We wanted to update Purrkins blog for anyone who does not do the forums and for family and friends. If you saw the forum news disregard our blog update;)
Purrkins had his 1-year restaging check-up at MSU We are in the clear!! YAAAY Purrkins is STILL CANCER FREE !!
We are hopping into our 1-year ampuversay! YAAAAAAY no cancer showing up ZIP! YAAAAAAY🎉🎉🎉🎊🎊🎆
X-rays & ultrasound unremarkable, bloodwork was good, but we have one ALT off, it’s only off by three numbers, but it has doubled since his last recheck, Oncologist wants to recheck it in one month to see if it changes one way or another. I emailed our Dr. Matt his reply
“The ALT is one of the leakest of liver enzymes and can fluctuate. I absolutely would not be alarmed by this and would say let’s just recheck it in a few months and monitor a trend.”
So that’s the plan:) Dr. Matt is the best & don’t be alarmed;) You think he knows us?;)
Purrkins has mild tartar on his teeth so we will need to get those cleaned! We can tie in the CBC with his teeth cleaning!
MSU Oncology would like to check Purrkins every six months for blood work and x-rays, we will now go to a yearly ultrasound! YAAAY & YAAAY & YAAAY!
We are SOOOOO RELIEVED & SOOOOOO THANKFUL!
We stopped at Starbucks for a Purrpuccino to celebrate on our way home! We did bring one home for Saxton too:)
Purrkins has the naked belly again!
Clipper crazy ugh yeah!
The appointment at MSU takes a toll on this household! Both the boys and both the humans! I do not know if there is a be more dog or cat in these scenario’s because that does not apply to these appointments?!? It is stressful for all!
We have the stalking behavior and hissing and swatting when only one goes to the Vet! One kitty, in this case, Purrkins comes home smelling not like Purrkins! See Saxton stalking him? UGH, Cats & their senses!! That does not smell like my brother?!?!
We usually avoid that entire mess by taking them both! Our mistake we left Saxton at home!
We are so happy to be spacing these appointments out further and further!
I do have to say we treat Purrkins & Saxton as we would human children! There is NO way we feel we can not recheck him!?! He had cancer (low-grade sts) we took it off! If something else goes wrong or shows up, we will catch it and hopefully be able to help him! If he were a human child, we would do the same thing, and none of us would like it, this is the same scenario in our book!
Purrkins sleeping this was him the entire day after the appointment! What I’m not showing you is we looked about the same way;) It takes its toll!
This journey is not easy by any means! It comes with a lot of worries and believe it or not it comes with a lot of great life lessons! Slow down and enjoy do not take anyone for granted! Life is too short for all of us! Be grateful for every single day! We sure are!
Purrkins is hopping into his one year ampuversary the 27th!? One year already ?!?!?
A lot lighter too:) See the difference?
We will keep this PAWTY going!! Even upside down;)
THANK YOU ALL for the pawsitive thoughts and prayers! For cheering us on & going with us! Tripawds & the members! Well, it just does not get any better, the support, understanding & love!
Purrkins & Saxton celebrated their 7th birthday on June 30th!
We had a little pawty for them with gifts, hats and special food;) The pawty hats did not go over very well;) We did get a shot of Purrkins in his before he tried eating the string! 🙄 Cats 😉
They got their favorite Yeoww catnip toys and a huge fish they had fun digging in the bags and tissue paper. If you have cats and they are reactive to catnip these are the best catnip toys! Yeooow, the boys, smell them in the box when they arrive!
Purrkins would eat Tuna every day if his mom were not so fussy about what he ingests.
Special occasions Mom bends the rules this was one of those occasions!
They both had Tuna & Salmon for supper! They had little unlit cat candles too LOL.
We have been working on a new disc for core strength with Purrkins. I showed pictures in a previous post, it came with instructions for dogs, and we are just following those;)
Cats can do these too! Here is the proof;)
We go for our 1-year restaging appointment on Friday to MSU oncology! UGH
We are asking the Tripawd Nation & family for pawsitive energy and prayers for the 7th at 8:30 am.
Back to the reality of this all on Friday! A day I absolutely dread!
I will bury all of my fear and anxiety for Purrkins sake!
When we get the all clear again, we will go back to breathing & hopping on!
As you can see Purrkins isn’t worried about a thing!
We will be updating again soon to celebrate our 1-year ampuversary which is on the 27th of this month!
DIY Baby Onesie/T-shirts Cone of Shame Alternative
( For Future Tri-kitties this is what we did)
How to make a baby onesie for recovery for a front leg amputation kitty. Please ask your surgeon before the surgery if this is allowed and get the ok from them! We did, and we got approval.
The first challenge was what size do I buy?
We looked at weight charts for baby onesies, and I got 03-06 months based on the size chart for Purrkins. These worked, but they were way too big, they shifted all over. Don’t go by the weight chart this was not accurate for cats;)
I ended up getting a smaller size 0-3 months onesies and t-shirts. These fit better and shifted less.
I checked the incision 2 x a day & changed the onesie or t-shirt daily.
I would say 0-3 months size for the average kitty. Under 10 lbs I would look at the newborn size! (Like human clothes size differs depending on the manufacturer)
The onesie’s I cut the bottom off, I cut both arms off, the limb that was amputated was sewn shut. The one arm I cut to allow no restriction to Purrkins.
The t-shirts I cut some off the bottom and both arms off and sewed the amputated limb shut. They both did the job & kept Purrkins from getting to the incision.
Fair warning these stretch like crazy! Sewing and cutting and writing may not be purrfect. I promise your kitty doesn’t care & will be happy they are not in a cone!
Amazon has them for cheap or your local Walmart or Goodwill. If you shop Goodwill make sure to wash them first;) If you shop Amazon start your search on Tripawds you will be supporting Tripawds to keep us online;)
You will need
Baby onesie or baby t-shirt
Needle & thread
Optional sewing straight pins
I outlined what I did below – I hope this is self-explanatory
I turned them inside out, and hand sewed the amputated arm shut.
The non amputated arm is optional if you cut it.
I found Purrkins did better with cutting both arms off!
Nothing is perfect as you can see😉
See why I cut the one arm out? Purrkins has no restriction in the DIY onesie
Now I have an excuse to Post how cute Purrkins looked again;)
Hope this helps you and your recovering tri-kitty!
Any questions? Post a comment & I will get back to you!
We have hopped into our 8th almost into our 9 months technically.
Purrkins has lost 1.56 lbs. 🎉👏🏻👏🏻So far we are looking at having him lose 1 1/2 lb more.
Purrkins is at 180 calories a day.
Saxton is down 1/2 lb. They have different metabolisms obviously poor Saxton had to be reduced in calories once again. Saxton is at 172 calories. 😾
Purrkins & Saxton both went to see Dr. Matt for their Tune up’s acupuncture and if needed chiropractic. It has been three months since their last treatment.
Saxton goes for his IBS/Constipation issues a bad gut! I am a huge believer in Acupuncture and Chiropractic after seeing the results on both of our guys! It is miraculous to see the change in them after each session!
We let Purrkins out of his carrier, and he is at home in Dr. Matt’s office, This is very rare for our kitties to be so relaxed and show their purrsonality.
I think we kitty owners usually are the only ones who really know and get to see who our kitties are. Purrkins is showing Dr. Matt precisely who he is!
Purrkins rubs up against Dr. Matt, he stood up on his back two and checked on his brother who was getting his treatment, he roams around the office, He was weaving in out of chairs up and over the stretcher of the chairs.
Dr. Matt smiles, “look he is doing an obstacle course look at him go” “Really great to see”!
It just warms my heart, we are always in awe of Purrkins but when Dr. Matt is smiling away in awe of him!😍
I think Purrkins is teaching Dr. Matt a few things:)
I continue to say this; it is worth repeating!
” We never could have imagined Purrkins to do this well on 3 legs!” We would have been happy with Purrkins just hopping on. He has surpassed anything we could have imagined!
He is an inspiration! We could not be more proud of this guy!
In the last 2 weeks, I could see Purrkins hop looked off. It is hard for me to explain what I mean, but I knew it was different.
His head was going lower to the ground as he hopped and his shoulder looked higher. His gait was off. He looked uncomfortable to me.
Purrkins was still playing and acting normally. In fact, the boy does not skip a beat. He goes like he has four legs! Precisely why things would get misaligned.
Dr. Matt checked Purrkins, and he was out of alignment in 4 areas.
Atlas- 1st vertebra of the neck, carries the head)
These are all typical of being a Tripawd.
Purrkins loves his sessions with Dr. Matt he lays and lets Dr. Matt do whatever to him.
As Dr. Matt adjusted him we could see Purrkins wince each time, then a release in his little eyes, he never complains. My heart skips a beat with each wince, but I do follow his lead!
We will follow up in 2 months now instead of 3.
Here is Mr. Purrkins playing with kitty boinks, I made a slow motion too. How neat is that to see?
We made the video below to share our journey. Hopefully, this will help future Tri-kitties and their humans!
Purrkins Amputation Journey
Until our next update, we are happily hopping on into our 9 month 😸
Purrkins has been a tripawd for 7 months. Wow, where does the time go???
We started our diets in November for both Purrkins and brother Saxton.
We calculated the calories and write everything they eat down. Including treats!
I have a notebook out and just keep everything tallied.
We had to keep making adjustments to get these guys to lose weight. We actually gained ounces when we first started!🤢 Every week we weigh them, then tweaked the calories, we are now at 185 calories Purrkins has lost 1/2 lb!😃
Ok, you won’t be excited about 1/2 lb but let me say how excited we are!👏🏻👏🏻🎉 If you have cats, you will be excited about 1/2 lb each week we are losing ounces! We are excited about ounces lost! Slow weight loss is best for cats!
So, for now, we are staying at the 185 calories if each week we continue to lose we will just stay here until we are at a good weight. We can evaluate each week.
Unfortunately, it took Purrkins losing his arm to get serious and figure this weight loss out! We have tried everything in the past – different foods, different proteins, high fiber, we have gone by the suggested feeding amount from the vets, from the labels. The calorie counting is the only thing that has worked for us to date.
We are still on the same food we have just cut the calories back very gradual.
This is the website we followed the directions on for calories and reduction. Very INFORMATIVE site.
Saxton is not losing like Purrkins; we had to cut his calories back again now to 180. 😾 Hopefully, this will be his key number.
Soft Tissue Sarcoma- what it looked like and how it changes
This is how we started this journey, and I would like people to see what this Soft Tissue Sarcoma looks like and how it changes this is how Purrkins became a tripawd.
One day Purrkins came and laid his paw out, he put it on my hand! It was if he said hey Mom look something Is not right here!
Paw is bent this is at its largest size
I saw this lump, and my heart sank what is that??? Where did that come from? I felt it, he was not bothered by prodding it. We called the vet immediately and got an appointment for the next day.
February 23rd the next day it looks like nothing ?? The day we see the vet and see what this is.
The vet said wow how did you even see this with all his fur. He had never seen anything like this on a cat in this location. Is he limping at all? NO
We did a needle biopsy and some bloodwork.
Biopsy comes back as below. Inconclusive as it has different considerations.
When the vet called me with the results, he said it’s not cancer its a form of a bursa.
Ok, great! I was so relieved! I asked could you please send me the results so I can have a copy.
( ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA TO GET A COPY)
With the results above and now, the lump seems to be going away.
The Vet said we could do a wait and see approach, or try steroids and wait and see. We have been prescribed steroids in our other animals a couple of times and prefer not to use them unless we have to. We chose the wait and see approach.
I took pictures of this thing every day for months!
This lump changed depending on Purrkins activity level.
The 2nd lump has appeared its hard to see but its there, above the round lump
Back to the vet we go!
He rechecks and confirms yes another lump, but he still was thinking it could be related to the first one.
( Bursa, Injury, swelling now affecting the above)
I asked them to do an X-ray to see if we could see anything more.
X-ray showed nothing, most importantly there was no bone involvement.
He then said he would like to do a surgical biopsy. I panicked over the surgical biopsy, little did I know what was to come!
We were afraid if it was, in fact, a bursa, we could do more damage with the surgical biopsy.
We were not comfortable, so we set out to get more information we got two more opinions. One from our Holistic vet, one from another local surgeon. I did an online vet opinion total of 4 opinions, all say to do the surgical biopsy and find out what this is.
Hopefully, you can get the lump off when its small before it goes further.
Ok, we have a plan we scheduled the surgical biopsy with the local surgeon rather than his local vet.
We took Purrkins in for his surgical biopsy. June 14th,2016
We took him in the morning and picked him up late afternoon.
The Surgeon (Dr.Zarka) plan was to go in and take all or as much of the main lump as possible and biopsy the second, when she got into the surgery she was not prepared to see what she saw! It was entangled, and cottage cheese like.
She took a good wedge sample and closed it back up!
WHAT WE LEARNED ON A NEEDLE BIOPSY- PLEASE HEAR ME! IF SOMETHING IS INCONCLUSIVE, GO FURTHER AND FIND OUT WHAT you are DEALING WITH!
If we could go back, we would have skipped the needle biopsy and have done the surgical biopsy. It was a delay in the diagnosis and time for cancer to be growing. It was a waste of time and money. I totally understand the less invasive procedure!
I do not believe we would choose that route again!
Purrkins did great thru the surgery he was given a time release pain med & a long-lasting antibiotic, he came home dopey but wired! He stayed up 2 days! Which meant we were up for 2 days ;). He did not need a cone, we were sent home with a soft fabric cone just in case.
He was the purrfect patient never once bothered his incision.
We limited his activity. It went way better then I could have imagined it too.
Surgical biopsy pictures
The Vet called Mark and told him the results are back. She was very sorry she had terrible news. It is CANCER a soft tissue sarcoma!
Mark and were just sick! I cried my heart out.
We took Purrkins back to get his stitches removed.
The vet mentioned amputation immediately and then proceeded to tell us how well cats can adjust on 3 legs.
My eyes about popped out of my head. What? This bump and you want to cut off his entire leg?
I’m just absorbing the cancer diagnosis, and now we are talking about amputation of his entire front leg?
He is only 6 and healthy how can this be? Mark and I always have described Purrkins as the most loving, sweetest, gentlest soul! He is my velcro man!
Why-why-why! Of course with any cancer or disease, we get angry and sad and then have a million questions!
She referred us to Michigan State Veterinary Clinic Oncology.
July/05/16 That appointment seemed to take FUREVER to come on the other hand I didn’t really want it to happen. I was scared to death!
Appointment day came with oncology at MSU – They explain the soft tissue sarcoma diagnosis and that they want to do an ultrasound, chest X-ray, blood work, and urinalysis. Before we even talk about any options.
Soft Tissue sarcoma if it had the chance to spread it would go to the lungs. They want to rule that out first.
We leave Purrkins for the day. That was a HORRIFIC, LONG, STRESSFUL DAY!
MSU called Purrkins is done we can come get him and discuss all the results.
The chest X-ray, ultrasound and bloodwork all results came back with no apparent spread. Although it was mentioned, it still could have spread and its too early for it to be showing up. (microscopic cells)
Our options going forward are surgery to remove as much of the 2 masses as possible.
Followed by radiation 16-20 treatments that would be every day Monday thru Friday weekends off. Purrkins would have to be sedated daily. With a guarantee of 2 years of keeping it under control. The cost of surgery would be $1400 cost of radiation would be between $7,000 – $9,000.
If the cancer returns we could then amputate $2,000-2,500
Our other option was to amputate now.
We wanted the best quality of life possible for Purrkins the first option did not sit well. Purrkins having another surgery and then 16-20 daily treatments!
The toll it would take on him, surgery, going every day, being sedated daily for a 2-year guarantee?
Then we still would have an option to amputate later if the cancer returns.
Put 7-9,000 dollars into a leg we could then cut off later? What? The role of money and this world is what it is. Everything has a cost! That’s the worst when we are looking at health issues for our animals or our family members!
We looked at this at every angle there was, and without the cost playing a role into our decision, yes it had to be considered this is the real world, but we wanted what was best for our Purrkins and for him to have the best quality of life he could! We would borrow money to make this happen!
We googled and googled and googled some more; we talked to our Holistic Vet, He felt the best approach would be to get rid of the source of cancer (arm) and to continue using Supplements and diet to increase his immune system.
We decided the best shot at beating this cancer and Purrkins having a full life was to amputate his arm and get rid of the source (cancer)!
This was obviously a sickening discussion. It was the hardest, scariest, decision we ever had to make!
Our vets told us Cats adjust very well with 3 legs. I literally read every cat blog on Tripawds, I watched the 3 legged cat videos, to see that yes this can be done and Purrkins can still have a quality life.
Tripawds and All the Kitty Bloggers helped with our decision!
We wouldn’t have made this decision without all the wealth of knowledge we got from Tripawds.
Thank you to all of you! We are furever grateful!
We called the oncologist at MSU and told him our decision, and we would proceed with amputation.
Purrkins appointment scheduled for July 26th. He would go on July 26 the and spend the night. Surgery would be on the morning July 27, 2016.
Purrkins and his humans are celebrating his six month Cancer Free Ampuversary🎉
I have another long update and apologize for the book in advance.
When Purrkins got his stitches taken out at MSU they told us they would like for Purrkins to be rechecked in 6 months, we could do that with our Traditional Vet or with MSU oncology. We chose MSU.
We have been seeing our holistic vet regularly since his amp for the acupuncture, chiropractic, nutrition & immune support.
We had our 6-month recheck with MSU Oncology on the 3rd. I assumed our recheck would be bloodwork, a good looking over and possibly an X-ray.
I told Purrkins we were just going for a recheck and would be coming right back home. When we got to MSU 8:30 a.m., their idea of recheck was all of the above and an ultrasound. That was the best way to make sure we had no metastasis. Now we are leaving Purrkins, and his belly has to be shaved. His hair just grew back in. I was not thrilled!😔 Mark agreed we should do all of the above to make sure those microscopic cells that could have been laying and hiding were not going to show up now.
This journey is not easy by any means, once you get that dreaded Cancer diagnosis your world furever changes!
I was shaken up. I was not prepared for the ultrasound and all of sudden it hits me. I felt like we just went back six months to the same terror!🤢 Purrkins stayed the day at MSU. Unfortunately, an emergency came in, and his ultrasound was pushed back. We got the call we could come get him at 5:00 A LONG stressful day for all of us!
We are ecstatic to announce we are still cancer free!!! Everything came back UNREMARKABLE🎉
Completely excised with left forelimb amputation 7/26/16 No evidence of metastasis 1/3/17!!!!
Happy and relieved words could not describe the weight lifted once again, I asked the Dr. if I could hug her I was so happy and thankful! She said absolutely we were the only good news she got to pass on that day. She was as happy as we are! She felt very positive, but it was cancer, and they would like just to keep on eye on him, she said a lot of times, cancer can come back in a different form or kind.
They would like to recheck him in 6 months, and when we get the UNREMARKABLE news again, we will then go to yearly exams.
The boys say Thank You to Sally!
Sally wrote -“Do kitties like Puppy Lattes? Actually, go ahead and ask Starbucks for a Kitty Latte to go! If they’ve never done one, it’s time they start!! In fact, they can name it in his honor…PURRPPUCCINO!!! 🙂 🙂
Purrkins has made a difference at MSU 👏🏻👏🏻 We asked Tripawds to send MSU and our Vets the Tripawd fliers when we were in Recovery, hoping to spread the word so other animals and their pawparents can be aware, educated and have support as we did! To know they are not alone in this journey.
Look what we saw!! They are out at the front desk HA to LOVE IT
Again elated doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. We saw the fliers at Dr. Matts office too! You never know if they will indeed put these out. Yep there out!👏🏻🎉
We want other people to be as blessed as we have been to find Tripawds and know life on three legs is a Quality of life option!
How is this for Quality of life on 3? Tripawds do have more fun!
Who needs four legs to be happy and play? Not me! (LOVE SEEING HIM GO)😍
Purrkins has had a total of 6 acupuncture treatments after his amputation surgery. It has done wonders for Purrkins it is miraculous to see the change in him! We are now going to what Dr. Matt calls “Tune-ups” 4 times a year.
Purrkins has only needed one chiropractic adjustment in his six months of being a Tripawd. These needed to be adjusted simply because he is a Tripawd and things do get out of whack. The Atlas (1st vertebra of the neck, carries the head) and the sacral vertebrae.
(added the photo in case anyone is interested) On where those are.
We thank Dr. Matt for helping Purrkins feel so good! Purrkins does not feel he is handicapped or special needs in any way!
I showed Dr. Matt what Purrkins has been up to😉 I wanted him to see what he is doing for Purrkins!😀
Dr. Matt’s eyes about popped out of his head! “How does he get all the way up there” as he is smiling ear to ear😉
Well he jumps from the floor to the countertop, then up to the refrigerator and up to the cupboards
Here’s the problem Purrkins cannot get down safely! We only have so many steps for Purrkins. I cannot make the entire house tripawd safe, we have tried!
If we could build him a set of stairs to safely get down, I wouldn’t care, but there is nowhere to put stairs and still function in the kitchen. I have slid stairs over to him to get down, and I have physically gotten up there myself to get him down (That’s another story LOL)
Much to Purrkins disgust, he is banned at night or when we are not here, to assure he has a safe way down.
This is our temporary solution to keeping Purrkins safe when we leave and at night. I have Mark assigned to making a more permanent door in the future:)
Well, that wraps up our six months update we are so proud of Purrkins!
We are going to keep on hopping on! If you find yourself here and read all the way thru.(thank you!)
You will see Tripawds have more fun! & IT IS A QUALITY LIFE!
We have no regrets and Purrkins doesn’t either!
Thank you for all the love and support
Hugs, and Purrs!
Holly, Mark, Purrkins and brother Saxton