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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14884
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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13 year old cat, fine this MORNING. NOW BOTH BACK Feet are

Customer Question

13 year old cat, fine this MORNING. NOW BOTH BACK Feet are not working. Dragging himself around
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 7 months ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.I am very sorry to hear about your fellow's sudden weakness in his rear legs and dragging himself around.The most common cause of his symptoms would be a blood clot thrown from his heart blocking the blood flow to his rear legs (saddle thrombus). Are his back feet colder to the touch compared to his front feet? Do his back feet pads look purple or blue in color compared to his front feet pads?These cats usually have heart disease that alters normal blood movement through the heart which allows clots to form in the heart. If he has a heart murmur, abnormal heart rhythm or a very fast heart rate I would be suspicious of heart disease and a blood clot causing his symptoms. In most cases with these patients on blood work we will see high levels of CPK (creatinine phosphokinase) due to muscle tissue breakdown when the blood clot cuts off blood flow to muscles in the rear legs. Unfortunately prognosis for these kitties is very guarded due to severe underlying heart disease. Weakness in the rear legs can be due to electrolyte abnormalities or low or high blood sugar, so blood testing should be done. Trauma is another possible cause. Does he go outside unsupervised? Some sort of myositis or neuritis, an autoimmune type reaction that can sometimes be associated with a vaccine, such as Rabies, is possible. Was he given a vaccine recently? In those cases steroids would be helpful to quiet the over-active immune response as well as decreasing painful inflammation. Fibrocartilaginous Emboli is a piece of a degenerated intervertebral disc that has broken off and lodged in a small artery or vein near the spinal cord blocking the blood supply to her spinal cord and degeneration of the cord. It is often one sided, but rarely it can affect both rear legs, is only painful the first few minutes to hours, and doesn't cause a fever. Signs don't progress after 24 hours unless another emboli is thrown. Prognosis depends upon how much damage is done initially. Recovery is slow and gradual, the most improvement happens between day 21 and 42, and may not happen at all if his sense of pain perception is lost. Finally at his age we do need to worry about spinal cord tumors or intervertebral disc disease (the spongy cushions between vertebrae which can prolapse and put pressure on his spinal cord), which because they are soft tissue they would not show up on a radiograph. We may only be able to diagnose these with an MRI. At this point I highly recommend that he see a veterinarian.If he doesn't have any signs of heart disease, his paws are warm, his blood tests are normal, and you are not willing or able to put him through any further diagnostic testing, and understand that the improvement may be temporary, then a course of steroids may make him feel better and give him a better quality of life for a period of time.You still need to rest him and confine him but steroids may help him either recover or at least feel better for a period of time.Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 7 months ago.
Hello, I wanted to make sure that you didn't have any further questions for me, and I'd like to know how things turned out for your pup. If you found my response helpful please don't forget to rate it so I may receive credit for it, thank you, ***** *****
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 7 months ago.
Hi,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Kara

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