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Kitten Brain Damage After Surgery And Now Back Leg Paralysis

Discussion in 'Cat Health' started by AKcats, Jan 1, 2019.

  1. AKcats

    AKcats Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Jan 1, 2019
    We had our 6 month old Siamese-tiger cat mix breed kitten spayed in October. When we picked her up, she was wobbly and the vet said that she was probably just recovering from the anesthetics. Days later she continued with this behavior and she has never improved since then. We took her to the vet after seeing she was lethargic one day and they found her to be dehydrated but with no other symptoms and her blood tests and x-ray came back great. She has large pupils, and continued to be wobbly and walking with imbalance in her back legs. In everything I've read online she suffered some sort of brain damage during the surgery and it would never get any better, I found several research papers where Siamese cats are susceptible to a mix of Ketamine/Valium used in surgeries to anesthetize them where it could cause them to have low oxygen during surgery or cause other complications, just something for others to watch for. So we accepted that our poor kitten was special and would be this way. She still had a lot of her personality but just didn't move around as well any more. The vet treated her with Clindamycin antibiotics for 4 weeks just in case she had toxoplasmosis affecting her brain that may have flared up during the surgery. This did improve her attitude, and her lethargy went away but she still had her balance issues.

    Once we finished the antibiotics our kitten seemed fine, but then started to stagger more and lose her back leg control slowly over several more weeks, and got to the point she wouldn't even try to climb up on our beds and couches anymore either. We again took her to our vet who tried steroids for a few weeks but that didn't help at all so we just assumed this was part of her brain damage and she'd be this way from now on. Then about 2 weeks ago she just totally lost her back leg control. She would try to move her back legs and they would just kick out from under her as if she was trying to jump. Her legs kick fully out extended and she would just flop around on the floor and couldn't get up. We rushed her to the vet but they can't find anything wrong and her blood tests again looked really good. We have her on antibiotics and steroids again now but it's not helping so far. She's now learned not to move her back legs unless she really wants something, but she's basically paralyzed on her hind legs and even her tail doesn't move. She still has bowel and bladder control which is odd if she was fully paralyzed, in fact when she starts kicking on the floor I've now learned she's telling me she has to eat, drink, or go to the bathroom. So I pick her up and carry her to our kitchen and she'll roll over to her food, water, or the cat box to tell me what she wants, very smart kitten for saying she has all these other issues going on. She goes in the litter box just fine as long as I hold her up so she can do her business.

    I know she's not happy, she doesn't purr anymore and just sleeps a lot or just sits here staring at us. My other cats will come by and she'll still try to play with them or toys in front of her so I know our kitten is still in there somewhere.

    Our vets are stumped, they recommend doing an MRI but we live in Alaska and would have to fly to Seattle to do this. The cost of the MRI, more vet expenses, a flight, not to mention putting our kitten through all of this has really been hard for us to justify. To do the MRI they have to put her under anesthesia and after our last experience we're just not even sure she'd survive it. In addition, in what I've read online and what my vet has told us, about half of the issues that they might find with an MRI that could be causing these symptoms are not treatable and they might still recommend us to just euthanize her anyway.

    This week we're taking her in to check her liver function, and try a vitamin B-1 shot but I'm just not very hopeful.

    Any ideas on what else we could try or ideas on what could be going on if any of you have experienced the same? Thanks for any ideas.
    Jack&Jill and tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  2. EmersonandEvie

    EmersonandEvie Mom to Evie, Emerson and Dexter Alpha Cat

    Jul 25, 2017
    Middle Georgia
    I am so sorry that your baby is struggling. I have not experienced what you are talking about, but maybe try physical therapy?
    tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  3. gorgod1

    gorgod1 TCS Member Kitten

    Aug 30, 2018
    Wow, that is so sad. Something, obviously, went wrong during the surgery. Hopefully, the vet tech monitoring your cat while under anesthesia knew what she was doing. Very important to monitor the oxygen, etc. very closely. She should not have even left for a few minutes (if, in fact, she did) I am a little leery of vet techs, but I guess they are a necessity in assisting the vet for surgery. Did you ask your vet about this? Of course, he isn't going to implicate his tech or put his reputation on the line. I can't imagine how you must feel. Keep us posted.
    motherof5cats and tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  4. mrsgreenjeens

    mrsgreenjeens Every Life Should Have Nine Cats Staff Member Advisor

    Aug 13, 2009
    If physical therapy isn't available in AK, maybe even a cat chiropractor or acupuncture might help. I just don't know, but this is such a sad story :frown:. Most of the threads I found aren't really applicable because either something was seen on an xray, or they cats were much older, etc. And, honestly, most kittens with hind leg issues like that still enjoy playing, which your little one doesn't, it seems. But it's great that she can let you know when she needs something. To me, that indicates that if there is brain "damage",, it hasn't effected her intelligence.

    Is there any Veterinary University up there anywhere near you? If so, perhaps they could see her? Or if not, perhaps your Vet could contact one down here in the lower 48 and discuss her symptoms and see if they have ever encountered anything like it. They are usually up on the latest and greatest.

    motherof5cats and tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  5. AKcats

    AKcats Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Jan 1, 2019
    Thanks so far for the comments. I talked to our vet about the surgery, she didn't pull out any charts or anything to show me but said in reading the file notes on our kitten that the surgery went well with all vitals looking normal during the surgery. I did read online where sometimes coming out of surgery, a can can dip down in oxygen while in the kennel and since they aren't being monitored at that point that brain damage could happen if a staff member didn't notice anything. X-rays so far look great with our kitten and we don't see any spinal damage. There is only one chiropractor in Alaska and they are in Fairbanks so Seattle is a closer flight for us if we try that or acupuncture but thanks for the suggestion. My wife tells me I'm too optimistic that she will recover even slightly, but I did see her tail move slightly tonight when she was going to sleep so one can always hope! I'll keep updating and let everyone know how she's doing.
    tarasgirl06 and Kflowers purraised this.

  6. AKcats

    AKcats Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Jan 1, 2019
    Also - I wanted to add that our vet has been talking to a vet school in Washington about everything going on, almost weekly. They too are stumped and say without an MRI that they can't really help us to determine anything else that we haven't already looked at.
    motherof5cats and tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  7. calico man

    calico man TCS Member Adult Cat

    Mar 2, 2017
    Lodi, CA
    Sounds like you may end up with a special needs kitty that will need all of the attention that you are already giving her. Good luck and keep us posted!
    tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  8. mrsgreenjeens

    mrsgreenjeens Every Life Should Have Nine Cats Staff Member Advisor

    Aug 13, 2009
    Since her tail moved slightly on Tuesday have there been any more any further improvements? Just wondering if perhaps this time around it's just taking more time for the antibiotics (and steroids) to take effect?

    motherof5cats and tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  9. Norachan

    Norachan Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    May 27, 2013
    Mount Fuji, Japan
    PushPurrCatPaws and tarasgirl06 purraised this.

  10. tarasgirl06

    tarasgirl06 TCS Member Top Cat

    Sep 19, 2006
    Glendale, California
    @AKcats Though I do not have anything helpful to add except my heartfelt *PRAYERS* for your little treasure and you all, I would just give you big props for not giving up and for keeping hope alive in this difficult situation. It costs nothing to hope, pray, and think good thoughts for someone in need. It is far better than being negative. "While there's life, there's hope" is a cliche for a reason -- it makes sense and it has guided many through dark times in their lives.
    Surgery on anyone, in any conditions, carries with it risks, which is why anyone signing off for surgery, whether their own or a loved one's, has disclaimers to agree to, even though most of us deeply disagree with them. Your little girl is apparently one of few who has not fared well thus far. But that is not reason to give up. :vibes::vibes::vibes::kitty::hearthrob::hearthrob::hearthrob:
    mrsgreenjeens and PushPurrCatPaws purraised this.

  11. 1 bruce 1

    1 bruce 1 TCS Member Top Cat

    Apr 8, 2016
    @AKcats , if you haven't already I would strongly, STRONGLY urge you to seek out a credible veterinarian that offers acupuncture ASAP. Be willing to make the drive, and expect to do it 2-3 (or more) times.
    I've seen good acupuncture vets completely reverse paralysis without knowing why the paralysis happened. Don't ask me how it works, but it does.
    This isn't a false hope for you because everyone is different, but to me this is urgent. No 6 month old any species should be living unable to walk without a clear reason as to why this happened. This is a kitten that should be driving you crazy with their antics and getting into anything, not having to ask you to support him to go potty.
    I admire your dedication to this little cat, but when a dead end with no answers is hit after thousands of dollars, it's time to start looking elsewhere IMO.
    Best of luck.

  12. nahui

    nahui TCS Member Adult Cat

    Dec 8, 2016
    I'd like to add my two cents. A year ago I adopted a paraplegic kitten. Here's the full story: Paralyzed Stray Black Kitten

    I've learned a lot in the past year about caring for him, treatment options, and many other things. Depending on the type of injury, cats can recover the ability to walk via something called spinal walking, which essentially means they walk without their brain making them walk. It is an involuntary, wobbly locomotion, but a walk nonetheless, so please do not lose hope! Worse case scenario you can opt for a drag bag or a cart.

    I agree with other posters, physical therapy is necessary, to keep the joints flexible, maintain muscle tone, and to avoid them losing proprioception. At the very least massage her legs to preserve muscle tone. Stimulate her paws, toes, and tail.

    There are many treatment options besides physical therapy, like acupuncture. The most important thing, I have learned, is not to let too much time to elapse before starting some type of treatment.

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