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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19748
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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My cats front legs are shaking and trembling when she stands

Resolved Question:

My cat's front legs are shaking and trembling when she stands or sits. I noticed several months ago, and it seems like it is getting worse. She used to jump at a bird feeder about 5 feet up on our sliding glass door and land very hard, but I moved it down. She did this high jumping for a while. I took her to the vet a little while ago, and she did an x-ray and felt her right arm (the one that shakes the worst) and said that my cat was in a little bit of pain. The x-ray didn't show anything, except maybe a tiny bit of a hook of bone at her shoulder that may cause a little bit of arthritis. My vet said she might have a little bit of weakness. My cat is 4 years old and overweight. She weighed 15 pounds, I have her on a diet and she is slowly losing weight. She is down to 14.5 pounds now.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 6 years ago.

It sounds like you've gone through all the appropriate steps to this point. I would probably have a radiologist or orthopedic specialist take a look at the x-rays and see what that little bit of bone is. 4 years old is awefully young to develop arthritis, even in an overweight cat. It may be something like a bone spur or cartilage flap that could be removed to resolve the signs.

If the x-rays do indeed look like early arthritis, then I would get the weight off her as quickly as possible and try a mild pain medication when she's acting painful. Something like Buprenex or Metacam or Gabapentin could be used periodically as needed.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
A bone spur would cause both her front legs to tremble? She doesn't seem like she's in pain...she runs and jumps and walks fine. It's' when she's standing or sitting that her front legs are shaking, llike they are exhausted if she's run up 100 flights of stairs.
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 6 years ago.
I would be more concerned about a cartilage flap that turned into bone that is congenital effecting both legs.

It may just be her and something you can ignore as it doesn't seem to cause her pain or discomfort. I would get both legs x-rays reviewed by a specialist first though just to make sure.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 6 years ago.
Did they x-ray both or just one leg?
Did they send any meds?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Just the right front leg was x-rayed because that one was shaking the worst.

No meds since Roxy isn't in pain.

Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 6 years ago.

Pain is hard to assess in cats- it's true that it may not be pain, but it could be shaking as her only sign she's in pain.

I think I would x-ray both front legs- shoulders and elbows to be sure. If we're seeing those bony changes in both shoulders, then I would seek out a specialist to see if surgery could be done to help.

If the left leg looks normal, then I would try Buprenex a couple times when the shaking is bad. That would help to determine if it's truly pain.

If the Buprenex doesn't help and it's just one leg, then I think it's going to be something that you're not going to change and hopefully the weight loss alone will be enough. The only other option is to do an MRI on the spinal cord to see if there is a disc compressing a nerve root that could be causing this.
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