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Dr.Fiona
Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
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cat: Hes only..only uncomfortable when laying on his back

Resolved Question:

I have a cat that seems to have injured himself. He is not willing to put any weight on his back legs although he does seem to have control of them. He's only uncomfortable when laying on his back with back legs spread apart. The rest of the time he seems comfortable and is even purring. He's not eating a lot but is drinking water. We thought he might have twisted his back or pulled a muscle but this morning I noticed that he is bleeding from his rectum.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.

Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer!





I would like to help you and your cat but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

When did this start - hours, days or weeks ago?

Is he able to walk normally? Can he jump up onto furniture normally?

Is he using the litter box normally?

Fiona

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

We found him Friday night. He can't walk using his back legs, just pulls himself with his front legs although he doesn't do that much.

 

He's a barn cat so he hasn't been trained to use a litter box. We're carrying him outside regularly to use the bathroom although he has only urinated. When I took him out this morning there was blood on my shirt when I put him down, this is the first time we've seen any blood.

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.
Ok - I'm sorry but I am a little confused...


Are you saying that you did not know this kitty before Friday night and found him in this condition?

Or have you had him for years, but found him like this on Friday?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I've had him for years. We hadn't seen him when we fed in the morning and he didn't meet us at the car like he usually does so we went looking for him. He was sitting up in an indention in the ground. Indention was shallow, maybe 2 inches deep. This is why we thought he may have twisted his back or pulled a muscle by stepping into wrong.

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.
Ok - thanks so much for clarifying that for me!

Could you please go and check a few things:


1. Count how many breaths he takes in one minute when he is resting.




2. Please check the FRONT and the REAR paws. Are they different in temperature?

Are the back feet colder than the front feet?




3. Are the pads a different colour on the front versus the rear feet?

If you push on the foot pads to extrude the nails, can you please check the nail beds closely (the triangle INSIDE the nail). Are they more PINK on the front than on the rear?



4. Has your vet ever mentioned a heart murmur?





5. Can you take your cat's temperature? (don't worry if you can't do this)

Instructions here:


http://www.petplace.com/cats/how-to-take-your-cat-s-temperature/page1.aspx

Fiona


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

1. Count how many breaths he takes in one minute when he is resting.

48

2. Please check the FRONT and the REAR paws. Are they different in temperature?

Are the back feet colder than the front feet?

No, same temperature.

3. Are the pads a different colour on the front versus the rear feet? No all are black

If you push on the foot pads to extrude the nails, can you please check the nail beds closely (the triangle INSIDE the nail). Are they more PINK on the front than on the rear?

Slightly more PINK on front but back are still pink.

4. Has your vet ever mentioned a heart murmur?

No

5. Can you take your cat's temperature? (don't worry if you can't do this)

103.5

I have to go to the barn to feed my other animals so it'll be a half hour or so before I can reply back. Just wanted to let you know so you wouldn't wonder when you didn't get a response.

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.
Ok - I am working on your answer!

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.

I sure wish I could reach through the computer and examine your cat!




What you are describing suggests to me that he may have some back pain or pelvic pain. Cats can have back pain due to a “slipped disc” though that is not very common. I see it about 1000 times more often in dogs.



Instead, with what you are describing, I am very worried that your boy may have a fractured pelvis.








Cats with a fractured pelvis often move very gingerly, holding themselves low to the floor and preferring to stay close to walls for support. A fractured pelvis can cause a lot of internal bleeding as their are many blood vessels in the area. This internal bleeding can lead to shock, which can be life threatening.


Unfortunately, there are no pain killers that you might have in your medicine cabinet that would be safe to give to a cat. Tylenol is very toxic to cats! And ibuprofen and aspirin are also toxic to them.




Here is more about these drugs:

http://www.petplace.com/cats/ibuprofen-toxicity-in-cats/page1.aspx

http://www.petplace.com/cats/aspirin-toxicity-in-cats/page1.aspx

http://www.petplace.com/cats/tip-on-never-give-a-cat-aspirin/page1.aspx

http://www.petplace.com/cats/acetaminophen-toxicity-in-cats/page1.aspx


With a fractured pelvis, there can also be a tail injury. There may be nerve damage which can affect the cat's ability to urinate. This would need to be assessed by a veterinarian.




I really am very concerned that this is what is wrong with your boy from your description.


More information on pelvic fractures:

http://www.petplace.com/cats/fracture-of-the-pelvis-in-cats/page1.aspx

and information on tail injuries:

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=1322





Unfortunately, I have seen this type of injury many times with cats that have been hit by a car, though it could happen with a fall, or if he were kicked by a large animal.


With a fractured spine or pelvis, there can also be a tail injury. There may be nerve damage which can affect the cat's ability to urinate.



I have seen indoor only cats with pelvic fractures from falling. It is a very common fracture, and tends to happen if the cat falls in a "sit pretty" position. For example, I have seen it when a cat has jumped onto a table with a tablecloth on it, and has slid backwards off the table (on the cloth) and falled directly onto the pelvis.



The good news is that in cats, pelvic fractures very often heal without surgery as long as they are not through the hip joint (acetabulum). It does require 8 weeks of STRICT rest in order for healing to occur. Strict rest means that the cat needs to be confined to a large dog kennel with food, water and litter tray in there. The cat should not jump AT ALL for 8 weeks and should minimize walking so that the bones can heal.




I would definitely recommend that you have your cat checked by your vet immediately to see if this is what is going on with him. His elevated respiratory rate and temperature make me very worried about him!




Your vet may want to take an x-ray, but if this is an uncomplicated pelvic fracture, then 8 weeks of rest is all that is usually needed for recovery!

I do hope that this helps you to help your cat!


If this has been helpful, please hit the green "Accept" button. If you need more information, just click on reply and I will still be here to provide it!


The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.


Best wishes, Fiona


Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience: 16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
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Dr.Fiona
Dr.Fiona
Cat Vet
6273 Satisfied Customers
16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario