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.

Love,

Alana and Crepes.

 

 

My Vet Visit and What Is Traumeel?

You guys!

First, I’m ok. Nothing serious, but you know I’d rather bathe the dog than visit one of those offices. And yet, I remained stalwart and brave during my visit, and I did not flinch. No, I did not let them see me flinch.

Editor’s note: She sure didn’t, because she hid in her carrier and wouldn’t let anyone see her face.

Me, traveling in style

Me, traveling in style (Editor’s Note: strike “traveling,” insert “hiding”

Let me recap my visit for you in a scientific way:

Reason: MomFOD decided to take me to the doctor because I’ve been exhibiting symptoms of frustration lately. I have chewed, nay “barbered,” the fur on my stump and existing hind leg. I have been cranky with the other cats, and I, um, watered my mom’s outwear.

Editor’s Note: She peed on my jacket.

Method: I got into my pod and went to the doctor for a thorough physical exam.

Note the doctor's keen interest in my stump.

Note the doctor’s keen interest in my stump. Fascinating, I know.

Conclusion: The doctor says I am likely suffering from some pain in my stump and also overuse of my hind leg. She has put me on anti-inflammation pills for the next week to see if this alleviates my symptoms. I don’t know why she didn’t just ask me how I was feeling. I could have told her.

Here’s the scoop on what we’re using:

Name: Traumeel (it was named in Germany)

What is it: A homeopathic mixture of plant and mineral extracts that are used to treat acute musculoskeletal injuries. It’s been available in other countries for more than sixty years and includes Atropa belladonna, Echinacea, Arnica montana, Matricaria recutita, Calendula officinalisAchillea millefolium, Mercurius solubilis, and Hepar sulfuris

Why use it? It’s getting an excellent reputation as an alternative to NSAIDS and cortisone and seems to have useful anti-inflammatory properties without the side effects. It helps alleviate joint pain, muscle pain, and other pain from injuries related to sprains, strains, and injuries.

How to use it: It can be given in pill form (whole or crushed), injection, gels and creams.

Considerations: Make sure you or your pet aren’t allergic to anything in the Traumeel. If using this with your pet, please get your veterinarian’s advice prior to administering it. It is also useful for people, but you’d need to consult your own people doctor for that.

The doctor gave it to me because she thought perhaps I banged my stump and have an acute inflammation. I will be on it for five days.

Have you ever used Traumeel? What do you think?

Love,

Crepes.

PS  Is the vet gone yet?

crepes sleepypodeye

Sources and further reading:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085232/

http://www.drugs.com/cdi/traumeel-ointment.html

 

**Disclaimer: Please do not treat your pets with anything without consulting your veterinarian. This is not advice to treat your pet; We are merely sharing our experience with you and introducing you to what we’ve learned.**