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BeckleysMom May 27th, 2009 11:51 PM

Cat with suspected nerve damage self mutilating paw
Hi all,

If you see any typos here it's because I'm typing through a blur of tears. I am now 25 or more vet visits into this story and almost at the $4K mark on vet bills. Beckley is an adopted kitty that I got from a Siamese cat rescue organization along with his sister Loki. Beckley is a "runner". Though we have a commitment to the rescue organization that they both can only be indoor kitties, Beckely has always dashed for the door at every opportunity. With relatives staying with us for an extended period, we lost the ability to control his behavior. In short, he got out. And, in broad daylight, was shot by a bb-gun. Pellet lodged in his rear leg and broke his fibula. He had surgery to remove the pellet. It is significant to note that the pellet was embedded in the middle of a nest of nerves. The bone repaired very quickly as Beckley is a young 2 year old. However, at about the 4 week point, he bit his paw (punctured it deeply) biting at it. It got infected and we fought the infection, had him in kitty collars and ended up putting him on Acepromazine (sp?) (kitty downers). He still persists in getting at the bandage. Against vet advise, we had the bandage removed at 7 weeks and had him home with collar, on periodic ACE so that we could let the leg get some air and heal (he was developing sensitivity / rash because of the bandage adhesive.). He continued to periodically growl, hiss and jump up in the air and run off. Through the course of this I've given him periodic collar-off periods for grooming and get kitty loves so he can maintain some dignity, cleanliness and his sanity. However, he inevitably gets at his paw, licks feverishly and then gives into impulse, bite, growl and jump and run. It was/is horrible to watch. Note that this same behavior evidenced while the foot is bandaged or not. We are now being referred to a neurologist for assessment and treatment options. Does any one have any experience with treating nerve damage? How can I keep him from trying to bite his toe off? He's stressed. We're stressed and it just doesn't seem like a decent way to live. THEN to complicate everything, every indication I've seen on every website and commmunication from our vet says that this, despite best efforts, results in amputation. I can't get my head around cutting off part of my kitty and quality of life issue. He's a beautiful, gorgeous and loving cat that did nothing wrong and did not deserve what was done to him. I think the biggest thing our vet and I agree on is that is probably a very good thing I don't know which punk kid did this.

TeriM May 28th, 2009 02:18 AM

I'm so sorry about your cat :sad:.

Have you considered consulting a homeopathic veterinarian (not just a homeopath make sure it is also a vet)? I have recently become quite fascinated with that area and have been taking my older dog and have seen some good results and have know others with good experiences. I think at this stage it would definately be worth trying before you consider amputation.

Good luck :goodvibes:.

TeriM May 28th, 2009 02:23 AM

I don't know if this one is close to you ???


BeckleysMom May 28th, 2009 01:33 PM

Thanks all
I appreciate the guidance. Will see how things go with the neurologist next week and then do everything necessary to avoid amputation. No one is taking pieces off of my baby/kitty if I can help it.


bendyfoot May 28th, 2009 01:58 PM

There is a drug that can be used to treat phantom pain (nerve "zaps") in these cases, that you might want to explore with the vet. It's called Gabapentin, and worth a shot.

As for amputation, I understand how scary it is to contemplate. I have a tripod dog (missing a front leg) and she's just fine, animals recover very very quickly from amputations...Jaida was [URL=""][B]Sprinting[/B][/URL] around the yard three weeks after the surgery. They're not like people, they don't feel sorry for themselves or understand that something's "wrong"...they just adapt and get on with their lives. There is absolutely [B]NO [/B]reduction in quality of life. My dog runs, plays, shakes a paw, enjoys the company of people and other dogs...she is perfectly normal.

Her quality of life is in fact BETTER now than before her surgery, as her leg was causing her pain and impairing her mobility...the "bad" leg reduced her quality of life, not the surgery.

Jim Hall May 28th, 2009 02:32 PM

i had a 3 legged kitty namd gimpy he had had a back leg removed after being mangled she got around just fine and uses the situation for much sympathy when she wanted a treat

BeckleysMom May 28th, 2009 10:53 PM

You guys are the best!
Jim, BendyFoot and Teri. Thank you so much for giving me insight on this. It really helps to hear from folks who have been there. And who don't think I'm just freaking out over a cat. Beckley is family. I would exercise the same care and concern of one of my human kids as I do my feline kids.

I will absolutely ask about the Gabapentin. And, I agree, having Beckley out of pain has to be better for everyone, even if it's minus a leg. I'll let you all know how it goes.

p.s. I'm defying doctor orders. OK. So I'm a rebel. She seems to be under the delusion that sedating him will stop him from biting at his bandaged foot for the next few days. Not! :-) Besides long term sedatives CAN'T be good for him either. Solve one problem to create another later? Not my idea of a good plan.

rainbow May 29th, 2009 04:05 AM

I have never been in a situation like yours but just wanted to wish all the best for you and Beckley. :goodvibes:

We would never think that you were "just freaking out" over a cat as most of us here treat our fur kids as family members. :thumbs up

Hugs for you and Beckley :grouphug: and good luck. :fingerscr

scully June 5th, 2009 09:52 AM

I am so sorry you are going through this. As a cat lover I filled up just reading your story. Like the others, I have a little tripod named Scully who I adopted from a family who did not want her anymore. Due to circumstances with that family I do not know the true story of how she lost her leg (right, back leg) but her vet says it definitely happened after birth (as opposed to an accident later in life for example) either way, I too just wanted to say how well she gets along. In fact she chases and plays with my larger polydactyl Willow all the time! She can jump up on the bed with just one back leg, no problem.

best of luck with everything. :)

BeckleysMom June 28th, 2009 01:02 PM

Sorry I've been lax getting an update to you all. We've been through a couple of different things since last I posted. First was the Gabapentin which was prescribed by a neurosurgeon. That doped him out to a huge degree. Kids starting calling the meds his kitty downers which was kind of sad but a little funny.... In short, the Gabapentin did not work. So the neurosurgeon wanted to try treating Beckley for OCD. Yes! Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Apparently this doc had seen this problem with dogs and thought it might be applicable to our situation as well. The thought being that if the doc's attempts to do exploratory surgeory (and wrapping nerve with fatty tissue to cushion the pain) didn't work we would be looking at amputation. If you amputate a limb with a pet that is being driven by obsessive compulsive behavior, they'll likely transfer the compulsion to another limb and you're back in the same game. As of now we are 1 week into the OCD meds and he seems to be doing ok. We have the foot unbandaged but he is still wearing the collar. I give him VERY supervised grooming periods and he seems to just want to groom the toes endlessly. He does give me anxious moments when he tears at the toe nail to groom it but I've seen him do that same thing with his other paws so I'm hopeful. Will know more by next Friday. Hoping to take the collar off and test him...

Thank you all for your kindness and support.

Hugs, - Deb

14+kitties June 28th, 2009 05:28 PM

Just as an off chance - what are you feeding Beckley? Dry or wet? It is possible that he has allergies to his food and, while a coincidence, starting reacting to that at the same time this horrible thing happened to him. Some of the symptoms of that are self mutilation.

killmo June 29th, 2009 12:21 PM

I'm so sorry to hear about your kitty. I have no experience with nerve damage in animals but as a hand therapist I do have experience with this in people. It sounds like your kitty may have developed a neuroma and that may be what is driving him nuts. When nerves are damaged they normally grow back over a period of time but if the damage was such that the nerve couldn't find it's correct path back it can grow into a hypersensitive bundle of nerve endings. The neurologist should be able to determine this and then recommend rx. If his recommended rx is amputation just know that in the end you will have a much happier kitty albeit a bit gimpy but animals do just fine with three legs.

BeckleysMom July 8th, 2009 10:31 PM

Doing a happy dance!
1 Attachment(s)
I keep pretty frequent updates on Facebook and in the course of the last 3.5 months, a lot of friends and family have gotten more than their fair share of updates on Beckley. I know from our chats that a lot of my friends and in-laws thought "we spent too much", "..after all "he's just a CAT!" and "how can you spend over $4500 on a C-A-T". But I knew you would all understand and appreciate the situation. I'm so very thankful that I had a way to share the emotion of all this with folks who DON'T laugh and who understand. Thank you! VERY MUCH! So the latest....

Killmo, you were correct. The neurosurgeon thought it was a neuroma. But the gabapentin didn't work at all. So he switched him to OCD meds because he'd seen similar compulsive behavior in dogs that had nerve pain issues. Even when the pain issue was resolved, the compulsion remained.

Turns out... he was right. A two week course of OCD meds (amitrypyiline) worked! We've now been able to reduce his dose down to half of the original dose and we will probably take him off of the meds entirely this weekend. BUT we will monitor him for recurrence of behavior. I'm so thrilled!

He usually sleeps with me/on me and tucks his head as deep in under my chin as he can get it. Last Friday was the first time, in over 3.5 months, that he could do that and we could both fall asleep that way. I actually lay there in tears of relief and joy. Wow! What a ride!

It just goes to show what love, persistence and patience can bring.

Jim Hall July 8th, 2009 10:37 PM

aww im so glad you got your cat back!!! hes very pretty

edwina July 8th, 2009 10:37 PM

Hopefully this means he is getting better. :grouphug:

TeriM July 9th, 2009 01:19 AM

Yeah, that is awesome news :highfive:.

Great pic of Beckley :lovestruck:.

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