age when diagnosed:
2 years old
rear leg tripod
1. When did you notice the lump, what was the size and where was it located, was it low on the leg or higher - closer to your cat's body.... ** first noticed Kobi limping approx mid-August 2002. I actually felt the lump on his right rear leg - low on his leg on August 17, 2002. The lump was large and very hard and was on the outside of his leg, away from his body. We took him that night to the emergency vet clinic where they diagnosed it as "large mass/tumor (popliteal lymph node?) right hindleg" and referred us back to the normal vet.**
2. When was kitty last vaccinated...**January 26, 2001 - single rabies vaccination.**
3. How long did you wait to have it removed.. **Amputation surgery performed on September 7, 2002**
4. Was this your cat's first surgery for VAS... **Yes**
5. Did you consult with a specialist or oncologist?.. **We consulted with two oncologists and a board certified surgeon **
6. Who removed the lump (regular vet or surgeon) ..** Board certified surgeon from the oncologists's clinic**
7. How long did your cat stay at the vet's after surgery..** Overnight**
8. Did you do anything special to prepare for your kitty's homecoming..** We bought a large dog crate to try to keep him still, isolated. Other than that, we didn't know what to expect and would take our cue from Kobi*
9. Did your cat have any post-operative problems: ** Kobi was in some pain when we brought him home, although he was able to walk and jump up on the bed almost immediately. The surgeon did not recommend any type of physical therapy - she basically said to let him be and that he would adjust. During the first few days, Kobi was subdued but alert. We had the pain patch removed, and gave him oral pain meds crushed up in baby food instead. We brought his food and water to him, so that he did not have to travel to get to them. He was able to get into and out of his litter box with no problem. He would get anxious and agitated when we tried to put him in the dog cage, so we got rid of that immediately. We also did not use the E-collar on Kobi as it also stressed him and he was not interfering with the staples and it didn't seem necessary** .
10. What was your cat's adjustment period like: **Generally, Kobi did not have any post op problems. He did not develop any infections, nor did he lick or pull at the staples. There was no swelling in the incision area. When he slept, he would sit upright and tuck himself in - he normally sleeps on his side. The first week or so, when Kobi would get into a standing position in preparation for walking, he would take several steps backwards first before being able to move forward. He would cry out when this happened as it seemed to stress and confuse him. We showed this behavior to the surgeon when we went back to have the staples removed and she had no comment/suggestion about it. This went away after about a week. **
After the initial adjustment period, Kobi has had no problems getting used to being a tripod. It hasn't affected his mobility or his personality. He is not aware that he is missing his right rear leg, as he frequently tries to use the missing leg to scratch the right side of his face. This is evident when you see that the muscles in that area are moving and he tilts his head to the side. Whenever I see this, I go and help him out. When jumping up onto a high area, he uses his front arms/paws, particularly his claws to help lift and pull himself up. He, therefore, is not able to jump up as gracefully as a normal cat would be able to do... it is more of a push and pull type of thing. Kobi has also moved his tail almost completely to the right to achieve balance and compensate for the missing leg. When x-rays were taken prior to the surgery - the oncologist commented on how strong his back hips appeared to be and that this would be a huge asset to him in jumping, keeping the rear end of his body straight and strong, etc.
FOLLOW UP - Neither chemo or radiation were recommended for Kobi, although both oncologists indicated that we could consider chemo for prophylactic purposes if we wanted to. We researched that possibility and decided against it with both oncologists concurring. Kobi has had multiple post op check-ups including chest x-rays and has been fine since the surgery.