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One Week A Tripawd

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Today is just over one week since Vinny’s amputation. He is still doing well. He is doing all his eating, drinking and elimination functions properly and getting around well.

He’s been off the tramadol for two days, and I’m not sure if I am imagining it, but he seems a little “blah”. Hard to explain, really. Just a bit off from his usual self, or even the way he was a few days ago. He is also moving a bit slower than a few days ago. He is not hiding away from us at all, and he is eating and drinking fine, so these are positive signs. He is still on Metacam for another three weeks, so he has some pain relief there, but I’m not sure if he still needs a couple more days of tramadol. I may be just being a bit paranoid. It is probably just the normal ebb and flow of a major surgery recovery. I left a message with Vinny’s doctor tonight, so we’ll see what they say tomorrow.

He hasn’t gotten up into his favourite chair yet, but he started getting up on the couch yesterday, and several times today. Partially jumping, partially pulling himself up with his claws, haha. Whatever works! 🙂

His incision site has healed magnificently. It’s totally clean, the skin is his normal colour, and it’s perfectly scabbed a tiny bit in the centre. He doesn’t mind when I touch it at all, and he lies on that side all the time now. One end of his sutures came kind of loose somehow, and there wasn’t enough threading for me to tie a knot, so I had to use a tiny piece of duct tape to get it from unthreading itself. It works perfectly. It’s not duct taped to his skin or fur, but just stuck to the end of the nylon thread, instead of a knot. And it’s fluorescent pink – haha! That’s the tiny bright pink part you can see in a couple of the photos below.

I think he is getting annoyed by the e-collar, so I do take it off him when I am able to keep an eye on him. But he is still really keen on licking the incision area and I don’t want him to mess around there, since it’s doing so well.

We are still waiting to hear about the surgical margins on the amputated leg; hopefully we will hear something on Monday. And we have an appointment with the oncologist for next Wednesday. He will have his sutures out, and a consultation about the next treatment options. He may also have a first chemo treatment that day too.

Day 6 – First time getting up on the couch on his own!

 

Really proud of himself – up on the top of the couch today!

 

Friday night movies and furry cuddles 🙂

 

Hanging out right now beside me as I write this :) <3 <3 <3

Hanging out right now beside me as I write this 🙂 <3 <3 <3

 

*** UPDATE ***

Late last night, after I wrote this post, he got up into his favourite chair unassisted and without a stool! 😀 Yay Vinny! I also put my bed back to its normal height last night and he was able to get up there himself this morning too. 🙂 <3 <3

Vinny in his chair <3 All by himself! After only one week. Amazing!


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Day 5 post amputation here. Vinny is still doing well. The incision seems like it’s healing properly, and today is the last day of his tramadol prescription. Mobility wise, he’s walking around just fine, but takes more breaks to lie down. And luckily, he really knows his limits – and hasn’t tried to jump up anywhere yet. We’ve gone back to pretty much normal life, which means migrating from the safe space of the bedrooms, to having the roam of the whole apartment. I’ve also left him alone for a few hours at a time (well, with the dog and other cat), and he’s been fine. Personality wise, he seems fully back to his normal self. And he’s back to being very vocally demanding when it’s meal time, haha. It’s amazing how they just “know” what time it is.

Since we’re spending more time in the living room again, I saw him eyeing his favourite chair today. But he knows that he is not ready to jump up yet. I set up a little step stool for him, so he can get up when he is ready. He is the epitome of “the curious cat”, and always wants to investigate anything that is new, something out of place, or furniture moved around. He instantly came to the stool when I moved it there.

Less than 10 seconds after I put the stool here, he came to it and plopped himself down on it, making his claim for it.

Should I go for it, mommy?

Thinking hard about it…

Not yet. Maybe later. Nap time for now. 🙂 Baby steps!

48 & 72

Hey everyone! 🙂

We are 48 hours home now and 72 hours post-amp, and we’re doing well. Vinny is getting better at using three legs, he is eating, drinking, pooping and peeing. His poo is a little runny from the meds, but at least he’s doing it.

In one of his favourite spots! :)

In one of his favourite spots! 🙂

He gives me a bit of trouble when it’s time for meds, but eventually they go down after a few tries. Today I was a few hours late giving him his tramadol, and then he was just really fussing about it, so I had to stop a few times and give him a break and it took even longer. I could tell he was in pain, but an hour later, he seemed fine again and lazing happily in front of the fan (it’s quite warm here).

He’s had to wear his e-collar more than both of us would like, but he’s very keen on licking the incision, so c’est la vie. He obviously doesn’t like to wear it, but he also doesn’t do too bad with it on, so it could be worse. When I had to put it on my dog a few years back, he sulked for two weeks straight in the corner by himself, haha.

Sleepy at bedtime. :)

Sleepy at bedtime. 🙂 Blinded him temporarily with the flash – sorry buddy.

Trying to be a tough guy, lying on the incision side!

Trying to be a tough guy, lying on the incision side!

Vinny is also not too keen on letting me ice the incision now. I even got one of those special soft mouldable ice packs for him, with a super soft cotton towel around it. I’m not sure if he doesn’t like the pressure, or the cold itself. Either way, the inicision doesn’t look swollen at all to me, so I’m not too worried about it at this point. Looking at the picture of the incision from two days ago, it actually looks slightly better now too, which is also very good. And he is even lying on his incision side for the first time today – which is quite impressive.

We layed in bed watching movies together pretty much all day yesterday (actually all the furry friends stayed with us), and he seems content. We’re doing the same again today. Before the surgery I thought he would be miserable and mad at me. But I really think that he actually knows I am helping him. It’s a very special thing to care for an animal and nurse them back to health. I remember the Doctor said that he could have been hiding pain in his leg for a quite a while, so this might actually be a relief for him. Both yesterday morning and this morning, he crawled onto my pillow and cuddled with my face (lol). He doesn’t usually do this when it’s really warm weather, and actually it’s been a while since he did, but I just love when he does this, and he just seemed so happy.

So needless to say, he’s a trooper and doing really well. Yay Vinny!

Thank you so much to everyone for your amazing comments and support. It means a lot! Xoxo <3

Happy boy :)

Happy boy 🙂 Purrrrrring like a beast.

This is his "pig in shit" position. He is the happiest kitty in the world right here, purring away.

This is his “pig in shit” position and look on his face. He is the happiest kitty in the world right here, purring away. 🙂 <3

 

 

Why Do Cats Purr?

So, Vinny’s been home for over six hours now and he’s still doing splendidly. 🙂 He ate a full wet meal at dinner time, has taken his meds and seems quite at ease. He even let me ice his incision (only intermittently for a minute or so at a time, but I’ll take it for now). He’s moved around a bit, and is happy to stay close to me and the other animals – which is comforting.

One (kind of) weird thing… He’s been purring pretty much literally the entire time he’s been home – almost to the point where it concerned me. He is naturally a very friendly purry cat – but this seems way more than normal. Seems odd for a living thing who just lost a limb. I know that felines can also sometimes purr when they are stressed, but he’s totally relaxed and lounging here all stretched out with me on the bed, so I really don’t think he’s too emotionally or psychologically stressed at this point. But I was curious about the purring, so I decided to do a little Google search and came up with something interesting I thought I’d share.

From Scientific American:

Although we assume that a cat’s purr is an expression of pleasure or is a means of communication with its young, perhaps the reasons for purring can be deciphered from the more stressful moments in a cat’s life. Cats often purr while under duress, such as during a visit to the veterinarian or when recovering from injury. Thus, not all purring cats appear to be content or pleased with their current circumstances. This riddle has lead researchers to investigate how cats purr, which is also still under debate.

Scientists have demonstrated that cats produce the purr through intermittent signaling of the laryngeal and diaphragmatic muscles. Cats purr during both inhalation and exhalation with a consistent pattern and frequency between 25 and 150 Hertz. Various investigators have shown that sound frequencies in this range can improve bone density and promote healing.

This association between the frequencies of cats’ purrs and improved healing of bones and muscles may provide help for some humans. Bone density loss and muscle atrophy is a serious concern for astronauts during extended periods at zero gravity. Their musculo-skeletal systems do not experience the normal stresses of physical activity, including routine standing or sitting, which requires strength for posture control.

Because cats have adapted to conserve energy via long periods of rest and sleep, it is possible that purring is a low energy mechanism that stimulates muscles and bones without a lot of energy. The durability of the cat has facilitated the notion that cats have “nine lives” and a common veterinary legend holds that cats are able to reassemble their bones when placed in the same room with all their parts. Purring may provide a basis for this feline mythology. The domestication and breeding of fancy cats occurred relatively recently compared to other pets and domesticated species, thus cats do not display as many muscle and bone abnormalities as their more strongly selected carnivore relative, the domestic dog.

Perhaps cats’ purring helps alleviate the dysplasia or osteoporotic conditions that are more common in their canid cousins. Although it is tempting to state that cats purr because they are happy, it is more plausible that cat purring is a means of communication and a potential source of self-healing.

 

So, Vinny’s constant purring is likely partially an internal instinctual self healing mechanism! Very cool. Animals are so amazing!

Home & Happy

Vinny’s home! 😀

The doctor called me this morning to tell me how well he was doing and that he’d be ready to come home later in the day. I was very happy to hear this.

I picked him up a couple hours ago. As soon as I saw him, I stuck my fingers in the door of his crate and he rubbed his face against my fingers. Awwww. They were really adamant about how well he was doing. Yay! Before leaving, we went over everything and I asked a million questions. Take home medicine includes the Metacam that he’s already been on for a week – and continuing it for 4 weeks. And 5 days worth of tramadol. Easy peasy!

Once we were in the car I started chatting with him and giving him some treats – he was eating right away! This made he happy. He was very alert on the drive home and continued eating treats from my fingers.

When we got home, I put his crate in the cozy hideout I created for him, and let him out. I thought that he would just stay in there for a while, but right away he wanted to go explore the house. It’s obviously still hard for him to walk.  He’s sort of hobbling – but it’s not stopping him.

One interesting thing that the doctor mentioned was that often the animals have already practiced walking on three legs, since the pain in their amputated leg may have caused them to not use it much and shift their weight to the other three. Very interesting. Makes total sense!

I let him walk around a bit (we’re in an apartment, so he can’t go far) and I walked with him. He pretty much went right to his food bowl, so I didn’t hesitate. I want to get lots of nutrients into him right away, so he can begin healing! He ate the whole portion right away. After he ate, he literally went and used his litter box right away, with no issues getting into it or using it at all.

He came out and hung out in the hallway on the cool floor tiles for a while, just purring away like crazy. (He’s got a really loud purr – like a car motor, haha!) And to my delight, he even chatted with me a bit! After a bit, I moved him into my room with me, so we could just relax for the next little while before dinner. I’ve moved my bed frame into another room, so that now I just have the mattress on the floor, so he can easily get up and down, since he loves to be on the bed and cuddle at night. Now we’re just hanging out here. He napping and seems quite content (and still purring).

Only a few hours in, I am already amazed at how well he’s handling this. And I’m also impressed at how clean the incision looks! I didn’t know what to expect, but it looks great. He’s had three surgeries before, and he was never once interested in licking the wounds, so he never had to wear the e-collar. I was hoping it would be the same this time, but unfortunately he’s already tried to lick it a couple times. So, the e-collar will have to go on when I’m unable to pay 100% attention to him. We have a special one we picked up a few years ago though, called the Trimline. It does the same thing, but it’s soft and a bit more tolerable than the hard plastic one. It still sucks – but it’s slightly less awful for him.

Now the recovery journey begins. The doctor sent the leg to the histopathologist to check on the margins. I should hear back about that within a week. Then after recovery, we’ll see the oncologist for the next steps.

But for now, he’s home, and seems happy. One day at a time.

Love, KJ & Vinny

Vinny – 2 Hours home. <3

Diagnosis & Decision

Hi Tripawd mums & dads! 😀

I just wanted to introduce myself and say thank you so much for this forum! My boy Vinny went in for his amputation this morning and his doctor recommended I do some reading here on this site. I am so glad he did! I’ve spent all day reading it, while I wait to be reunited with my fur baby. After spending some time here, I feel extremely encouraged and more confident in his recovery. I just wanted to share a bit of our story, since I feel so inspired by everyone else’s.

We’ve had ongoing testing for about 2 months now with a tumour that presented itself on his hind leg around his lymph node. We started with two needle aspirate biopsies (a few weeks apart), X-rays and bloodwork with no definitive answers at all. But the tumour kept growing. Now, I know cats are good at hiding pain, but Vinny’s attitude and habits didn’t change at all – he was eating, drinking cuddling and using his litter box fine. Until one day last week the tumour seemed to have doubled in size over a period of two days and all of a sudden he was dragging his leg. 🙁

I immediately took him to emergency and they observed him overnight and did a series of punch biopsies. While we waited for results, he started some pain meds, anti-inflammatories and antibiotics. The tumour didn’t do anything over the next few days, but he seemed to feel better and was walking around normal again and back to regular habits (which was encouraging). However… results from the biopsies came back yesterday as a hemangiosarcoma – an extremely aggressive malignant tumour. It is more common in dogs, but accounts for less than 2% of all cancers in cats. The recommendation (which we had already discussed) was full amputation of the leg. The doctor got me in super quick, and I dropped Vinny off this morning at 7am. The doctor called me back at 3pm to say the surgery went very well – and also the CT scan did not show any signs that the cancer had spread. (Yay!) It seemed fairly localized, so we’re looking good for now. Vinny will be there overnight tonight, and hopefully he can come home tomorrow, but maybe one more night.

Apparently a hemangiosarcoma diagnosis in dogs is quite grave, and often symptoms don’t present themselves until it’s too late. But according to the doctor, and what I’ve been reading, the prognosis in cats can actually be quite good. There is very little research, because it’s so uncommon in cats, but there was a small study done that showed very promising results, when the the proper treatment is done.  Vinny’s doctor told me that while he’s only personally seen a few cases in cats – their outcomes were all very positive. At first, I was concerned it would all be too much to put him through. But the doctor was very confident that the treatment would be worth it for Vinny and his circumstances. He has also been so helpful in answering every question I have and updating me about everything along the way. 🙂 As well, since I had zero prior knowledge about all this, after reading about how well cats do with amputations – and also with chemotherapy – it has really helped boost my outlook too!

So, I expect he will recover quite well. He’s had a few health issues before and he’s always been very resilient and tolerates surgeries and medications all very well. I just can’t wait to see him and hug and kiss him again. I was hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. I’m just so happy that he will be coming home. I’ve got his cozy hideout all set up for him in my walk-in closest, where he already loves to nap. He’ll be in recovery for a couple weeks, then he will start a few treatments of chemotherapy, which will discourage any more growth of the cancer.

Here’s a couple photos of my boy… He’s 7 years old, about 19 lbs (he’s already working on losing a couple), but he’s mostly just a big fluff ball, with a bit of maine coon in him. He’s definitely a big gentle giant. He loves cuddling and being around people. He also loves to play fetch – haha!

Thanks everyone so much for sharing your stories, and thank you for reading mine. It’s already been very therapeutic and helpful to both read and share.  🙂 xoxo <3

Vinny – Pre-surgery, just hanging out. 🙂

And here he is with his bro (my other boy) Milo:

And here he is with his bro (my other boy) Milo 🙂

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