The Truth About Tri-Paws: Studies Find That Many Pets Can Thrive Without a Limb

The survey revealed that 89 percent of the felines had a normal quality of life following amputation. Although it did take longer for cats to bounce back from the procedure compared to dogs, with owners reporting an average time period of two to six weeks following surgery. When the owners were asked if they'd agree to have a limb amputated in another cat, 94 percent of them said that they would if it was necessary.

Physical and Emotional Support Post-Surgery

I would be a very happy oncologist if I never had to discuss amputation with a pet’s family again. But there is some encouraging work being done to help fit tri-paw pets with prosthetics.

Following the amputation of the diseased portion of bone, the prosthesis is inserted into the healthy section of bone, and then the skin and muscles are attached to the prosthesis. Once the pet’s leg bone heals directly into the implanted prosthesis, which takes about five to six weeks, an artificial foot is attached to the implanted component of the prosthesis.

If you find yourself faced with having to decide whether to amputate a pet's limb, don't be shy about relying on your veterinarian for help — as well as your family for emotional support.

There are also several online communities for tri-paw pet owners, including Tripawds and Canine Amputees, which can be invaluable resources.

Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, a practicing veterinarian for 25 years, is board-certified in both oncology and internal medicine. She maintains her clinical practice at The Animal Medical Center in New York City, providing primary care to her long-term patients and specialty care to pets with cancer and blood disorders.


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