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Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 20851
Experience:  Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
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My cats back legs are wobbly and collapsing below

Customer Question

My cat's back laegs are wobbly and collapsing below his body as he walks...they have looked a little off the past couple days but has worsened substantially today. He seems in no pain and is eating and drinking. The legs do not feel cold.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Cher replied 9 years ago.

From your description, it's possible that your cat has developed diabetes, which can cause neuropathy in the hind legs. The best thing you can do at this time, is have your cat evaluated by the vet, and also have routine bloodwork done. If your cat is a 'senior' (6 yrs. or older), in addition to the routine senior blood panel, a T4 thyroid test should be done. Senior cats are more prone to develop diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and renal issues.

A blood clot to the hind legs is also possible, called a 'saddle thrombosis', but this usually causes pain for the cat, and you say there is no pain (which is good!); however, saddle thrombosis is related to a cardiac condition called feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which may affect younger cats, too.

It's also possible your cat jumped down from a height and sprained/strained some muscles/tendons, or has a hairline fracture of the hip.

Your best course of action is to have your cat seen by the vet so a definite diagnosis can be made, and appropriate treatment provided. I hope all will be well!

Cher and 2 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: Will he wait until morning to see a vet?
Expert:  Cher replied 9 years ago.
Hi again,

Personally, with these symptoms, I'd have him seen right away, if you can. If there's a possibility of a blood clot or neurological damage, you'd want this assessed and treated immediately. If you can't get him to a vet until morning, monitor him closely, as you have been, if he's eating and drinking, that's good; if you observe him stopping the eating or drinking or if he starts crying in pain or exhibiting any other symptoms, the vet visit would be a must at that time.

Please keep me posted. Thanks!

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: Thanks Cher, He is eating and drinking well right now. Enjoying being petted. I will have to take him in the morning, but will watch him closley. He is six.
Expert:  Cher replied 9 years ago.
Great! I'm glad he's acting comparatively 'normal' and you plan to bring him in in the morning. Thanks very much for your 'accept'! : )

Keep me posted on how he's doing and the vet's findings. Thanks!

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: Cher,
The vet told me that Rudy has a couple degenerative disks. He said that with some steroids it should improve. He said that if it does not improve that he will need surgery. I hope it does get better. It is good to know it is not fatal.
Expert:  Cher replied 9 years ago.
Hi again, and thanks so much for updating me on Rudy's diagnosis. Considering other alternatives, this is indeed, a very good diagnosis/prognosis!

Please let me know how Rudy is doing and if he shows improvement with the steroid therapy. Thanks!

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: The vet gave Rudy a steroid shot in attempts to get him on his feet again for his degenerative disk(s). Today, it hasnt gotten any better and they gave me some pills to give him. Do you know anything about this? Is the surgery expensive?
Expert:  Cher replied 9 years ago.
Hi again,

What pills did the vet give you?

I will research the surgery information and get back to you shortly. Thanks!

Expert:  Cher replied 9 years ago.
Hi again,

The first thing you should do is consult a feline neurologist. Specialists are usually found at 24 hr. ER vet centers and veterinary teaching hospitals and universities. I've found this information which explains degenerative disc disease (it pertains to dogs, but the physical description is the same): (From:

"The result of a ruptured disc usually is soreness, pain and instability of the back. Other symptoms include weakness, lack of coordination, loss of feeling and inability to move. In extreme cases, complete paralysis, total collapse or loss of bladder functions can result.

Nerves of the spinal cord must be able to carry messages both to and from the animal's brain. The extruded disc material puts pressure on the nerves and interferes with nerve transmission.

Urgent medical care is required. Your veterinarian can judge the degree of injury to the nerves during the physical exam. X-rays probably will be necessary.

If there is any loss of the feeling in a foot or leg in addition to back pain when your pet moves, the spinal cord injury probably is severe.

Surgery can relieve the pressure on the spinal cord if the damage is not extensive. A veterinary neurologist should be consulted when possible.

If the disc does not require surgery, restricted activity is advised and appropriate doses of Glucosamine, Cetyl Myristoleate and anti-inflammatory medication may also be necessary to control the discomfort, especially at first."

There's more information here, although it's filled with a lot of medical terms:

Ask your vet for a referral to a veterinary neurologist or orthopaedist who treats degenerative disc disease in cats.


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