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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20910
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My cat was limping and was diagnosed with a sprain. It did

Customer Question

Hello, my cat was limping and was diagnosed with a sprain. It did not improve so I took him back and they found that the leg had become paralyzed and must be amputated. When I brought him
Back for surgery i inquired about his tail, and they said they didn't check it and it was also paralyzed and his rectum did not contract. I was told to take him home and see if he was using the bathroom (he has been going in the litter box but I was unaware as to if he was voiding completely). I am currently nervous that the vet is missing something (because two vets had misdiagnosed him before) and I feel as if it's getting worse. What should I do
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with 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 wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.

Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner, but can you tell me:

Has Davey had any issues with passing urine? Urine dribbling without control?

Could Davey have been injured (ie hit by a car) before this started?

Does he have normal use of the other back leg?

What tests have his vet done?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He can use the other back leg perfectly. I am very concerned as the vets I have seen seem to have missed things;however, his foot is slowly getting more swollen and I am afraid that by the time I take him back to (a third vet!) tomorrow it will be something that could have been avoided. He is an indoor cat, which leads me to believe it's another issue. He has been getting in the litter box (with the paralyzed leg); however I am still attempting to see if he is going to the restroom. I have came to this site because I have been to the vet three times and am truly concerned since they missed severe problems, and I am worried that he might not have time to go to another vet. If you have any options including vets or opinions I am
Willing to accept. I will do anything to make sure I can take care of my cat!
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

I appreciate and share your concern about Davey's situation.

Since you have not seen him pass urine yet, can you tell me if he is dribbling (ie on beds, anywhere sits, etc) or has a wet back side around his penis?

Did his vet do any tests at all? Any xrays?

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Have they used any medications thus far?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I cannot thank you enough for responding. This means so much. He has had no instances of dribbling. They did not take any x rays or blood tests. Unfortunately I do not feel as if they have been through :( My vet trips went as followed (and ago animal
Concerned they weren't thorough): I took him for limping and they said it was a sprain. It got worse and did not improve and they said (via phone) to give it more time. I brought him him (to another vet) and he had no pulse in his leg and they said it must be amputated. I then left but came back to ask more questions, especially regarding his tail. They said they apologized and had not checked his tail and it was ljmp. They also stuck a thermometer in his rear end and there was no movement. He is now home and I am waiting to see if he goes to the restroom. He is okay, but his leg is getting progressively swollen. Since they have missed things before I am truly afraid they have missed things :(
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I apologize for all the typos! This was sent from my phone :)
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

No worries about typos, everything is perfectly understandable.

Now if you give me a few moments, I do want to reply properly about my thoughts with his signs.

I will post again in a few minutes (so don't worry that I have snuck away or anything like that).

Dr. B.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Ooh, just one more quick question for you. Since his vet said there was no pulse in the affected leg, have you noticed that one being colder then his other legs?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He said it was colder; however, I was too scared to touch it at the vet. When I did touch it at home it was warm (and I was confused) but it was also cuddled up with the other legs. It is most definitely limp and what I would assume a paralyzed leg would look like.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He told me at the visit that he said it must be amputated that the limb was "cold and dead" :(
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hi again,

Based on Davey's history, I do have some serious concerns here.

First as he is an older lad and we don't have the risk of a car accident or similar trauma, our 2 main concerns are paralysis due to spinal/nerve compression or secondary to a blood clot. I would note that his situation doesn't quite fit (with the lack of tail/rectal nerve function loss) with a clot but is a concern if he has no pulse in the leg and if it perhaps is colder then the other leg).

Now to have one leg paralyzed and the other normal, again clots lodged are a concern but this is also something we see with one sided spinal lesions (ie abscesses, blood clot in the spine, tumors, discs compressing the spine, etc). The space occupying item tends to compress the spine and nerve function is lost. We can see this also with peripheral nerve compression but to hear we also have tail and rectal nerve function loss makes the spine more likely to be affected (since it would take a bigger mass to compress the nerves for all of these at once, if you know what I mean. And that is why a blood clot in his blood vessels here is less likely too, since to affect all of these, we'd expect the other leg to be showing signs too). And I would note that if we have a large enough mass or it is one involving the lymph nodes (like lymphoma), then this is going to cause that swelling you are seeing in the foot. This is essentially due to poor venous drainage or reduced function of the lymph drainage system of the limb (since we all leak fluids into our tissues from circulation and the lymphatic system picks that all up so we don't get swollen). So, this will be a side effect of the main issue.

With all this in mind and the lack of any tests, I would advise treading with care. Since we have the risk of a spinal tumor and something that could be progressive, we don't want to rush to amputate this leg because we cannot say that this won't cause issue for the other leg in time. As well, we really need to know if he has bladder function and control (though I suspect he does if he isn't dribbling due to an overstretched non-responsive bladder already) since that is critical for life. Instead, we'd need to think about at least an xray (to see if there is a mass around the spine or outside of it) or ideally a CT or MRI (so we could see into the spinal canal itself). This would help us start narrowing down what is causing this loss of nerve function. Depending on which issue was present, it may be treatable, but I do have to warn that spinal tumors can require chemo or surgery and even then have guarded prognoses. Otherwise, if after testing a clot was still suspect, then he may benefit from a heart scan (since this is where the clots originate from) and may need to be put on blood thinners to prevent any more occurring.

Overall, I am concerned about Davey. His signs are just very suggestive of a spinal based issue compressing one side of the spine. And I would not want to rush to remove his leg since at the moment there is a risk (due to not having a definitive diagnosis yet) that we could loose nerve function in the other leg if this is a progressive issue (like a tumor) compressing his spine. So, we need to tread with care and I would say that if you are not confident in your local vets, you may want to consider requesting a referral to a vet neurologist or checking the ACVIM website for one near you HERE.

Please take care,

Dr. B.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much for your time! I am going to follow your advice and request more tests today
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

You are very welcome, my dear.

Please do let me know how you get on,

Dr. B.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. B.