I'm trying to do some...
I'm trying to do some research on a limping / lameness issue we're experiencing w/our 8-month-old Snowshoe Siamese. Here's a quick summary of her history & what's transpired in the past several weeks:
--- Adopted her from cat rescue organization in August 2008
--- Tested negative for Feline Leukemia/Aids at time of adoption
--- Tested negative again for the above 2 items just a week ago when vet recommended retest
--- Cat rescue organization discourages declawing, so we had been using Soft Paws nail covers (www.softpaws.com)
from the time we took her home in Aug. '08 until a
few days prior to Christmas '08
--- Have always fed her her high-quality dry kitten food obtained from various pet stores around town. Changed her about 1.5 months ago from what we were feeding her to Science Diet Kitten Indoor.
--- Changed her back to something else food-wise just yesterday... Eukanuba Kitten (Dry)
--- She's a 100% indoor kitten
--- Had her spayed in Oct. '08 & seemingly had no post-operative issues & got back to normal pretty quickly afterwards
--- Prior to about a month ago, she had always been a "jumper", having no trouble jumping up/down onto couches, our bed, a higher-than-usual vanity in our bathroom, etc.
--- Right around a month ago, we noticed she wasn't jumping as frequently up/down onto things. Or, she'd jump up onto something really easily but would then meow
quite a bit when she was ready to get *down* from whatever she'd jumped up on as if she knew she was going to have problems landing or she sensed it was going to be painful to land.
--- We dismissed this at first, thinking that maybe all of her jumping had caused a slight sprain or something minor of that nature.
--- Noticed shortly after this hesitancy to jump that she began showing a bit of a limp w/her left front leg
--- Noticed about the same time that she was slowing-down & not really running around the house very much at all
--- Also noticed about the same time that if you threw a cat toy down the hall in front of her, she would either take an initial leap to begin running to catch it & she'd stop after her front left leg sort of "buckled" on the initial impact on it, or she'd sort of "bunny-hop" down the hall to get to it instead of the normal running gait of a cat
--- I removed the Soft Paws nail caps on 12/24/2008 just to see if those had somehow caused pain/etc. with one/several of her nails/feet
--- Took her to our long-time vet on 12/26/2008 (this is the 3rd cat I've had in about 14 yrs. & have used this one vet all those years)
--- He did examination (no bloodword or xrays at this initial exam) & found nothing. He mashed on her paws, manipulated them in various directions, looked for signs of infection where the Soft Paws had been on her claws, & so forth... everything looked fine & our kitten didn't seem bothered at all by this poking & prodding... no sign of pain from her. No temperature, inside of mouth looked fine, eyes looked good, & heart sounded good.
--- Vet thought maybe some sort of odd irritation from the Soft Paws or the super glue that holds them onto the claws causing the limping and apparent sensitivity or odd usage of specifically that front left paw, so he recommended 5 days of Metacam (6 drops per day). Then we reduced down to 1 drop per day every other day & did that about 3 times.
--- Metacam seemed to have no effect on her walking / gait / limping / favoring of that left front paw. He took her off the Metacam.
--- Took her in for complete blood panel and x-ray of that left front limb. Found absolutely nothing abnormal in blood-work nor the x-ray, aside from him saying that
the vet tech. helping w/the x-ray couldn't really easily get our kitten to fully stretch-out that left front limb fully. Found no abnormalities in the x-ray.
--- Vet called vet hospital in Pennsylvania for consultation. Recommended that they send my vet a test kit for them to check on a disease (Mucopolysaccharidosis) that Siamese cats seem prone to get. Waiting on test kit to arrive and then will send
mouth swab & possibly urine back to Pennsylvanie for analysis.
--- Over past several weeks, kitten's appetite is about half of what it used to be, water intake is down to about 50% of normal, and of course daily litter box activity reduced. Her walking is very, very slow and gingerly & most (if not possibly ALL) of her issues seem to still revolve mainly around that left front limb.
--- She's on trial run of Doxycycline now per recommendation (I believe 1 ml. of it in a
liquid form twice daily for test period of 2 weeks) of vet since it apparently treats infections and has an anti-inflammatory benefit as well. I've read a lot on the Internet about this drug & it's reported to help w/non-specific lameness in animals in many cases.
--- Has been on the Doxyclcline for 1 week now. Doesn't really seem to be helping.
--- Vet is very puzzled at all of this, & so am I...
--- She generally seems pretty content & playful if you come to HER since she's not really doing a great deal of moving around. She'll purr & roll over & act about 90%
normal in that respect. Uses her paws to bat at toys while sitting still, kneads with both paws on a blanket frequently & w/no problem, scratches on her scratching post w/no problem, & doesn't seem to be in any pain... just reluctant to put full weight & normal motion on her limbs & again, specifically seemingly that left front limb.
--- We have a 4-year-old daughter who's a little overbearing w/the kitten at times, but I'd consider her no more "rough" or overbearing w/her than most children at that age that are excited to have a pet. Lots of picking her up & carrying her around the house with her & maybe up in the cat's face a little too much or just not understanding fully as to when the kitten has had enough of our daughter's attention & just wants to be left alone to go sit on a blanket or something. We are very watchful over our daughter in all respects & have never observed her trying to do something "radical" to her like throw her up in the air or trying to drop her from a tall height or trying to pull her limbs all sorts of directions or anything overly-aggressive like that.
--- She has a pretty decent appetite if you pick her up and carry her directly in front of her food bowl. It just seems like she'd rather stay laying down wherever she is and eat less than to have to take the trouble to get from point "x" to point "y" where the food bowl / water bowl are located.
--- She's using the litter box about 1 time per day, which I know is highly-reduced. She'll use it maybe 2 times per day if you take her to it and place her down in there. Again, it seems like she'd just rather "hold it" and go less frequently per day rather than have to take the effort to walk from one room to the next to get to it. Plus, I know the reduced appetite/liquid intake is of course cutting down on her frequency of litter box usage as a whole.
--- I'm literally out of ideas on this one and my vet is equally-puzzled.
--- Her back legs seem pretty much "normal" and very, very strong.
--- Maybe 50% of the time if you're holding her and you place her down on the floor a little less than gently, her front left leg will "buckle" and then she'll adjust her footing & will then place it down on the floor normally.
--- Her right front leg seems a little different like the left front leg a little bit of the time, but again, it seems like 90% of her problems at present are still related to that left front leg being weak.
--- Continues to exhibit no signs of pain if I gently pull & bend on any of her limbs or squeeze them & so forth.
With all of this in mind (and SORRY for the long post, but I wanted to be very thorough), do you have ANY other ideas as to what we may be dealing with here?
Again, when all of this started, I thought it was just a sprain from jumping down from a counter a few times too many that was technically a little too high for her or something related to irritation from the Soft Paws nail caps, but I'm just not sure at this point if either one of those items are valid as to the source of her problems.
Many thanks in advance for any tips / recommendations / suggestions... I really do appreciate any additional insight you might be able to offer.