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nekovet
nekovet, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 16268
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian. I am happy to answer any questions you may have on any species.
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My 11 yr old cat Fez suddenly can not walk, he can't or

Customer Question

Hi, My 11 yr old cat Fez suddenly can not walk, he can't or doesn't seem to want to put weight on to his right front leg, he will not eat or drink, has stopped grooming himself, increase in shedding, recently he seems to have lost weight. What can I do??
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  nekovet replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your situation, and wanted to help.

Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner. If you would still like assistance, can you tell me:

How long has Fez been like this?

How long has he been off food/water? Did this start first?

Any vomiting, gagging, retching, drooling, or lip licking?

Does he drag the front leg? Does he appear to have any feeling in that leg?

Any history of trauma to that leg?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It's started around thursday (it is now Tuesday) he has not been eating since Friday. no, no vomiting or anything of that nature, maybe a little bit of the lip licking which has just started yesterday and today. The shedding had stopped and he has started to groom himself too. As for his front legs ( mainly the right) it's seems as though there is no pain, unless I apply pressure under his right arm or pick him up. so maybe that is what it is, he has no feeling in them, because they do kind of just drag, but I noticed that he doesn't like it when I put pressure on/under his right shoulder. And he meows a little as though he is in pain when I pick him up. he is able to move with his back legs just fine and just kind of like army crawls. No there is no history of trauma, he has always been a healthy cat. The good news since I first wrote this is that just this morning he has begun to eat and drink again!!! So that was a huuuge relief. It seems as though he is gaining strength slowly. but when he does go down it is his right arm that is buckling.
Expert:  nekovet replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

First, I am very glad to hear that he has ended his fast. I suspect it may have been due to discomfort in general with his forelegs but that lip licking did make nausea a concern as well. In any case, that is grand to hear and I am glad that isn't an ongoing worry now.

Further to this, when we see dragging of the legs, it can be a sign of weakness secondary to pain (common in older cats) or due to spinal/nerve issues. Now if he is resistant and sore when you handle the legs, I would be suspicious that he has feeling in them and therefore spinal/nerve issues would be less likely. And in that case I'd be concerned that we may be dealing with severe arthritic discomfort +/- a muscle strain/sprain causing this sudden decline.

Now with this being so severe and his being sore when lifted, I do have to say that it'd be ideal to have him seen by his local vet at this point. They can examine his legs, confirm our suspicions and start him on cat safe pain relief (since there are no safe OTC options for this species).

Otherwise, there are some long term supportive treatments that could be generally of benefit for him as well. Specifically, you can supplement him with fish oil (omega 3 or 6; EPA/DHA) and/or glucosamine/chondroitin. In regards ***** ***** former, these can be helpful as they do have anti-inflammatory properties. In regards ***** ***** we tend to give this at a rate of 20mg per pound of their body weight. And this could just help soothe any joint inflammation and be a long term management option with his arthritis. Furthermore, you can use glucosamine/chondroitin with Fez. These are a nutrient supplement that is available at your vets, pet shops, and health food stores (as as capsules, liquids, and even treats). They work to aid joint suppleness by helping cartilage replenish itself and blocking enzyme destruction of cartilage in the joint. Often we can find this helpful in animals with mild signs and this could just take some of the discomfort away from him. Normally we give kitties 50mg glucosamine + 15mg chondroitin a day per 10 pounds of body weight. So, these would be worth consideration here.

Finally, you may want to consider giving him access to a heat source (ie heat pad, warm compress, etc). Just like our sore joints, cat joints often respond to warmth. This will reduce inflammation and relax his muscles. Of course though, whichever heat source you use, do monitor the temperature closely, since we don’t want to overheat him and want to make sure he could get away from the heat source if he wished (which he likely would have no trouble but we'd always want to take care).

Overall, Fez's forelimb signs do raise some concerns here. Therefore, we need to tread with care. With how sore he is, I do think a check up and cat safe anti-inflammatories would be ideal at this point. As well, at his age and with his signs, I do think the above long term treatments would also be of benefit to him for the longer term.

Take care,

Dr. B.