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Pets before and after surgery

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Pre-Op Area' started by Caretaker, Aug 28, 2016.

  1. Caretaker

    Caretaker New Member
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    I will be taking care of mother after her TNR in about a month. My mother runs a cat Rescue out of her home. I'm talking at least 30 cats in the house. Needless to say there is constant urine, poop and throw up issues. Also many cats with snotty noses and eyes. I love my fur babies and feel they are important to recovery however, with this many and all the issues involved should I not worry seriously about infection for my Mother? I feel the cats do not need to sleep with or really be around her until the incision has healed. Your thoughts or concerns would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Poohstew

    Poohstew Junior Member

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    Hm..I have lots of pets, and haven't felt like I had any issues to worry about since surgery, but that is an awful lot to care for. Are they in her living area? I am afraid I would worry more about a trip and fall hazard, or her overextending to try and care for them. I know I had to be careful before surgery to avoid any deep scratches or bites as an infection risk. I imagine it would be the same after.
     
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  3. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    I agree that 30 cats could present a tripping hazard. If they tend to sleep with your mom that also could be a problem as it can take some maneuvering through the night to stay comfortable. Can they be farmed out for a few weeks until she gets on her feet (literally)?

    You would be feeding and dealing with the cats more than you'll be caring for your mother under these conditions. I hope you can work something out so this will be easier for you.

    Just a really nosy question, though. Thirty cats is a LOT of animals in one house. Is that really permitted in the city where your mother lives? Most cities limit the number of animals in a residential dwelling because of the difficulty of keeping the home clean.
     
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  4. PolarBear60

    PolarBear60 Forum Advisor

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    I have nine indoor cats. My husband was not particularly helpful in caring for them after my first knee replacement. For my second knee, I decided to board the three most labor-intensive cats for a week or two.

    This worked well for us. It would probably be easier with 30 cats for you to hire a cat-loving high school student or a pet sitter for the first three to four weeks to handle pet clean up and care duties.

    Depending upon the cat behavior, they could present a tripping hazard. My kitties are not the wind between your legs kind of cats, so they weren't a problem for me.

    Do watch for bites and scratches for two weeks before surgery. After surgery, she may want to limit their access to her or interact with a select few.

    All but three of my cats are feral rescues, so they aren't the cuddly kitty pets. The personalities of your mom's cats and their routine behavior Should be considered as she and you decide how to manage them during her recovery. This is something the two of you should discuss from the dual perspective of what's best for her recovery and each individual cat's well-being.


    Jean

    RTKR (Stryker Triathlon): 21 June 2016
    LTKR (Stryker Triathlon): 21 April 2015
    Right Knee Arthroscopy: 25 July 2006
    Left Knee Arthroscopy: 10 February 2005
     
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  5. ACDCJen

    ACDCJen Graduate

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    I thought I was a cat-whisperer, but 30 cats! I wouldn't have enough time in the day to love them all! I have two kitties now who are almost always by my side, or on top of me...whatever! My little one, Beatrice, literally cannot get close enough so I know that I can't close my door to her after I come back home from surgery. Luckily, or not so luckily, both of mine are somewhat skittish around canes, walkers, and crutches, and they have not tripped me, or even been close to it, in the last several months. But, like most kitties, I imagine, they know when I'm injured and like to give me extra special attention. :)

    Good luck with whatever solution you find. Can any of them be adopted out or fostered for a short time while your mom recovers?

    Love the floofies!

    Jen
     
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  6. mamazipp

    mamazipp Graduate

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    Hmm I have a friend who also runs a cat rescue out of her home. She has many, many cats and I'm familiar with all of the peeing, pooping, throw up and runny eyes and drooling that goes with them...many have litter issues and health issues which is probably why they were abandoned in the first place. She has volunteers who do various duties but she is responsible for the feeding and medicating of all the cats. Honestly I don't know what she would do if she needed knee surgery. I did not go there myself for cat duties before surgery and did not return until probably 6 weeks. The dangers of tripping concerned me, as well as any kind of scratch. I was fostering one who needed hand feeding and she bit me about one month prior. I ran to the walk in clinic and got antibiotics and had to bring her back to the rescue.
    Anyway.......so is it at all possible for your mom to go to a rehab for two weeks? She is likely on Medicare, and it pays for rehab after a stay of 3 nights. Please explore that. It's pretty hard to find temp homes for all the cats. She won't be able to bend, or scoop, or clean up for many many weeks, besides keeping the incision clean until it heals...id worry about that for her. Can you take care of all of the cat duties by yourself? Once the incision is closed and healed the risk is less but you don't know how able she will be in terms of pain and mobility.
    Now is a good time to get the cat community to rally to help. She will need it.

    I know with my friend that, although she has a huge house with many rooms to accommodate various combos of cats....they all don't roam around at will....she does keep it under the radar. Neighbors don't know, the house is clean. There are regulations but they are complaint driven. So it's a quiet operation.

    I hope you can find a good solution and get some help.
     
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  7. Josephine

    Josephine NURSE DIRECTOR, BONESMART Administrator

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    I can't speak for the anti-social part of this discussion but it might reassure you to know that bacteria are not generally transferable from animals to humans. In my time, I've had one or two vets as friends and in the early days (1970s and thereabout) vets never wore surgical gloves during surgery for that reason. Scratches are a different issue and I have nursed more than one friend who was seriously ill from cat scratch fever from a litter of kittens.
     
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  8. Caretaker

    Caretaker New Member
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    I think the important thing to my mother everyone, is that I take proper care of the cats. I've told her her well being comes first. It has taken Me a long time to get her to finally do this surgery. There will be some folks helping out with the feral colonies that she drives to feed, for the first week. She is going to over worry about her cats. I asked her about having someone, I know down there come and help for about a week. She's not sure about it because to many people bother her and she would worry about them letting cats get out. I'm in a rock and a hard spot.
     
  9. FlaGranny

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    It sounds like some of the cats need medical treatment. Lots of people who have this surgery have pets, sometimes more then one or two. I would worry though about any cats who are vomiting and/or having diarrhea or runny noses or eyes. Those cats probably have infections. She should be extremely careful.
     
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  10. BBCG

    BBCG Senior

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    I wish I could give a more scientifically-informed response, but if any members here are veterinarians, they might be helpful, I suspect.
    I ran this one by my husband, who is a biologist, and the first thing that came to his mind was that she will have an increased risk from standard, run-of-the-mill bacteria, such as staph. If a typical home has pets that go outdoors, there is reason for more such bacteria than, say, in a home without pets, just due to the added inputs of bacterial sources. So, add another 20-some other potential bacteria sources, namely the additional cats, that means one can assume there would be an increased magnitude of risk.
    So, if one were to assume that in this particular recovery home there will be an increased risk of infection, the question to ask either your OS, a trusted veterinarian or doctor, would be: what measures should be taken to protect your mother from such additional risks.
    Cats also carry many bacteria in their saliva, too, so many so that birds caught by them and then released or rescued, despite appearing to be okay, and having been examined by skilled rescuers, may often die later from the added onslaught of bacteria introduced from being in the cat's mouth. So, consider also that cats who tend to bite or otherwise expose your mother to potential saliva, might be best kept away from her during the period when she has an open, or incompletely healed incision.
    Cats claws are on the ground, in litter boxes, digging outdoors in who knows where! There are many added risks for those of us who have four-legged family members, myself included!
    My closing thoughts are again from my thoughtful husband who reminded me that for three days and nights prior to my surgery, I was to bathe using a potent anti-bacterial soap, was to sleep under just-cleaned sheets and pyjamas each night, and, since I specifically asked about my usually snuggly cat, the cat was to be kept out of the covers for a week prior to my surgery.
    In closing, my husband said to mention his recent experience dealing with a staph infection that he picked up who-knows-where-or-when, that, had he not been seen by an infectious disease specialist in the ER when we took him in with a sudden, very gross toe wound, he would have lost his toe. This is a type of super-common bacteria that is everywhere, at all times, no matter how clean you may think your home is!
    In essence, you don't want to trivialize or minimize the added risk she may have, BUT, I think given your commitment to the cats and to your mother's well-being, I would seek experts and knowledgable people to guide you in handling the added risks she faces and deal with solving each type of risk in the best ways you can.
     
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  11. Jamie

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    Is your mother thinking that she will be able to drive to feed feral cats one week after her knee replacement? I can promise that will not be the case.

    I can see that you really are in a difficult position. I'm so sorry for you as you obviously want to help out and still do the best for your mother. But, sometimes people are a bit stubborn and it is her right to do as she pleases. You may not be able to convince her to do the "right" thing.

    If you are not able to be there the first week or so, then you are right to arrange for someone to come in every day for a while. More than one week would be better if you can do it. She will also be able to access home health services and I strongly suggest you set her up for the maximum amount of that you can get - nurse, bath aid, physical therapist and occupational therapist. That will at least ensure someone is checking on her for several weeks after surgery. All these services are covered under Medicare. Her doctor just needs to place the order for them when she leaves the hospital.
     
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  12. Caretaker

    Caretaker New Member
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    Jaime and BBCG, Thank you for all your imput and information. I will arrive to be with her prior to surgery. I'm hoping for the very best and a positive outcome. Just hope she tells her Doctor the truth about the cats. :snork::catdance::catbutterfly::yellowcat::meow:
     
  13. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    Maybe since you'll be there you can "out" her with the surgeon if she doesn't offer the information up. It would be something that should be discussed. Please try not to worry. These things always have a way of working themselves out just fine. It may be helpful for you to read our basic recovery articles now so you can help your mother understand what recovery will involve.

    First are the BoneSmart mantras ....
    - rest, elevate, ice and take your pain meds by the clock
    - if it hurts, don't do it and don't allow anyone - especially a physiotherapist - to do it to you
    - if your leg swells more or gets stiffer in the 24 hours after doing it, don't do it again
    - if you won't die if it's not done, don't do it
    - never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down, never stay awake when you can go to sleep!
    - be active as much as you need to be but not more than is necessary, meaning so much that you end up being in pain, exhausted or desperate to sit down or lay down!

    Next is a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) thread.

    And here are some very crucial articles
    The importance of managing pain after a TKR and the pain chart
    Swollen and stiff knee: what causes it?
    Energy drain for TKRs

    Myth busting: no pain, no gain
    Activity progression for TKRs
    Heel slides and how to do them

    Extension: how to estimate it and ways to improve it

    Elevation is the key
    Ice to control pain and swelling

    Healing: how long does it take?
    Chart representation of TKR recovery
    Myth busting: the "window of opportunity" in TKR

    Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds

    Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it
    Sleep deprivation is pretty much inevitable - but what causes it?
     
  14. PolarBear60

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    BBCG mentioned the sterile-type protocols she had to go through prior to her surgery. My protocol was much different. Shower with Dial soap and show up on time without any scratches on the incision site (my second knee was delayed for a week due to a tree branch having rendered a very light scratch right on the incision site). I've read preparatory instructions from those two extremes and everything in between. My point is, while infection is a huge concern, methodologies for preventing it vary widely from surgeon to surgeon.

    Your mother's body is accustomed to the conditions she lives in and is probably not at a greater risk for living in them.

    Jamie's recommendation for requesting the battery of home health services could be helpful. None of those people can help with the cats, but they can help with other aspects of your mom's recovery, freeing you to help with the cats, which it sounds like she trusts you to do.

    Cat vomit isn't necessarily a sign of illness. I have a few with sensitive tummies that deal with hair balls by vomiting them up. I have another cat that just vomits every once in a while. When I took him in to be examined, the vet could find nothing wrong and concluded the cat eats until he is full, then he gets a drink of water, causing the food in his stomach to expand, and he has to expel it. Not fun. I moved the water tower across the room, but he still has the problem.

    Best of luck to your mom as she prepares for this surgery. She'll be able to help kitties more easily (along with many other things) after she recovers.
     
  15. skigirl

    skigirl Moderator

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    I am sorry to hear about your plight--it is a tough one. For one thing, I am not sure home health aides will come into a home with cat poop and urine in the house---especially the smell from the two of them. I am worried about your health, going into that house several times a day. Can you hire a cleaning service to come in and sanitize the floors? So there is a least an abatement of the problem?

    Most hoarders do not want people coming into the house since that makes it more likely that someone will call the Health Department and the humane society, so it is likely that your mother will not allow anyone else but you in the house. At the very least, I would put on a respirator and empty the cat boxes, throw any carpeting and use bleach on the floors. If you do that while your mother is in the hospital, it will at least be clean for a week or two, but it will lower your own health risks.
     
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  16. newlybionic

    newlybionic Forum Advisor

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    As a former home health nurse I have been in worse houses than ones that have cat poop ando urine. While IMO I do think that that would not be healthy for your mom who will have an open wound which can be infected by any contact with it.
     
  17. L.I.T

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    I don't mean to resurrect this discussion - but does anyone have information about cat scratches *after* the TKR. While I had heard no scratches of *any* kind prior to surgery, no one has discussed these types of things with me for after surgery.

    We have 3 cats at our house and two are 20lb savannah cats. One of them was trying to jump on the couch today, and missed, using my buttocks (I was elevating my leg) as a safety net when he missed. It was not a deep scratch, but enough to draw some blood. I used spray antiseptic and alcohol on it. However, I am only 3 weeks out of surgery. I've read of people getting antibiotics once infection was verified, but do they typically prescribe antibiotics prophylactically?

    I'm not far enough out from that first week of recovery to really *want* to do it again, yet :sigh:
     
  18. skigirl

    skigirl Moderator

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    I do not think you have to worry too much about a superficial cat scratch. Putting an antiobiotic ointment on should take care of the problem. Of course if the wound becomes red or infected, it would be best to call your OS.
     
  19. L.I.T

    L.I.T Senior

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    Thank you, @skigirl ! I really don't want to be the 'problem child', but didn't know how cautious I should be. And I apologize - I made my post based on the name of the thread prior to my realizing it was in the Preop section. :unsure:
     
  20. skigirl

    skigirl Moderator

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    It is not a problem. We like folks to keep everything on one thread so that we can see what has been happening prior to any post that we might make. This is a simple question and so we can just move on!! I worried about all sorts of things after my surgery.
     

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