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Limb Amputation in Cats

By: Dr. Nicholas Trout

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Bone tumors are often painful and thus your cat may actually feel better soon after the limb is removed. Assisting a cat to get up and around after an amputation can be challenging. Most cats are able to ambulate after surgery without problems, but they may have some problems jumping on their favorite perches. Your cat may need some time to adapt to the limb being gone, but this is something it will usually learn on his own.

Generally it is easier for a cat to adapt to a hindleg amputation than a forelimb amputation, because cats bear more weight on their front legs than their rear legs.

Make sure that your cat remains indoors until the surgical site has healed and the stitches have been removed. Check the surgical incision daily for swelling, redness or discharge. Bruising around the incision is common and there may be some fluid accumulation in certain areas of the incision that require hot packing. To perform hot packing you may take a face cloth, run it under warm water that you can just tolerate, wring it dry and then apply it to the swollen area (not directly on the incision) for a few minutes, 2 to 3 times a day. The swelling should resolve within a few days to a week. Notify your veterinarian if you are planning to hot pack an area of the surgical site and have him/her check it if necessary.

Stitches or staples can be removed in 10-14 days.

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