Cat hit by car, x-rays show no breaks but her legs still won’t move/respond?

The question in the title was asked by a member of the Catster website. The legs that she is referring to are the hind legs as the front legs are working normally. There were no good answers to the question so thought I’d try and answer the question for her. Although I am not a veterinarian I have lots of books and I remember this particular health topic from previous research.

The cat in question has been x-rayed and been seen by veterinarian. He is on medication which is probably corticosteroids. There appear to be two possible outcomes. Either the cat has a mild contusion (bruising) of the spinal cord in which case the nerves will begin to recover in a few days or the cord has been severed in which case paralysis will be permanent.

I would have thought an x-ray would detect whether the spinal-cord has been severed or not but, as mentioned, I’m not a veterinarian so don’t know the answer that. I would have thought also that the veterinarian would have been able to assess that. Apparently the sensitivity and pain is in the middle of the back which appears to be where the cat was hit by the car thereby bruising the spinal cord.

The lady does not mention any problems with her cat’s tail. The tail is not paralysed and there is no urinary or faecal incontinence. This can happen when a car runs over a cat’s tail which pulls apart the vertebra thereby stretching the nerves that serve the bladder, rectum and tail.

On the basis of what she says, it would seem that there’s a good chance that the spinal cord has been bruised and will recover. She hinted in the question that she may have to euthanise her cat (or that is the impression I got) which would be incorrect because even a paralysed cat can be a great companion and well looked after.

Link to the Catster question

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

2 thoughts on “Cat hit by car, x-rays show no breaks but her legs still won’t move/respond?”

  1. I don’t know if you’ve heard of this or not but I have personally found that Reiki has amazing healing results – I have treated horses, cats, and dogs, and depending on the injury or problem, found stunning results. Reiki is an energy healing modality, used IN CONJUNCTION WITH medical procedure. Some people might think it is the power of suggestion, but how can that work for the animals I have helped? It certainly can’t hurt, and just might help.

  2. My first cat as an adult was Smokey. She was attacked by another cat and suffered some kind of injury. I found her lying under a tree unable to move at 11pm one night as I was calling her to come in for the night. We called the vet, who was about 80 at the time and he came out and met us (willingly too!). Nothing showed up in the xray but she couldn’t move her back legs. The vet said she’d either stay that way or she’d get better. Things were so much less technical i 1982! We took her home and kept her food and water bowl close and helped her to the litter box. It took about 4 days but she eventually recovered and started to walk again.

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