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Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16311
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My cat is favoring s left paw. he won't put any pressure on

Customer Question

my cat is favoring his left paw. he won't put any pressure on it. but when i palpate he doesn't cry out.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am very sorry to hear that Calvin seems so uncomfortable and is limping on his left front paw. I understand that he lets you handle his paw and his claws seem fine.

Can you see any swelling on the at leg from his shoulder to his paw in comparison to his other front leg?
If he is bearing weight on his leg at all a fracture is unlikely.
Leg injuries can be secondary to trauma (being hit by a car, falling from a high place and landing poorly or even a bite wound). There aren't any effective, safe pain medications for cats available over the counter. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are toxic for cats and aspirin is poorly metabolized as well as not being very effective at controlling pain in cats. I don't recommend using any of them in cats.

Because there is no external signs of trauma being hit by a car or a fracture seems less likely.

The most common cause of limping in a young cat that goes outdoors or has housemates is a puncture bite or scratch wound from a fight with another cat or wild animal. These can be very difficult to find as the initial wound(s) may be very tiny on the surface, the trauma to the tissue is primarily under the skin. Many of these puncture wounds, especially bite or scratch puncture wounds from other cats do become infected and abscesses do develop. There isn't much for you to do at home for him as only systemic antibiotics will prevent that.

This isn't an emergency tonight if he is bearing any weight on his leg and there aren't any obvious wounds. I would recommend that you keep him inside and confined tonight and tomorrow at least. The less he does on that leg the better, ideally no running, jumping or climbing (including no stairs). He should be confined to a small room with water, food and his litter box.

If he isn't much better tomorrow you may want to have his veterinarian examine him to look for the cause of his limping.

Give him a little time to settle down tonight and if he will let you examine him closely for any signs of bite or puncture wounds on the affected upper leg and shoulder. If you find them warm compress the area and clean the wound(s) well with a dilute solution of warm water and antibacterial hand soap. Then I recommend having him seen by his regular veterinarian in the morning.

Best of luck with your fellow, please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
he's an indoor cat. the vet at emergency determined due to his heart murmur that he had a blood clot that is causing a blockage. he has no blood flow in his left paw.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

I am so sorry that Calvin has a blood clot secondary to heart disease which obstructed circulation to his paw. That would absolutely make sense, but his history was quite unusual for that.

Does he have a history of a heart murmur?

Most cats with blood clots are in horrible pain, because as blood flow is cut off and oxygen to tissues is lost we see tissue death. Most of the time these cats are screaming in pain and won't let owners touch them. If they do allow owners to examine them the affected paw(s) will feel cold and will look purple/blue compared to the other, unaffected paws due to loss of blood flow/oxygenation.

I am glad that he was examined and treated on an emergency basis .

Unfortunately cats with this type of severe heart disease have a very guarded long term prognosis. These kitties have very serious disease.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.