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Terri, Feline Healthcare Expert
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21708
Experience:  Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
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I have a 1 year old bengal that is showing weakness in s

Customer Question

I have a 1 year old bengal that is showing weakness in his back legs. He cant jump, but is walking ok although not as he was. He has had metacam from the vet and he can find no obvious injury. Could it be distal neuropathy?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Have you looked to see if there is a wound on their foot?
Customer: He has no wounds no
JA: What is the Bengal's name?
Customer: Romeo 😻
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Romeo?
Customer: No, he is eating normally and doesn't appear to be in pain
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr Chris replied 1 year ago.

Hi there. My name is***** to hear that Romeo is unwell. I will do my best to help with your question. First I have a few questions to help me better understand your situation.

​How long has the problem been going on for? Are both back legs affected equally?

Did it appear to start suddenly? Do you know if anything unusual had happened at the time.

When did his treatment with Metacam start? What dose and frequency is he on that medication?

Have you noticed any improvement or deterioration since the treatment started?

Is he on any other medications or have any known medical conditions?

Does he appear to be responsive and behaving normally otherwise? Normal appetite, thirst and toileting?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It had been going on for around 2 /3 weeks. The weakness seems equal in both legs. He has missed a couple of odd days going to the toilet but is urinating as normal and eating and drinking normally.
He has been on Metacam for 4 days now. Dose for 6kg cat. I've noticed no change since he started.
He is no different in himself behaviourally.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He has no other medical problems
Expert:  Dr Chris replied 1 year ago.

Okay, thanks. Usually when we see problems affecting both legs equally, we suspect a problem that originates either the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord up until the section where the nerves that control the legs branch off) or conditions that affect the entire body (such as metabolic disorders and toxicities). Even with conditions that affect the brain, spinal cord or the whole body, we do tend to see the back legs affected first as those nerves are most prone to being affected.​

It could also, as you say, be a distal or peripheral neuropathy. But it is less likely, since one problem (central) is generally more likely than two problems (nerves to both legs).

Expert:  Dr Chris replied 1 year ago.

Have you noticed any pain of his back or any other area when you pat him?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No he doesnt appear to have any pain. Even when the vet was examining him he didnt seem to be in pain and he could find no obvious swelling
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The vet did say he thought there was some tenderness in his right leg but nothing obvious
Expert:  Dr Chris replied 1 year ago.

Okay, sure. Do you notice when he walks, if his "ankles" appear abnormally low to the ground?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
His whole back end seems lower
Expert:  Dr Chris replied 1 year ago.

Does he look like the picture on the right?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No he doesnt look like that
Expert:  Dr Chris replied 1 year ago.

Okay, good. That stance is somewhat typical of diabetic cats, so it's good that Romeo is not walking like that.

At this stage, I would give the Metacam and a plan of "rest" (easier said than done) a little bit more time. It may be that he has some niggling discomfort that he is still recovering from. It may be better for him right now to not jump and over-exert himself. I would give him up to two weeks to response before seeking further help. (Of course, you can also seek help earlier if you are concerned or if he gets worse.)

If his condition does not improve, I would take him back to the vet for a further examination. There are a great number of conditions that may affect the central nervous system, which would be too long for me to list here. But broadly speaking, they include infectious diseases, inflammatory diseases, trauma, intervertebral disc disease and in some cases tumours. In a young cat, tumours are quite unlikely, but not impossible.

The tests I would want to do next would be a blood test and xrays that include his spine and back legs. This would help identify is there is an infectious disease (as his white blood cells would be likely to increase in that case), or if there is a physical problem with the spine.

The most throughout approach would be to ask for a referral to a qualified specialist neurologist for a full neurology examination, if the problem fails to improve with time and medication. These guys really know their nerves and everything to do with them. It is difficult for me to tell you exactly what is wrong without being about to do any neurological exam in person.