Pain Management: Understanding Your Pet’s Missing Limb

Dear World,

Today, I invite in MomFOD to discuss the current state of my stump.

Crepes at the Doctor

Crepes at the Doctor

Thanks, Crepes. Alana here. We thought it would be easier for me to discuss this since Crepes is still processing the news.

When we adopted Crepes, we knew she was missing a foot. How that occurred was still a mystery. Judging from the fact that she arrived at the rescue that way and also had a sibling that was missing a front limb, all signs pointed to a congenital defect. Since we adopted her, we have been monitoring her progress, making sure we cared for her stump and watching her grow into an able-bodied kitty who could manage to jump quite high with only one leg. We’ve also been periodically getting her checked for alignment and balance problems, since we knew that only one side of her rear musculature was getting any use.

Recently, we noticed that she was clearly in a lot of pain. She began to chew the fur off her stomach, her rear normal leg, and even her front elbow. A few months ago, we did a quick course of Traumeel, which seemed to help alleviate some of the pain. We attempted to keep her on Cosequin, an anti-inflammatory for cats, but it tended to make her herpes flare up. Without any pain meds, her pain got worse, and consequently, so did her temperament. She was no longer her happy self.

Crepes' barbered leg

Crepes’ barbered leg

After another visit to the doctor, we decided to do full-body x-rays to rule out early-onset arthritis or any internal issues. They did not show any of those, but what they did show was that Crepes’ issue was far more pronounced than we’d ever guessed.

We had always noticed that her less useful hip was smaller, but we assumed that it was the lack of muscle because of disuse. Such is not the case.

Inside Crepes

Inside Crepes

This is Crepes’ xray. Notice her hips – they are not only showing some curvature to one side, but the one on the left of this photo shows that her hip socket never properly formed, nor did the bone that fits into it. Essentially, her hip bone is never in the right place.

Look at the knee

Look at the knee

Additionally, if we look at her knee there, we can see that her kneecap is in the wrong place and is about an inch lower than is should be.

This all means that her injury is almost certainly congenital, meaning she was born this way. Unfortunately, it also means that she is probably suffering from quite a bit of discomfort. But what can we do about it?

For now, we are doing another, longer-term course of Traumeel. After two weeks on it, her disposition has changed dramatically. She is no longer persistently showing signs of anger and she’s running around and playing with toys for the first time in months. If the pain management no longer works, we may have to consider future surgical options.

If your pet is missing a limb, keep in mind that it’s important to have regularly veterinary check ups to make sure that the injury isn’t translating up the chain into back, neck, or other pain. The loss one one limb requires compensation by the others, meaning your pet might be suffering from muscle imbalances, overuse injuries, or misalignment of joints.

Signs of Pain:

  • Change in temperament
  • Chewing or “barbering” the fur off a certain area
  • Favoring a limb
  • Aggression and not wanting to be touched

Remember that cats hide pain well. For an excellent article and a more complete list of how to recognize and deal with pain, check out this article from the Cat Hospital of Chicago.

We’ll keep you updated on Crepes’ situation. For now, please treat her as normal. She gets annoyed with too much babying.


Alana and Crepes.



16 thoughts on “Pain Management: Understanding Your Pet’s Missing Limb

  1. Poor Crepes but is good to know that she is being well cared for. Thanks for the good tips about what to watch for as cats are so good at hiding pain, and mom learned some of these the hard way. Love Dolly

  2. I am surprised they didn’t suggest taking the leg off all together. Not that I don’t trust you and your vets to do what is in Crepes best interest, but I do find this all very fascinating.. thank you for sharing

  3. Sweet girl!! Crepes, you are very brave (and very pretty, even when you are at the Doctor and look upset about it). And thanks for sharing such good info–cats definitely are masters at hiding when they are pain. As always, a wonderful and informative article.

  4. stock…we iz troo lee sorree ya haz been havin a ruff time oh it late lee ~~~~ we will ask R pal St Francis ta send sum good feeling, pain free vibez yur way…we hope yur current treet mint plan werkz for a long looong, loooooooong time two come & ya haz lotz oh days a head that R pain free ♥♥♥

  5. Weez sendin’ purrayers. Wunner how these xrays line up wiff earlier ones. Wuld be innerestin’ to see da purrgwession. Weez hope she be fine and dandy inn no time.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

  6. Our hearts go out to you Alana as there is not much worse than seeing your kitty in pain. Kudos for the help you’ve provided. Shoko is in Crepes corner and is hoping that the pain meds keep working but we realize that being on them constantly can cause other problems.

    Big hugs form all of us.

  7. Oh, Crepes! Cousin Earl is sending lots of specially strong healing thoughts your direction, and we are, too. Thanks for updating us. We are sure your vet will be on top of making sure you’re feeling better and will help keep you your feisty self as much as possible.

Stumps up? Stumps down? What are your thoughts?