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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16524
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Mix breed, hair.loss of appetite. no movement in back limbs.

Customer Question

mix breed ,long hair.loss of appetite. no movement in back limbs. has feeling there. giving water through syringe. checked xrays. all looks good. could it be some kind of toxin. nuerological?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 11 months ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 11 months ago.

I am sorry to hear that your girl Shuggy is now unable to use her rear legs properly and is not eating.

She may not be eating because she cannot eliminate because she is unable to get into position, or hold herself in position, to go, or she may also not be able to feel a full bladder or have the ability to urinate on her own.

Your cat may have one of a few things occurring.

I am glad her radiographs looked normal. That rules out a fracture, dislocation or other bony disease.

Further diagnostics such as an ultrasound of her heart, as well as cultures of her urine or blood and a complete blood count may help narrow things down.

If she does go outdoors unsupervised trauma to her spine is a possibility but it should leave some external signs, which you don't mention, and should have shown up on her radiographs.

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 her 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. Because these are soft tissue structures their prolapse doesn't show up on radiographs initially. Sometimes months later we can see signs of bony bridging. 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 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 her spinal cord and degeneration of the cord. It is often one sided, 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.

But the most likely cause of her condition is an Aortic Thromboembolism (saddle thrombus). This is a blood clot that formed in the heart, usually secondary to a primary heart disease called cardiomyopathy, and has lodged in her aorta usually cutting off the circulation to her rear legs. 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. Her pads on her rear feet may feel cooler and look darker in color compared to her front foot pads 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 her 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.

Your girl needs further diagnostic testing as soon as possible. Until we know why she is the way she is we cannot direct treatment.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 11 months ago.

Hello, I wanted to make sure that you didn't have any further questions for me, and I'd like to know how things turned out for your kitty. If you could give me an update that would be great, thank you, ***** *****