpy. This only lasts for a few days most of the time.

He may be inclined to lick her incisions. A tiny bit of licking (like regular grooming) is ok, but more is not as it can compromise the stitches. If he's a licker, you'll have to put a cone (e-collar) on him to allow the incision to heal.

He's got lots of practice walking on three legs, so his muscles are well developed, but his balance may be off for a few days with the reduced weight on the one side. Expect some stumbling/wipeouts.

Watch for swelling under the skin around the surgical site (seroma), and redness/weeping/loose stitches at the incision itself. If you feel like something's wrong, don't hesitate to bring him back to the vet for a recheck (I was on the phone with my vet on average about twice a day for two weeks:loser: but it helped my fears...besides, even if most of us are pretty pet-health-savy, most of us don't know what's "normal" for a missing limb!)

Love him up, feed him nummy food, and let him get about on his own so he regains his confidence. Hugs to you!

Jim Hall
May 16th, 2008, 09:14 AM
i had a cat like that and she did just fine we called her gimpy and everyone said porr kitty! till they saw how she would zoom around the apartment

May 16th, 2008, 09:14 AM
I am glad all went well with the surgery.:thumbs up.

Bet he is just as excited to be home with you as you are to get him home.

May 16th, 2008, 09:45 AM
Since me and my mom have to run some errands today, my vet tech friend Tara is keeping him there and taking care of him until we are done. He can't be left alone and so that means tomorrow both of us are going to take off work it looks like xD So I'll have him back by 4 or 5ish.

Jack was crying this morning though :( I heard him running up and down the stairs and he was all upset. He has a weird meow and I guess you guys can probably tell your cat's meows apart too :p So yeah he's upset and misses his Tripod. He has never meowed loud like that before.

May 16th, 2008, 12:43 PM
Good news that he's coming home soon! :cloud9:

I had a tuxedo (Bernie) who as a kitten got his back leg caught in what we think was a fan belt of a car (back when we were silly enough to let them outside). He came home with his back leg hanging on by a tendon :sad:

He got it taken off (his leg looked like a little burrito for quite a while), and was very quickly back to his rambunctious self! Man he could move for a tripod - even climb fences! :eek:

I'm glad you went ahead with the surgery, and we'd love to see pictures when you officially get him back of him and Jack!

May 16th, 2008, 03:05 PM
What a little cutie you have. I'm sure he'll be so much happier now that he doesn't have the unusable leg back there.

Please let us know how he's doing once you get him home.:goodvibes:

May 16th, 2008, 04:29 PM
Kathryn,I am glad you and your mom went ahead with the surgery,I am sure the little guy will feel soo much better:thumbs up
They are both adorable by the way:lovestruck:
Please keep us posted..
Don't be surprised if your other kitty will act a little strange towards him,maybe even a bit aggressive,it happens often when cats come home from the vet,they have a different smell.

May 16th, 2008, 05:29 PM
Glad to hear your kitty is doing well. I am sure your kitty will be much happier too.

the gang
May 16th, 2008, 08:46 PM
hows things???? been checking your post all day!!! brenda and the pins

May 17th, 2008, 11:52 AM
He's okay. I brought him home and as soon he got out of his carrier he tried to chew his stitches out and so we had to drive back to the vets and get a cone on his head. The whole time he was there he didn't bother his stitches so they thought he was fine but of course not. Pain meds 2xday antibiotics in the morning. Couldn't get any real good pics he kept moving alot so heres what I could capture--

May 17th, 2008, 02:24 PM
He looks great! I'm sure he'll be running around in no time. I think he will be a lot happier, since he will no doubt be able to run around better and play with less hindrance.

May 17th, 2008, 03:35 PM
Aww Kathryn,what a little sweetheart he is:lovestruck:
I am sure he hates the cone,but he'll be fine,it's ot like has has to get used to beeing a tripod,he already was.
I don't know where or how you found him,but he is sure a lucky little guy:thumbs up

May 17th, 2008, 10:43 PM
What a sweetie :lovestruck:

Sounds like he will be just fine on three legs :thumbs up :goodvibes:

Dallas's Mommy
December 18th, 2008, 01:58 AM
On Wednesday, December 10, we had our 12 yr old Boxer's rt front leg amputated. It was one of the hardest decisions we ever made. Now that is is over with, it is one of the best decisions we ever made. I was so worried about how she would get around because I heard it was harder with it being a front leg. Also, she is 12 and has arthritis in her hips. She had a huge tumor on her leg that was starting to bleed uncontrollably. She is doing absolutely terrific. She is already following me all over the place. The only thing she is having trouble with is fluffing her blanket on her pillow, but I am sure in no time she will have that figured out too.

December 18th, 2008, 08:46 AM
I'm happy she's doing well. Animals recover so much faster and a lot better than humans do with a procedure like this.

December 18th, 2008, 08:49 AM
Thanks for sharing your story and pics! It's always helpful for others to see amputees if they're having to to make the choice themselves.

As for the blankie-fluffing, :laughing: Yeah, she'll get it eventually. It'll be a sight to see for's like watching someone do a one-handed pushup...there may be faceplanting...but oh the satisfaction she'll have once she does it all by herself:D!

December 18th, 2008, 03:29 PM
Dallas mommy,I think she looks great,she probably just got a new lease on life,hope her arthritis does not bother her too much:pray: