My cat, Boo, was recently attacked by a neighbor's dog and had to have surgery on her rear left femur. She had a spiral fracture and had a pin/wires implanted to fix the fracture. Now, she is having problems with nerve damage and the vet is considering amputation, with the alterntive being euthanasia. It has been 3 weeks since the injury and she has spent about 12 days at the vet. I know that cats can live comfortably with 3 legs, but I am worried that I am putting her through too much. I don't want to be selfish and keep her alive when it is not the best for her.
My thinking would be that, if Boo will not be in pain and will not have to undergo traumatic, painful medical treatment, then I'd go ahead and give it a try. By that I mean if she had to have multiple surgeries over years or medications that make her sick or in some other way drastically reduce her quality of life. But I don't think that's the case here, it sounds like when the surgery and treatment is done, she'll be fine, notwithstanding the amputation.
I don't know how old Boo is and her overall health, but assuming she isn't elderly and that she's basically healthy, she should adjust. Animals don't have a lot of the emotional hangups about these things that people do, which is helpful.
With love and patience, along with therapy and a vet that will work with you over time to help her learn to function in a new way, I think she will manage. I've seen blind cats do great, I've seen cats with amputations do great, too.
However, this is something that no one can tell how to handle. She's your baby and you know her better than anyone here. But yeah, I'd give it a go.
Let us know how it goes and please come back with any concerns or questions.
Thank you for your concerns and thoughts. Boo is doing much better. As of last week, she had zero use of her leg. As of today, that has improved to pver 50%!! The vet now thinks that the nerves were merely bruised in the attack and that she will get better. They are unsure if she will regain total use of the leg, but it is looking better than it was.
The vet has shelved any talk of an amputation for now. We just have to hope for the best.
I am really struggling with the decision of whether to amputate the leg, if it comes to that. Like everyone else in today's economy, I am not made of money. I have already spent close to $3000 on her. If they would have done an amputation immediately, I would have been okay with it. But now it almost seems cruel to put her through more.
The neighbor actually brought her dog to my house without my knowledge. I was having a small get together and she brought the dog. Before I knew it, the dog was off its leash and upstairs going after my cats. She did give me $500, but that does not come close to paying for the vet bills. She should be taking care of the whole thing, but says she doesn't have that kind of money.
I am just hoping that I don't have to make a decision and that she gets better over the next few weeks. It would kill me to have to out her to sleep.
Please, don't even consider putting your cat to sleep over a leg! Some vets will let ya do payment plans, post dated checks, and there's a company called Carecredit that is used only for vet care-it's a special card for pet care only.
My friends cat was caught in a rabbit trap for days until they found her,she had her front leg amputated by the vet and was 16 years ago,and cat lived a very happy life and only died last week at the ripe old age of 20.she got around very well,i know its a horrible thought to have the leg off,but they do cope well.
As ZQ says if its a matter of money theres more than one way to pay for it.I have had a lot of expense lately with 2 of my pets,and i will get it paid somehow we do unless its thousands of course.
My situation is very similar to yours. About eight months ago I heard an awful noise outside my back door. it was a sorta "help me" loud meowing. I went out on the back porch and looked over the rail. There was this young grey Tabby with his head pointed to the sky crying for attention. I told him to knock it off. The cat looked at me and came up the steps, rubbed my leg and went inside the house. "Buddy" is still here. Since I live alone he has been great company. He follows me from room to room and is very affectionate. He likes to climb on the couch and snuggle while we watch TV together. He was also an inside/outside cat. One day I came home about 10:00 PM and found him lying on the porch near the back door. He was unable to use his back left leg at all, and was in a lot of pain. I rushed him to the vet where I had him neutered a few months back. They did surgery and placed a metal rod in his femur. It was a separated compound fracture. He seemed to be healing quickly and I had a hard time keeping him confined. There were several follow-up visits to check on his progress. The original surgery was a couple of thousand dollars and I wasn't charged for the other visits. About two weeks after the surgery, Buddy would suddenly begin hissing and growling and racing through the house for no apparent reason. The vet examined him and said the rod had moved upward and was irritating the sciatic nerve. The metal rod had to be removed. The vet loaned me her personal large open animal crate to help him cope with being confined. Buddy loved the crate and spent most of his time in it even when the door was open. When he began to move around I noticed a pronounced limp and he was walking on the knuckles of his foot. when I helped him straightened it out he wouldnt extend his leg to walk normally. The vet says the nerve has been permanently damaged and amputation is the only alternative. I so wanted him to keep his leg ( he is only just over a year old) that I paid the original two thousand instead of an amount less than half that. I have been struggling with this decision myself. Recently a friend of mine was over to visit and has a three legged cat and made the comment that Buddy would be so much happier and more mobile when he didn't have all the dead weight of his near useless leg to carry around. I have made the decision to go ahead with the amputation. The vet has offered to do it for costs only instead of their usual fee. However I would pay the full fee if necessary. I wouldn't want someone to put me down over a couple of thousand dollars. I am informed that cats carry most of their weight on their front legs and function remarkable well without one of their rear legs. The recovery time will be about 10 days when the stitches are removed. he will need supervision, but not confined during that time. it is recommended that he become an inside only cat because he will lose some of his speed and predators could be more dangerous. Also other neighborhood cats might take advantage of his handicap.
My vet uses a payment method called Pet care. It is similar to care credit. I am told by the vet that nerve damage occurs in about 15% of femur fractures in cats. There may or may not be some liability on the vet's part in my case. But I feel I have been, and continue to be treated fairly. And since I am not a litiguous sort of person I will pay the vet's cost without question. Having my cat euthanized has never been a consideration to me. I am more concerned in helping him become the best cat he can be. he has always been a good companion and friend to me. Now if he would only stop biting me when he wants me to wake up in the morning.
Jim P. in Portland, Oregon
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