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Terri, Feline Healthcare Expert
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 32666
Experience:  Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
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My 5 year old cat has just been diagnosed with having had a

Customer Question

Hello,my 5 year old cat has just been diagnosed with having had a saddle thrombus.He is paralised in both back legs.The vets are giving him drugs to dissolve the clot and to stimulate the nerves,they have also tried, with mild electric current to get some response in the hind legs.He has feeling to the "hocks", but his pads are a very dark blue/red. How long can we keep trying before he has problems with the lower leg (lack of blood flow) He is full of fight! Many thanks Mary
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Terri replied 1 year ago.

Dear *****,

I am so sorry your boy is so ill with a saddle thrombus.

This blood clot can leave the heart in the large blood vessels exiting the heart, but then get stuck in many of the smaller blood vessels leaving those major arteries. When this happens, it can cut off blood supply to a limb. Suddenly the cat limps on that limb and is very painful.

Think of wrapping an elastic band tightly around your finger. Pretty quickly it becomes painful and it is hard to use the finger. This is essentially the same thing that happens when a thrombus blocks blood supply to a cat's limb.

On exam, these kitties present with pain and limping. If the clot has gone to the right front leg (the first "exit" from the major arteries) that foot will be colder than the others and the nail beds will be blue. The blood clot may lodge in the caudal vena cava, which is a major blood vessel leading to both back legs. In this case, the cat will not be able to use the back legs but will drag them around and will be in severe pain. If this happened some time ago, the limbs may be so numb by now that there is no pain from them anymore. However, the pads will be notably cool, the nail beds will be blue and the cat will not have pulses on the back legs. This carries a grave prognosis.

Early treatment involves drugs to stop more clots from forming - the choices are aspirin or coumadin (rodenticide, rat poison, warfarin). Unfortunately, if there is a major clot to both back legs, treatment may not be possible.

It sounds as though the vet is doing everything possible. Ask him about putting your boy in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Some vets have them in office or at least know where one can be found. It would improve blood flow to the affected area.

Please let me know what happens.

Please be so kind as to rate my answer with positive feedback; that is the only way I receive credit for my assistance. Thank you very much!

Providing a positive rating will not end our conversation, should you need me for any follow-up. Simply click 'Reply' for clarification or additional information, if needed, at no additional charge.

Best wishes and prayers for him,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your quick response but please how long should we keep trying? With no blood circulating how long before the leg dies? Thanks Mary
Expert:  Terri replied 1 year ago.

Dear *****,

You are more than welcome. It is my pleasure to help such a wonderful person.

Once the flesh turns black (God forbid) gangrene has set it.That can happen quickly if no blood is circulating.

That is why I want your boy placed in hyperbaric oxygen. It can save his legs and his life.

Let the vet continue with what he/she is doing until you can locate a chamber.

The decision to stop treatment should be made only if gangrene sets in and you cannot get him into a chamber.

I pray things will work out for him. Please keep me updated.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much again we will keep trying as he is so determined to live, it breaks our hearts. Mary x
Expert:  Terri replied 1 year ago.

Mary, you are so very welcome. I understand how heartbreaking it is to love your fur baby so much and see him so sick.

I am glad you will keep trying.

I will be praying with all my heart he gets hyperbaric oxygen and recovers.

Please be so kind as to rate my answer so I am credited by the site. I will still be here for you at no additional charge.

Sending love and prayers,


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