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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 11373
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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He ("Foster") is 18 years old. Between the time it took to

Customer Question

He ("Foster") is 18 years old. Between the time it took to pick up my wife from the hospital (less than 2 hours), he has suddenly developed very stiff back legs. He ate as much as he always does and does not appear to be in any more pain than would be caused by stiffness. He is willing to put his weight on both back legs (to get to his food dish and to rub up against our legs) but will sometimes lose his balance and have to catch himself. No loss of bowel control or anything. I read online to look at his gums to see if they're blue-ish, but they look a normal light pink. Thank you for any ideas or suggestions you may have. -Kenneth & Dona
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. The Veterinarian will know if Dona will be able to digest that. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Dona?
Customer: The cat's name is Foster (Dona is my wife). He is male. He was running around the house chasing our other cat just fine as of this last night and this morning. Thank you.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
He is sleeping now and his breathing is normal, so it still doesn't appear that he could be in much pain.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
When we picked him up and lifted his back legs, they would bend normally. But still when he walks, he's keeping them straight out (not bending them).
Expert:  Dr. John replied 5 months ago.

Hello. Thanks for writing in. My name is***** and I would be happy to help you. I am not set up to do phone calls but would be happy to answer any questions you do have online. If you get a request for a phone call, it is from the website and not myself. Just ignore it. There could be a few things going on here. The first thought that usually comes to mind with a geriatric cat that cannot use its back legs is a blood clot (aortic thromboembolism). They are usually painful, though, and the paws on the rear limbs feel cold. If that is not the case, it could be arthritis and soreness from running around last night. He may have even sustained an injury that is causing soreness now. It is possible that he has a slightly herniated disk that is causing some compression on the spinal cord. Sometimes there are metabolic and hormonal issues that cause cause weakness, like kidney disease or hyperthyroidism. A neuromuscular issue (transmission of signals from the nerves to the muscles) is possible but less likely in this case. This just sounds more like a spinal cord, muscular or joint issue, though. Given that his legs aren't bending normally, it sounds more neurologic. If he is resting comfortably, it wouldn't be a bad idea to monitor him for now and see how he does when he wakes up. If he is the same, it would be a good idea to get him seen immediately, but it may still be something that can wait until tomorrow (difficult to predict in that occurrence). If he seems worse, he definitely needs to be seen by a vet immediately. Unfortunately, there are no safe OTC human pain medications you can give a cat. They can all cause worse problems than what you are treating for, especially acetaminophen. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. Hope this helps.

My goal is to make sure that you get all your question answered and all the information you need. IF YOU ARE SATISFIED WITH MY ANSWER, PLEASE RATE IT. Rating it is the only way I get credit for helping you, and we can still continue our conversation after rating. If you feel like it is not helpful to you, or if there is more information you need, please respond back to me before rating. Asking more specific questions usually helps a lot. Realize that our conversation is not intended to diagnose or treat a condition. There has to be a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship established with an exam, according to law. You should always follow up with your vet.

Expert:  Dr. John replied 5 months ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. John
Expert:  Dr. John replied 5 months ago.

Hello. I was just following up to see how Foster is doing and to see if you have any other questions.