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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19654
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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My cat cant use either of his back legs all of a sudden. Nothing feels broken and he

Resolved Question:

My cat can't use either of his back legs all of a sudden. Nothing feels broken and he isn't resisting me handling them. His tail and front legs are working fine.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 5 years ago.

This is a very bad sign in cats. One of the most common causes is from something we call an ATE (aortic thromboembolism). This is basically throwing a clot to the back legs. There is typically an underlying heart disease where blood does not move through the heart normally. This leads to clots forming in the heart- there are typically no signs of illness at this time. When a clot leaves and gets into the blood stream, it will often get stuck where the large aorta splits off to the rear legs. This causes acute paralysis of the back legs. They will usually get cold painful feet at the same time.

The diagnosis is made on exam and confirmed by checking a blood glucose in a rear leg (low) compared to a front leg (high).

Treatment options are limited and most cats are euthanized at the time of diagnosis. The ones we do treat we will use pain meds and sometimes clot busters. Unfortunately, the heart disease is still present and almost all cats will have a recurrence at some point in the next 6-12 months.

I wish I had better news. Let me know if you have any other questions.
Dr. Gary and 2 other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Should I take him to a 24 hour emergency clinic or wait until morning?
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 5 years ago.
I would take him now. Not that much would change, but because this is an extremely painful condition and you should at the very least get pain meds in him asap.