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Leo's Life on 3 Legs

A 6-year-old cat's journey after a hemipelvectomy

Day 8

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I apologize for a lack of update for those who may have been waiting for one, I have just been so busy!

The first few days after surgery were definitely not easy. Leo was very sleepy for the first few days, and although otherwise pretty good, he absolutely refused to eat or drink for days 2-6 post-amp. He would eat a couple dry treats I offered, but capped himself at 2 a day it seemed. I tried different treats, every smelly wet food I could find, I tried several flavors of baby food, and I even tried a truly disgusting mixture of baby food, tuna water and mashed up tuna chunks, all watered down with chicken broth. You’d think that would be a cat’s dream (less of a dream for his seafood-detesting owner :p ), but Leo was simply not having it.

Increasingly concerned he was going to become dangerously dehydrated and/or starve, I resorted to force feeding him using a 10 mL syringe. A member here (Holly, bless!) suggested a meal replacement formula made by Pet Ag called CatSure. My local PetSmart did not carry this particular formula, but I did find a similar one made by GNC there. I also picked up a calorie booster paste made by GNC there as well. I think he was not a fan of the paste (it didn’t seem very palatable…), as he fought that more than the syringe, but I just wanted to get as much food in him as I could (because it wasn’t much). It was not a fun process, but I was at least able to get some nutrition and hydration into my poor boy this way. I am lucky to have a job which allows me to work from home if need be, but working remotely is still indeed work, and it was very stressful to try juggling that and force feeding your cat every hour or so. I don’t write this to frighten anyone who may be going through this soon themselves, but just to prepare yourself for the task ahead. If you are able, I highly recommend you take off work for at least a couple days after bringing your amputee home!

Yesterday morning (Day 7 post-amp), we at last had a breakthrough when Leo started eating on his own. He has since been doing remarkably better, and is more active and seems more comfortable and his normal self. I was never more relieved than I was to wake up to him munchin’ away, and he kept going back for more a few times throughout the day!

This afternoon we drove back up to Flint for our follow up appointment, and to go over the biopsy results. Leo apparently amassed a fan club during his time at Animal Surgical Center of MI, as several technicians stopped by to give him some love and let me know how much they enjoyed having such a sweet patient. I was a very proud cat momma (:

I had prepared myself for the worst, and I got something close. The biopsy revealed Leo was struck with an extremely malignant case of osteosarcoma that is practically unheard of in cats. They were able to remove the tumor entirely with the surgery, and did not find signs on metastasis in the surrounding soft tissue. Chemo is an option to try and make sure it does not return, but it is not at all guaranteed to do anything at all and very expensive. Without further treatment according to the most cited study of this particular form of cancer in cats, median lifespan is a little over 4 years. If I elected to do chemo, we’d have to go back every 3-4 weeks for 6 treatments, which I think would be rough on both of us physically and unfortunately, financially for me as I could barely afford the amputation surgery itself being a young, single person still very early in their career. ):

Because there are no signs of mets in Leo’s lungs, which in cats is typically the first place they appear outside the initial tumor, I have decided not to go through with chemo for now. We will be going back to ASC in early April for another checkup with Dr. Walshaw and do some more radiographs to check for signs of mets, unless anything changes before then.

It’s not an idilc situation, but I am heartened at such a long prognosis even without treatment, as well as Leo’s positive change in mood and behavior the last two days. He is a happy cat with a very strong and light spirit, and I hope I will get those 4 years with him. I will continue to share updates and advice for the post-amp life as they come!

It doesn’t look very comfy to me, but I think he’s enjoying himself :p


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5 Comments

  1. THANK YOU for the update! No need to apologize we totally get how this is! We have all been thru it and it’s not easy to juggle much other then our animal recovering. I was concerned and thought I would just pester you and just ask;) YEAH YEAH 🎉🎉, Im so happy to hear this! Leo is eating on his own and comfortable, I was thinking it was the meds they sent you home with the Onsior making him not eat. Leo is onto recovery now! YEAh for you both and Zooey. You did great getting him thru this!! You got great news no mets! Chemo is not for everyone and there is nothing wrong for opting out. Its not a guarantee either way. Leo is healing and got rid of that pain! The rest is just statistics, This may never go farther! Stay pawsitive ok! Leo needs you pawsitive and you have every reason to be right now. Nasty cancer is been taken off! We will stay pawsitive it stays off! Leo Looks so happy and relaxed laying on his back!
    If you need anything just reach out ok. Jump on the forum or you can private message any of us. Your never alone in this. We absolutey care!
    I will watch for your updates. As you can see I was;)
    Hugs!!
    Give Leo and Zooey chin and ear scratches & Extra Treats!!
    Holly & Purrkins😻

  2. Leo is a LOVE!!! As you know, not eating for cats can lead to Fatty Liver disease which is fatal after a few days. Syringe feeding is critical to prevent that so good job!!! Your vet should have suggested Hill’s Science Diet A/D which is a critical care food that vets use all of the time for both dogs and cats. It is, simply put, a LIFESAVER. You can order it on Amazon. It is a high calorie essential food that you can feed small portions of and is easily syringe fed due to its consistency. Cats and dogs LOVE it. ( And it is not that expensive! )

  3. Sorry for the bad news on the cancer, but it sounds like you guys are well positioned for a bright future! We will keep our fingers and paws crossed for you! I think you made the right call on the chemotherapy, personally – it sounds like it would have been a huge burden on your little family, poor Leo was already struggling with the surgery aftermath, and the benefit is very uncertain. Especially since the surgeon had good news about it not spreading!! Leo is lucky to have such a loving, caring buddy to keep looking out for him <3 Best of luck to you!!!

  4. Honestly, I think that if I had been given the 4 year statistic, I would do the exact same thing you are doing – just letting Leo be a cat. And, it sounds like he is ready to be getting back to his normal routine, which is great news!

  5. Your love for Leo comes shining through with every word AND with every action! You clearly know him best and have his best interest at heart.:-)

    Leo’s blog is very hely for anyone starting this journey. Among other things, it shows that, although recovery can be rough, it does get better!!

    Thanks for the update. Can’t wait to see more pictures of Leo getting with loving life!! Enjoy the gift! 🙂

    Hugs!

    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

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