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Dr. Gene
Dr. Gene, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 2663
Experience:  DVM degree from Ontario Veterinary College
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My cat started dragging his left hind leg tonight. He doesnt

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My cat started dragging his left hind leg tonight. He doesn't seem to show signs of pain, and he does occasionally put weight on it, but as he walks away, the paw flips over, it trips him up, and he drags it. When he's sitting or when we pick him up, he keeps the leg fully extended and won't bend it. I plan on taking him to the vet, but need to know if it is urgent enough to warrant taking him to the emergency vet, or if it can wait until the morning.
Hi there.

Cats are very good at hiding signs of pain so much so that its difficult to determine if they are painful even by trained personnel. This obviously makes it very hard to decide how to treat them sometimes...

The dragging of the leg may be a purely neurological problem where loss of sensation and motor activity due a compressed nerve, for example is the cause, or it may be a musculoskeletal injury. Both neurologic and musculoskeletal injuries can be quite painful and the tough part is that sometimes you just can't tell. When presented with such cases that have symptoms that could be associated with pain, we give the animal the benefit of the doubt and treat them for pain, because obviously, they can't tell us.

In my opinion this is something that should be addressed tonight. For two reasons: he may be painful and because neurologic conditions have a much better prognosis for recovery if they are treated promptly.

Hope this helps, please let me know if you have any other questions!
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