(Little Rock, AR USA)
I have a question to post in regards to my 15 year old male neutered domestic shorthair cat, Larry. Approximately two months ago, my cat started behaving differently….still very sweet and purring but his tail dropped and has never lifted again at the same time he began to limp on his right back foot.
He always twitched his tail when I was near his food bowl….he is quite a squeaker too. Anyway, we took him straight to the vet, described the behavior and the vet gave him a shot saying oh, his tail has been injured….well, he is an inside cat and I can’t recall any instance that his tail would have been injured.
Still hoping that he would get better eventually. We’ve stopped his jumping (as best we could), and after several weeks, we returned to the vet (with the same complaint) and the vet did a blood workup only to find out he has a fatty liver….yes, he is a large cat and has been on Hills W/D prescription diet for the last four years without much success.
My vet likes to refer me to another vet ($$$) that will charge a referral fee around $80 just to see the pet and then proceeds to run a battery of tests (CT Scans; Ultra-sound; MRI, etc) that cost a small fortune only to tell us what the original vet has already told us…..i.e., he has a fatty liver and he is old.
My question is what would cause my cat to suddenly start limping and why won’t any of the vets listen to me and look at his spine,? It appears that he has lost all feeling in the back right foot and his muscles are beginning to atrophy. I am at a loss here. Has anyone experienced similar health issues in their cat?
Hi Tonya.. I hope some of the regular visitors can help. In the meantime I’ll do some research…Here goes. Being an indoor cat perhaps the only way Larry could have caused damage to his spine if his tail was trapped in a door as he darted through it. Apparently this is fairly common. You would know about this though or anyone living with you would be able to help if it happened when they closed the door. It is possible he could have fallen after climbing and damaged his spine. But you know Larry’s habits so can discard these things if they sound unlikely.
On the basis that Larry’s tail was not trapped in a door or that he suffered an accident causing injury, and on the basis that you know best (and I believe you do) in that he has a spinal cord problem, I will list the possibilities as set out in the Cat Owner’s Home Veterinarian Handbook. This is a very good book.
Rarely spinal arthritis can cause weakness in the limbs (and it causes pain). It is seen in older cats. It is called spondylitis.
I do not think it is a spinal cord infection.
Tumors of the spinal cord are not uncommon. Pressure from the growth damages the nerves leading to weakness and paralysis. An X-ray (myelogram) will assist in diagnosis as will MRI and CT scans. Treatment is chemotherapy.
An incorrectly placed injection can cause temporary nerve paralysis.
Protruding discs are common in older cats but rarely cause paralysis and weakness. Ruptured discs are “primarily seen in cats over 15 years of age.”
Arterial thromboembolism can cause limb weakness or paralysis.
His age may give us a clue. In other words if he has not injured himself the cause may be age related. This puts us in the bracket of disc damage and perhaps a tumor.
I will put the question out to 600 Facebook followers and cat lovers and see what they say. But these conditions are not that common I think so we may not get a good response.
Good Luck to you and Larry.