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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14568
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My cat is in a lot of pain. Crying ... mouth open ... can

Customer Question

My cat is in a lot of pain. Crying ... mouth open ... can move .... she is 13 years old.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 5 months ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that your girl Precious is meowing, painful, open mouth breathing and is unable to move. Your cat may have one of a few things occurring. A physical examination by a veterinarian on an emergency basis and diagnostics such as radiographs of her heart and spine, an ultrasound of her heart, as well as cultures of her urine or blood and a complete blood count may help narrow things down. If she goes outdoors unsupervised trauma to her spine is a possibility but it should leave some external signs, which you don't mention. Another possibility is diskospondylitis, a bacterial or fungal infection of the intervertebral disks and surrounding vertebrae. It is usually caused by an infection somewhere else that has been spread to the vertebrae by the blood supply. It is a painful condition. Treatment is usually antibiotics or antifungals for at least 8 to 12 weeks, sometimes as long as a year. Some of these cats require surgery to remove as much of the infection as possible and possibly stabilize the spine. Frequent re-evaluations by her veterinarian are necessary. Prognosis depends upon the amount of damage done and the organism causing the infection. This seems less likely with her as well because this was sudden onset, and you don't mention her running a fever. Intervertebral Disc Disease happens when the spongy disc or disc material between the vertebrae slips up and compresses the spinal cord causing pain and weakness or paralysis. It can be treated with anti-inflammatories and rest or surgery depending upon how much function is lost and how much pain the patient is in. Prognosis is much better if the patient's sense of deep pain remains intact and if surgery is done quickly in the cases that require it. It does not usually cause a fever, and this may occur suddenly. 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, 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. However the most likely cause of her condition given her symptoms and rapid onset of signs is an Aortic Thromboembolism (saddle thrombus). This is a blood clot that formed in the heart, usually secondary to a primary heart disease called cardiomyopathy, and has lodged in her aorta usually cutting off the circulation to her rear legs. This condition is very painful. It has a higher incidence in males but females can be affected too. Temperature of the affected limbs is sub-normal. Her pads on her rear feet may feel cooler and look darker in color compared to her front foot pads due to poor circulation. Treatment is anti-clotting medication like heparin or low dose aspirin, or clopidogrel as well as pain medication such as morphine or Buprenorphine and treatment of the primary heart disease that predisposed her to developing a clot. Prognosis is very poor because of the damage done by the clot as well as the underlying heart disease. Recovery may take weeks. Your girl needs hands on veterinary care as soon as possible, this is a true emergency.Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 5 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 kitty. If you could give me an update that would be great, thank you, ***** *****

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