16 yr old cat - sudden temporary hind leg paralysis

hopscotch

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I’m really sorry to hear about this happening, but has anyone suggested testing your cat’s blood pressure? I am no vet but I don’t understand how this can happen suddenly and why the coughing? That sounds like something to do with the heart. I believe hyperthyroidism is hard on the heart and could lead to a sudden blood pressure spike that could cause a stroke. I’ve got a cat on daily blood pressure medication now and it’s cheap and easy to give and the quality of life improvement is clear. I hope for the best for you however it all turns out.
 
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Cesrenia

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I'm not really sure. I'm wondering if the coughing was a fluke because the paralysis really came on after he jumped on the bed and the coughing was right before that. It was like a very light coughing up a hairball type cough. And it hasn't happened again. They did full blood work and said everything was pretty much good. BUN was high but his creatinine was good. His thyroid was a little up but they said that was fine. They did mention his red blood count being up but said that was a good thing. I'm honestly not sure if they checked his blood pressure. It was all so overwhelming. However, the x-ray is what showed the area in his spine that's causing the paralysis. Thank you for the well wishes ❤
 

hopscotch

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Hi Cesrenia, as far as I know high blood pressure only shows up if they test it with their blood pressure machine, not in the blood work. Might be worth a call to cross it off the list for good? 😊
 
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Cesrenia

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Hey y'all.
I have another problem I'm worried about. He hasn't had a bowel movement since his injury Wednesday. He is eating and drinking. And he's still urinating. I've been giving him some miralax hoping that would help but since he's not really moving around he hasn't pooped. I'm starting to get worried. I'm thinking about taking him to an emergency vet tomorrow maybe they can give him an enema? I don't really know the time frame of how long he should go without having a bowel movement before it's an emergency. I have enough anxiety over all this so I'm afraid to even Google anything. You guys have any suggestions? I don't have any canned pumpkin on hand and I know I can get some tomorrow but I'm not sure how long to let this go on cuz I don't want any permanent damage happening because of stool sitting in his colon for too long.
On a positive note he is having more twitching/shakiness in his legs whenever I touch certain part of his legs or lift up his rump to help him walk so I'm hoping that's a good sign.
 
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Cesrenia

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1/4 tsp twice a day with wet food. I started giving it to him Friday night. He eats the wet food up and he wants treats but I'm not giving him any more now and he hasn't eaten any dry food, which I'm glad. I did give him a little extra Miralax today.
 
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Cesrenia

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But his tummy feels tight :(
 

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I'm so sorry to hear about your kitty. My cat Dillard was diagnosed with a slipped/herniated disk almost exactly a year ago, although he could still move his legs. For him, only his tail was affected, although he was in extreme pain.

I second the recommendation to see a specialist. We spent about a month going back and forth to different vets who couldn't properly diagnose or treat the issue before we finally saw a neurologist. She was able to assess how bad the disk was and give our cat an effective combination of pain meds (they put him on both gabapentin and buprenorphine, which was extremely helpful). I'd also recommend restricting his movement as much as possible right now if you can. We didn't do that at first and I regret it.

For the constipation, we tried Miralax, although it did take a couple of days to work. We also made sure Dillard had enough fluids by adding extra water to his wet food. For Dillard, I think the constipation was caused by the pain, so the proper pain meds were the most helpful in keeping his bowel movements regular.

In the end, the neurologist suggested Dillard spend a month on "crate rest." We ended up keeping him in a bedroom with no furniture except for a low futon mattress. He was on pain meds for the first 10 days or so, although he continued the gabapentin as needed. He was so much better after that month. He still gets flair ups and needs gabapentin from time to time, but he is much better.

Again, the biggest thing I'd suggest is seeing a specialist to make sure your cat gets proper pain management and restricting his movement if possible. I hope your cat starts feeling better soon! I know how sad and scary it can be to see them like this. ❤
 
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Cesrenia

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Thank you for this thorough information, especially the info about specialist and the pain medications. I do think the constipation probably has to do with his age (he's been constipated lately, but has never gone this long) and definitely the pain. I hope nothing else. Upon calling the emergency vets about his constipation, they recommended me bring him in to have him checked out. It's frustrating because they want x-rays again and he just had them, but I understand why. They want to make sure an enema is not going to cause any more damage and possibly see if there's another reason he's constipated. I'll update y'all when I find out anything. I appreciate all of you who have responded to my posts ❤
 

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aw, poor baby. I'm glad your taking him in to find out what is causing constipation. an enema may be in order. just so you know, there are prescription meds beside miralax that can help the motility of his bowels if needed ( like Cisapride ) if that is being affected by the nerves there. Hopefully, its just a temporary thing from all the upset and just some fluids and miralax will do the trick ! by the way , I had a kitty who struggled with bowel issues and once went a whole week without a BM .. it is not unheard of in some circumstances. Of course they they should go daily or at least every other day , but some illnesses can drag it out a bit longer. my Bella had been to the vet to be cleaned out ( impaction) ..pooped there like 5 x in 2 days, then came home and didn't go again for a week ! its all a learning experience. You are doing a great job staying on top of all this stuff !! Thanks for updates !! :rock:
 
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Cesrenia

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We're back home after the emergency vet trip and I left more confused than before. They couldn't feel any constipation and decided on bloodwork instead of x-rays. They said there was no need for an enema. Turns out they say he has kidney failure as his kidney levels were really high. (Not sure at what stage since my vet will have to compare the recent bloodworks. The ER veterinarian made me feel really bad, I'm sure not on purpose but saying "at some point you have to think about his quality of life". I TOTALLY get that because I've been through a lot with my 5 geriatric cats over the years and I have been there and had to make the difficult decisions for their best. I only have two of them left and they are my world. No I do not want him to suffer but I want to give the prednisone time to help his back. I'm still seeing movement in his legs when I move them or touch them so I'm not ready to give up. He's still eating and drinking and I really want to give him a chance to get better. So I opted for them to give him sub-Q fluids and I took him home. They said it was the kidneys that were making him not be constipated I don't quite understand it all. I'm just confused as to why my veterinarian told me his kidneys were fine when I had blood work on Thursday. They said his bun was up but his creatinine was okay so I just trusted that they were right. I'm going to follow up with my regular veterinarian tomorrow about his kidneys and back and still ask questions about a specialist.
 

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That ER vet was out of line - just leave it at that and don't worry about their remarks. I think you are doing just what I would be doing in your situation. Not that me agreeing makes it 'right', but I am 'in your corner'.

BUN being up but creatinine being normal, sounds more like stress and dehydration, which can also impact other kidney numbers too. And, actually so can creatinine be affected - again, with dehydration. Although I am sure it can vary by cat, but from all the reading I have done, constipation is more likely when a cat does have CKD. However, having said that, Feeby is in early CKD and -knock on wood - it hasn't affected her stool - so far anyway.

I thought about his lack of BMs and wonder if he is 'holding it' because of his inability to get to the litter box. Are you periodically taking him to his litter box and see if that makes any difference? It is a lot harder to hold pee in than it is poop. If you have diapers on him, that might also present some hesitancy on his part to poop. Just a thought...

Finally, get copies of his blood test results - at least the last few and compare them yourself. It is always a good idea to know what the vet is talking about and looking at when they advise you of the changes. I learned what the elements mean on blood tests, and have actually made my own spreadsheet of Feeby's past two years of blood work so I can easily compare them all for changes/trends. (Sorry, if I am repeating something I already told you, but I 'preach' this same advice to most anyone who owns a cat that is older and having health issues.)

EDIT: Would he mind if you stimulated him like they do little kittens to get them to poop?
 
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Cesrenia

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Feeby's owner, thanks, truly. I had read about stress and dehydration affecting the kidney levels, I was hoping the ER vet might have mentioned that but I didn't suggest it either. But that's a great idea to get the bloodwork from both recent trips and compare myself. I hadn't thought of that.
He is wearing diapers, but not 24/7. I put him on puppy pads to let him air out some and let him clean himself. I have taken him to the litter box but he tries to get out. I guess I should I continue with the Miralax? I actually did try to "stimulate" him to poop but it was just quickly out of desperation and I didn't really look up how to do it right. I can certainly try again as he didn't seem to mind.
I haven't had to deal with CKD in a couple of years and there's a really informative website on it so I'll be reading up on that again. Again, I appreciate your comments so very much.
 

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Hi. Honestly, I think your best option would be to get into a specialist ASAP.
So, ER Vets job is to keep them alive until the regular vet can see them. Sure to an ER vet triaging the night, your cat would fall way down the list. A Specialist won’t think that way. ER Vets make everyone feel bad.

There has to be a loss of over 70% of the kidney function for the creatinine time elevate and show on blood work.
Elevated BUN is a sign of dehydration. So is hemoconcentration, the elevated RBCs.I don’t know why but allot of Vets don’t understand cats.
Ask your regular vet for a referral to a Specialist. Or even the ER vet can refer you.
 

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Bowel management in incontinent pets - HandicappedPets

There are numerous steps here for expressing bowels. The person who asked the original question had a cat with a spinal condition.

Stimulating Kittens — Kitten Lady

Instructions for a kitten

I do want to caution that I have never had to express the bowels of a cat. I have done it for my previous GSD who was paralyzed, but I would be more hesitant to try that method (gloved lubed finger inserted into the rectum) on a small animal unless I were given some guidelines from the vet. If you can get to your vet and resolve this quickly, the constipation part, that is the best first step.

Some ER vets are very good and some are really only doing first aid OR are going to start at square one as if you never took your pet to a vet before, neither of which is a help. I am sorry that the one you got was more confusing than anything else. I also have to wonder if he is holding the poop just because of the strangeness of what happened to him and the new introduction of the diapers.
 
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Cesrenia

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So at this point, what type of specialist would he need?
 
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Cesrenia

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So at this point, what type of specialist would he need?
 

FeebysOwner

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So at this point, what type of specialist would he need?
I would think neurology. If you have a specialty group to call you could explain the situation and see whether an internal medicine specialist would be sufficient, but they would also be able to tell you if it would be better to see a neurologist. You might have to go through your vet to set up an appointment; a lot of specialty groups only work by referrals. Nonetheless, they still might be willing to offer their opinion through a phone conversation knowing you will need to pursue a visit through your primary vet.
 
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