Misha
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    approximate birthdate: October 1994

    age when diagnosed: 8 years old
    date of diagnosis:  March 2003

    front leg tripod

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1. When did you notice the lump, what was the size and where was it located, was it low on the leg or higher - closer to your cat's body    We first noticed the lump on Misha's shoulder blade in February 2003, and didn't think much of it at first. But by March it had gotten bigger, and we were worried, so we took her to the vet. Luckily, our vet was aware of VAS and immediately suspected that the lump was VAS.

2. When was kitty last vaccinated:   September 2000

3. How long did you wait to have the lump removed:    We immediately started researching VAS and realized it was important to get it all the first time. After consulting with two oncologists, we decided on amputation at UC Davis veterinary hospital in Davis, California. The operation was performed in April 2003.

4. Was this your cat's first surgery for VAS:   Yes.

5. Did you consult with a specialist or oncologist?   Yes, we talked to a specialist in Berkeley, California and the oncologists at UC Davis.

6. Who removed the lump (regular vet or surgeon)   A surgeon, assisted by several interns.

7. How long did your cat stay at the vet's after surgery   She stayed at UC Davis for 2 days.

8. Did you do anything special to prepare for your kitty's homecoming   We set up a special nest for her in the closet, with her kitty bed and towels and blankets. We put a low sided litter box nearby, and her food within easy reach. We wanted to make her as comfortable as possible.

9. Did your cat have any post-operative problems?   No problems, although she was pretty woozy and disoriented from the pain meds for a few days.

10. What was your cat's adjustment period like:   She tried to walk almost immediately, and immediately wiped out. The first night she was disoriented and climbed out of her bed, on top of some boxes in the closet, and fell down the other side. I found her curled up back there, asleep. After the first day, she started hopping around a little. By the end of the first week she could walk, although she was wobbly. We tried to help her learn to balance on her front leg by holding her hind legs up. As the months went by, she got stronger and more confident, and her front leg got fat and muscular.

11. How is your kitty now?   She is confident and strong. She hops around so fast, too. It seems like she is able to get around just as fast as when she had four legs. She can jump up and down and even use the scratching post.

12. Please add any other information that you think would be helpful to future tripod owners or anything else that you'd like to tell people about your kitty.   We are very happy that we got the operation. We were intially worried because Misha is a Manx cat, so she has a short, round body and no tail, and we thought this would affect her balance. But actually, I think that her body type helped her adjust, because she has muscular, powerful Manx legs (like a rabbit) that help her get around. Misha is still VAS free 16 mos. after surgery.


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