Is the big 2 months since amputation, and time flies. It feels only been a month because of all the back and forth with the clinic due to his balance issues, and the hydrotherapy.
If we look at what he does, things seems to be normal. He will go out every morning in the garden, he will climb up the stairs for food. He will meow at you wanting to play with the stick. He is able to follow you in the house, and eating normally, or even finishing the food my other cat didn’t want.
It seems normal, but there are things he still cannot do. He develops a very weird way going down stairs, perhaps he is afraid to bang his head. He will cling on the end of stairs and throw his back down, and rolls a few steps down, then he clings on the stairs again with his front paw. So when I start seeing him moving his body towards the stairs, I will call the command ‘one, two, three’, it means I will pick him up and transport him downstairs.
He cannot play with ribbons anymore because he cannot run. He will slowly walk, but no longer running. He is very careful with walking, and you know it might fall at some point. He is not too stress about it, but he still has difficulties with balancing if he get up from a lying position. He will cry and ask for help
The hydrotherapy helps us, from him needing help with walking every steps, to giving him independence. We are absolutely grateful; but we are still adapting to the new life.
It seems not long ago we thought we will lose him to cancer, but when you see him sunbathing in the garden, it’s worth everything.
We went back to Fitzpatrick yesterday. Mui needs her chemo check up( Mui is our other cat who unfortunately diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and currently on chemo) on her blood counts. And I decided Dao is going in as well as I discovered a lump between his shoulder blade.
Dao had his vaccination just 1 month ago, and if I discovered the lump at that time, I would have told our local vet then. however, if I didn’t it means it had develop since the vaccination. Did you ever since the amputation or any medicial situation you went to the Internet and basically read everyone on there? Yup, that’s me. And based on the location of the lump, I suspected it can be a sarcoma and brought dao with me, squeezing in for a X-ray check up and asking for some opinions.
Nick (our oncologist ) came to see us, and examine Dao. He thinks it is in the wrong skin layer for a sarcoma and think it might be a reaction to the vaccine. He took some sample and sent it off to the lab for some results. We shal hear next week.
I know many readers might or might not be relying on the chemo after a cancer diagnosis, maybe is the money. Maybe we just didn’t want our beloved to go through a hard time. I did think whether I did the right thing bringing Dao there, it is not easy. First with 2 cats , and to put them through a 3 hour journey. But nothing better being reassure that it is ok. So I took the decision and took them back. The good thing was, Dao accompanied Mui and they share the same pad when they were admitted, it helped Mui to calm down a lot. Is nice to see such little touch by the clinic.
How much is anyone willing to pay for their cats treatment? I used to think I’m going to be sensible. But it is very hard when you just want to know they are ok. The vet bill is piling up now, and we used up our insurance allowance (on Mui). We didn’t insure Dao and even he’s insured, he has super long list of exclusions added to it (we tried) making him not favourable for any claims.
Dao did climb on my lap during the driving, and I had him in one arm and the other on my wheels (bad bad bad). He is so cute when he just need a hug
Thank you for everyone who left a comment here. It is great to see so much support.
Because I am writing this blog backwards, I want to share our experience in coping with a tripawds cat.
You might be reading from other stories, that they cope well on 3 legs, and many would be jumping around as soon as they are allowed to. Dao dao is the unfortunate one who did not cope well, or we already brace ourselves that he might not be back to himself.
From the worst to now, I am very grateful that he managed all on his own. Dao has a super temperament, he is very gentle and kind, and will mingle with strangers and cope well in a strange environment. For example, he gives headbutts to the nurses in the vet clinic once he was off his methadone… He would listen to the car noise, and come and greet you at the door. Or he would lead you to the water tap and meow at you to open the tab… it shows you what type of character he is
This is a video after one week he had his stitches removed, and as you can see, he lost all his balance and struggled. He could not walk straight, cried a lot, and need help in walking without falling.
When we first had the amputation, our surgeon reassured he can climb trees.. walk and behave normally. And you can understand how we felt when after the surgery, he just could not walk. We showed this video to the clinic, and they asked us to go back to them immediately for further scan. The Head of oncology, the vet in charge, also examined him and found weakness in his front limbs. He was then x-ray and seen by 2 neurologists who confirmed he is ok in the neurology function.
We then asked for opinions what to do next, and at the very beginning after the surgery, physio is suggested to us. I declined it (just like Chemotherapy) because I thought it was not necessary. too many people wrote how well their cat and dogs coped after losing the leg, and I thought it would happen to Dao. Even later, at this specialist clinic, we found out we might be the only one who suffered from this out of all the amputation surgery.
Hydrotherapy, is suggested by the vet. Without other options, we took it. . And it seems like miracle happens.. it worked! Yes, you throw a cat in a water treadmill, and 5 sessions later.. he can walk again!!
(please click link to have a look. unable to show in this community blog)
They also have success with a cat who was paralysed, and they said it depends how well the cat will co-operate as well.
For hydrotherapy, there is 2 types, one is swimming..
dao went for the treadmill because he was very afraid being thrown into the water.. and also, because of the way how cope with his balance, he flips in water which is very dangerous in the water situation.
The cat is first put inside the treadmill and get used to, before water is introduced and flood slowly. They will have water up to the neck level first,and cats can only stand for maybe maximum 3-4 of treadmill before they give up.
We had intensive hydrotherapy sessions, one is because Cat cannot stay too long in water, they just give up when they like it (unlike dogs.. who can stay for 30 mins), and also, it is good to relearn his skills a few times during the day, so we went there twice a week for 5 half-day sessions. It is a bit of drive, 45 mins there and 45 mins back. Do you find cats hate the car journey, but once this whole medical journey begins, they cooperate? We finally found a way for Dao to travel long distance, is to bring his Hello Kitty blanket with him, wrap him up inside it, and one person to do the driving and the other person holds him. If I am the only one going to Hydrotherapy, he would sit on my lap, and I left with only 1 hand on the steering wheel! But he stops crying hard and stop becoming upset in the journey…
it is amazing that Dao regain his balance with hydrotherapy, and he managed to walk up the stairs after the first session, and while typing this post, i let him out in the garden with steps to climb up and down.
During the hydrotherapy, they explained because his amputation was so high up, he will always lost his balance.. Dao will need to cope with the disability but so far, he is adjusting to it.
Many people question if we know Dao will lose his balance forever, will we still go ahead with amputation? We will say yes, it saves his life and we have him back with us.
Let me introduce our cat, Dao Dao, meaning Mr Bean in Cantonese. He is adopted by us after I spotted him on an advert online, we were lucky to have him in the last 7 years (and now).
Our journey begins around 3 months ago in London, when Dao started limping on his hind right leg. I ignored it because our other cat, Mui had a bit of limping problem and it went away after 3 months, she was checked out by the vet and was cleared. Dao had a bit of cat fights and had ear infection and I was not happy to take him back to the vet again so soon. Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away and I was required in the funeral overseas, and my husband insisted bringing him to the vet to make sure he was ok.
At the initial diagnosis, the vet thought he might broke his bone because he can feel there is something in his leg. He suspected probably it was half-way healing and hence it was inflamed. We scheduled for an X-Ray appointment the next morning. X-ray showed he had a tumour and amputation was needed. I was not there because I was at the funeral, and based on a friend’s recommendation, and the hope to save his leg, we managed an appointment with Fitzpatrick referrals. (I’ll talk about Fitzpatrick in a separate post)
We were told to save him, we need to amputate his leg. To make it worse, it was so high up into the leg, and it went into the pelvis as well. We did not have an option for a limb saving surgery that the referral is world-famous for. It was not the easiest decision to make, given that I was 13 hours flight away on the phone listening in the diagnosis, and my grandfather burial the next day. In the end, we made the decision to go ahead with the surgery, but my husband wanted me to be there, so the surgery is scheduled 10 days later. We were told this type of cancer will not spread that quickly, and at least I have some time with Dao before we welcome a tripawds home.
As I am writing this, the rehabilitation journey was long, because we had a few complications. This is just the first post about Dao and his new life as tripawds
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