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Dr. Joey
Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3790
Experience:  15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
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What causes our 7n year old cat to have rear leg spasms? The

Customer Question

What cause's our 7n year old cat to have rear leg spasms? The cat is urinating fine.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 2 years ago.

Dr. Zoe :

Hello, I am Dr. Zoe, a licensed veterinarian here to help. When you say leg spasms do you mean they are trembling/tremoring/shaking or is she actually having one leg that is spasmotically twitching?

Customer:

it is spasmotically twitching

Dr. Zoe :

This sounds like it could be a partial seizure. With one leg spasmotically twitching this is the most likely cause, especially if she seems not to be disturbed by it. In a cat of her age the top issues that can cause this may include intra-cranial (brain) diseases including toxoplasmosis, FIP (feline infectious peritonitis), aberrant parasites (they can migrate through the brain by mistake), fungal disease (this really does depend on wher eyou live but there are some areas that have high incidence of this), trauma, lead toxicity, liver disease (hepatic encephalopathy), thiamin deficiency, other toxins. Yes, that is a long list. Ultimately, if it continues this is something that needs to be seen by your regular vet, and further testing is warranted to start to narrow down the list.

Dr. Zoe :

I approach these cases by doing some baseline lab work that may include screening for Feline leukemia virus, FIV, Toxoplasmosis, Cryptococcus titers, fasting and post prandial bile acids (this screens the liver) as well as CBC, chemistry and urinalysis.

If the above are normal and the kitty is normal in between episodes I would offer referral to a neurologist for advanced diagnostic imaging and CSF analysis (spinal tap), if indicated and/or consider anticonvulsant medication, if episodes are frequent enough to bother her.

Dr. Zoe :

Please let me know your questions...I just threw a lot at you!

Customer:

she's in terrible pain when this accures, but it hasnt happened in months, shes always been an inside cat current with shots, she was just running around last night playing.

Dr. Zoe :

Do you feel as if her episodes are increasing in frequency or severity?

Customer:

yes sadly.

Dr. Zoe :

Since it sounds like the poor thing is significantly bothered by these, I strongly recommend starting her on an anticonvulsant medication as a trial to see if we can decrease how often they occur, and perhaps how severe each episode is. This is something you must discuss with your vet. There are many options for cats with this issue but my favorite drugs right now are levetiracetam and gabapentin. Most vets are not as familiar with these as phenobarbital but I don't like the risks with phenobarb...and how much blood monitoring needs to be done in comparison to these other two drugs, which are both now generic and easy to have compounded by a pharmacy into a liquid (or capsule) to the right dose.

Dr. Zoe :

If not already done, I also would discuss some or all of the screening that I mentioned above. If we find she has toxoplamosis then we can treat this with an antibiotic. And if she has fungal disease, then this can also be treated...so there is some potential hope. Often, though, in these cases we have a tough time figuring out the underlying cause and our goal is to improve her comfort level.

Customer:

do you think this serious enough to take her in today or will she be ok to wait until monday.

Dr. Zoe :

If you feel that she is having a lot of episodes today, then I really do not want her to suffer until Monday. So, yes, if she is having more than two episodes today and is in a lot of distress then please take her in to get some relief. If she has one episode today and perhaps one tomorrow, you could push this visit until Monday.

Customer:

thank you so much.

Dr. Zoe :

You are welcome. Please feel free to print out our discuss to take with you when you see your vet. That way you can remember the names of the conditions I mentioned, and drugs as well. Also, let me know when you have more questions!

Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3790
Experience: 15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
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Dr. Joey
Dr. Joey
Cat Veterinarian
3790 Satisfied Customers
15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine