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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28931
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My cat is a bit older... She's never quite walked normally,

Customer Question

Hi my cat is a bit older... She's never quite walked normally, one of her legs has an issue. My main concerns are that, her eyes seem to be sinking and she is breathing/wheezing... I know this is a lot of things. She's my only pet I've ever had so I'm super concerned.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Here's a photo
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. Thank you for the photo! I don't see a noticeable "sinking" of her eyes but you're the best judge of that because you've seen her change over time. It's not unusual for our geriatrics to lose muscle mass around and the fat pad in back of the eyes which then results in mild enophthalmia - the "sinking" you mentioned. Severe enophthalmia, however, can indicate profound dehydration. Her breathing needs to be clarified, please. Are you seeing an increased respiratory rate - over 40 breaths/minute? Is her wheezing persistent or episodic? Does she have other symptoms of respiratory distress - sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, or a conjunctivitis? Does she have a history of heart disease? With such a history in an elderly cat careful auscultation (listening to) of her chest by her vet and chest X-rays are important when attempting to clarify why she's symptomatic.

Please respond with additional information and further questions or concerns if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi there sorry it's taken me a while to reply. I think my biggest concern is with the way she's walking. She lamps and can almost not use one of her legs it seems. She's laying down she has a hard time using it to roll over and stand, when she's going downstairs or walking it's like she's trying to do it with three legs etc. I did take her to of that one time and they gave her a numbing shots on that side, it seemed to help a little bit but not by much at all.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Pardon my speech to text,
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm not sure what "numbing shots" represent. What, if anything, was found upon palpation (feeling) and flexion/extension tests on the affected leg? Was it a front or hind leg?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm not sure what you mean. The doctor kind of tapped her back with his pen and she kind of flinches whenever she's touched on the back. It is her right hind leg
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The shots they administered were something to make it and now I'm to see if she made any difference? Not sure the specific details of it but I know that's what they told me
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm guessing it was a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) that was administered. If inflammation in the leg or back were responsible for her lameness, you should have seen improvement unless there's structural damage (a cruciate ligament tear in the knee, e.g.) which might need to be repaired surgically. If she's an elderly cat (how old is she?), such surgery won't be appropriate.

Tapping her back with a pen doesn't meet the standard of care for properly evaluating a lame leg!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She's a bit older let me think... She's at least 11 years old
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I would avoid non-essential surgery at her age. A longer course of an NSAID such as meloxicam might be considered. This would need to be "off-label" because chronic administration of meloxicam isn't approved in the United States...but is the UK. Go figure.