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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16879
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My cat woke up paralyzed in his back legs. He can't stand on

Customer Question

My cat woke up paralyzed in his back legs. He can't stand on his front legs either. Took him in, his blood work was good, organs healthy, X-ray shows nothing wrong. Got a antibacterial shot. Does cats come back back from this or should he be put down. He's 7 years old.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that Sammy is now paralyzed in his rear legs and is unable to use his front legs properly either.If you pinch his toes can he feel that?Are his paw pads cold and purple in color or darker than normal?Is he able to urinate and defecate normally?Is he eating and drinking normally?Is he mentally aware and his personality unchanged? If he is not eliminating normally that may be because he is unable to get into position, or hold himself in position, to go, or if he cannot feel his back legs then he may also not be able to feel a full bladder or have the ability to urinate or defecate on his own. Your cat may have one of a few things occurring. I understand that he has had a physical examination by his veterinarian and diagnostics such as a radiographs of his spine and bloodwork but radiographs of his heart, an ultrasound of his heart, as well as cultures of his urine or blood to look primary heart disease or an infection may help narrow things down. If he does go outdoors unsupervised trauma to his spine is a possibility but it should leave some external signs, which you don't mention, and radiographs of his spine were normal which makes trauma less likely too. 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 his veterinarian are necessary. Prognosis depends upon the amount of damage done and the organism causing the infection. 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 (if he can feel his toes when they are pinched) and if surgery is done quickly in the cases that require it. It does not usually cause a fever. 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 his spinal cord and degeneration of the cord. It is 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. With normal radiographs and blood tests so far another likely cause of his condition is an Aortic Thromboembolism. This is a blood clot or clots that formed in the heart, usually secondary to a primary heart disease called cardiomyopathy, and has lodged in his aorta most commonly cutting off the circulation to his rear but depending upon where it lodges possibly his front legs too. 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. His pads on his feet may feel cooler and look darker in color compared to normal due to poor circulation. Treatment is anti-clotting medication like heparin or low dose aspirin as well as pain medication such as Buprenorphine and treatment of the primary heart disease that predisposed him 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. I know that your fellow has seen his veterinarian but if a diagnosis is not achieved it will be difficult to know how best to treat him and what his prognosis may be. Your fellow may need to be referred to a specialty clinic to achieve a diagnosis.Unfortunately I can say the longer he goes without any improvement the poorer his prognosis in general.Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Kara