My cat has gone from limping to dragging his rear legs

mirojobmw

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Good morning, I have a 12 1/2 year old male Persian named Cielo (spanish for heaven, sky, my dear) Prior history before this was occasional urinary crystals/blockage and he is on Royal Canin SO food. About a year ago, he had a blockage and was placed on meds. He fully recovered.

Early March, as he tries to jump onto my bed (about 2 1/2 ft high), I hear a thump. Guessed he fell when jumping. Thought nothing of it as appeared normal. About a week later, the same thing again, but this time noted some limping. His limping does not get better so took him to Vet #1 - they said bad arthritis in one hip and said to use Cosequin & they did a rabies shot. No xrays or meds even suggested. Two weeks later noting limping appears to cause kind of a hip movement like his hip is giving out so get another appointment with a different vet & take to Vet #2 on 4/21/21. From 4/15 to 4/21 (as took video), he went from walking funny/less to now dragging his rear two legs. He is eating well, using the litterbox (though right next to it as trouble maneuvering), and interactive. He has maybe lost .2 llbs. They said his blood work is normal and not thrombosis; they did xrays (though vet admits radiologist will have to do reading) and suggest neuro. They note that his paws are warm and have feeling in same (as they did testing).

Radiologist report comes back:
CONCLUSIONS: - Cardiomegaly. Cardiomyopathy is thought to be most likely. This increases concern for potential aortic thromboembolism; however, the history of normal femoral pulses is less compatible with this condition. - Generalized hepatomegaly. Differentials include endocrinopathy, hepatitis, or neoplasia. - Bilateral hip dysplasia with degenerative joint disease. - Narrowed intervertebral disc spaces. Given the clinical history, this could indicate intervertebral disc herniation at one or more sites. Alternate possibilities include positional artifact or degenerative intervertebral disc disease without herniation. - No evidence of large spinal mass or grossly displaced spinal fracture. Potential more subtle spinal lesion may be present without conspicuous radiographic evidence. RECOMMENDATIONS: Depending on the detailed results of neurological evaluation, consider MRI or CT for further assessment of the spine. Additional evaluation of the heart and/or liver should also be considered

He is now placed on Gabapentin 2x day and prednisone 2x day.

As we have one neuro in my city (yes at 1 million population, there is 1 facility!) take to 3rd vet 5/2/21 (recommended by others) as pet owners had suggested sounds like a herniation, based on fall, and how walking got worse. They just continued same meds and suggested if problem breathing may get heart testing. they note for neuro negative cPL on both hind legs. Deep pain and withdrawal present. Anal tone present. note nonambulatory on both rear legs put can move legs somewhat. Heart with no murmur or arrthymia, normal brochovesicular lung sounds. Diagnosis paralysis

". Pet has good pulses, feet are not cold and he does not seem to be painful so I do not think there is any thrombus currently. Discussed elevated risk of developing a thrombus due to enlarged heart and recommend evaluating heart with either proBNP test or echo, but I don't think it is the cause of our current problem. Discussed likely herniated disc or fibrotic myopathy that is seen in Persians " "Recommend consultation with neurologist and advanced imaging to confirm diagnosis. Owner cannot pursue neuro consult currently. Discussed other options- physical therapy once containment period has ended to help prevent muscle atrophy, phototherapy which we do offer here to help with healing and inflammation. Discussed acupuncture as well but we do not currently offer that here. Continue to keep pet confined and monitor for any worsening. "

5/6/21 I ended up accessing my Carecredit (medical credit card) and got an additional $4,000 in limits - made neuro appointment as not comfortable as he now pretty much just lies all day, but gets up a little to eat. Noted at this time, seeing less urine and feces.
5/7/21 He did have a bowel movement overnight along with good urine on my floor (he did not make it to littler box - fortunately, I have a terrible sense of smell so probably less bothered by it than some)
* First available neuro appointment is June 3rd - this is in Jacksonville FL - We have ONE facility in town - noted two others claimed they did neurology, but when call they advised they have no MRI machine or neuro - unclear why false advertising...
* closest vet school is Univ of Florida about 2 hours away

Admin answering phone at neuro said if get worse would suggest emergency med facility. (she gave example - such as legs becoming like noodles, trouble breathing, seizures, etc)

Does anyone have any thoughts, suggestions - I cry a few times a day as feel he will pass based on going downhill. (eating and drinking less) His legs do still have feeling as was trying to learn to express his bladder yesterday and he starting crazily kicking me. Also tried the pinch test on his paws and still with fine feeling. He still has plenty of Rx as last vet suggested we continue that route.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. So sorry this is happening to Cielo. I don't have any wonderful suggestions, but did wonder if any of these vets would be willing to actually do a phone consult with vet university? From what I have read on this site and others, the university might entertain a phone consult with a vet and the vet can provide all the related test results to them for review. Even through a phone consult, they may see something overlooked/not thought of by the vets, given their training in situations that sometimes a vet never sees in their practice. Did you by chance look for a VCA Animal Hospital nearby - perhaps they would have the equipment to perform an MRI?

In the meantime - which I am sure you are already doing - is keep his food/water nearby so that he can get to them readily and easily. A very low sided box - even a large cardboard box lid with puppy pee pads inside - nearby might help. Even puppy pee pads without the box, perhaps? A little bit of his urine, or even feces, placed on a pee pad might make him realize what the pads are for.

Baby food meat (Gerber Stage 2 or Beechnut) might help him eat a bit more - and, while not nutritionally complete for a cat, it would at least add to his caloric intake. At this juncture, if it were me, I would also try other canned cat foods, in case he might find those more appealing to eat at this time. Fancy Feast pates are generally well liked by many cats, and it is was I started feeding Feeby when she began to reject her RC SO food.

Hope you will soon hear from others with their thoughts. Please keep us posted.
 

mrsgreenjeens

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I don't have any ideas on what you can do other that what FeebysOwner FeebysOwner already suggested, but thought I would say that as soon as I started reading your thread I thought this might be a herniated disc. We had a cat who had this and one morning we woke up and she couldn't move her back legs. We actually had no idea she had the issue until that day, but had noticed she wasn't jumping like she used to. She was 16 1/2 at the time and had lots of other medical issues, so her not jumping like before didn't really ring any bells :frown:

Along the same lines, my hubby has an "enormous" herniated disc right now, and is in talks with neuro about what to do about it. He takes Gabapentin twice a day too, along with an antinflammatory (which Pred is), so the treatments so far are the same. He sometimes will lose feeling in his legs, mainly because he actually has two herniated discs, one on the left side and one on the right. it could be your girl has this too, which would probably take an MRI to show. What I don't know, though, is if anyone does disc surgery on cats, or just how costly that would be. I'm thinking pretty expensive. And physical therapy probably is out with a cat because, well, she's a cat. All that being said, hubby's dr said these things CAN heal themselves, with time, but after a certain amount of time, they probably won't. This is why an animal neuro specialist is your best bet. They can tell you IF self-healing is possible, or if it's really something else entirely.

:vibes::vibes::vibes:
 

Xena44

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Blue Pearl 24/7 emergency vet in fort myers has an MRI. ($$$😐) I know it’s a hike but you may be able to get in before June 3. (That’s an absolutely ridiculous time to wait). Physical therapy is possible for a cat. Hydrotherapy can be very helpful. I would think you could find tutorials online or your vet may be able to guide you. please keep us posted. Good luck!!!!
 
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mirojobmw

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Thanks everyone for the feedback. He is still eating and drinking. The last two days I also saw him grooming himself. (which he had not been for awhile) I'm learning to stimulate to get him to urinate. Does anyone have any suggestions on cat diapers as for some reason, he likes to sneak out at night and roam my room and ends up urinating/defecating every night on the bathroom floor. I'm not really seeing leaking of the urine during the day, it's just at night - could he possibly be stimulating himself to make himself defecate on a smooth wood floor? (as he other room is carpeted and not seeing any problems there - He's contained to a carpeted bedroom and adjoining bathroom with woodlike flooring)
 

FeebysOwner

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I would try puppy pee pads before resorting to a diaper. If not pee pads, a thin washable rug/non-plastic bath mat, or an old sheet that you could cut up into pieces and place on the wood-like flooring in case the other options are too soft for what he is trying to accomplish. Maybe it has something to do with the cooler surface of the flooring as opposed to carpet?
 

fionasmom

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Your cat is presenting exactly like a dog with degenerative myelopathy....I am not saying that is what he has, but management-wise you are facing the same thing. If you have to resort to diapers, make sure that from diaper number 1 you take extremely good care of his skin under the diaper as he will develop the exact equivalent of diaper rash or the like. If you can avoid diapers it is preferrable.

If you use pee pads, possibly putting a plastic tarp under the pads would provide double protection for your floor but still allow him the coolness that seems to help him.

If you gently place his paw on its top by putting the toes against the floor rather than the pad, does he immediately bring it back into place? Don't do this if you feel it would cause him any pain though.
 

mrsgreenjeens

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IF you need to go the diaper route, just google "cat diapers" and many will come up in your search.
 
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mirojobmw

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He does have feeling in his feet/paws. I've been keeping him diaper-less so far & the last two days he hasn't had any accidents as I've been expressing his bladder more. He also came up to me yesterday (not typical) so I expressed him as guessing he was letting me know. He's been a little more cooperative. Yesterday he had a better mood day as did not go under the bed at all and just hung out on my bedroom floor.

Fortunately, I called the last vet I saw yesterday and advised I now had a neuro referral as the situation upset me enough that could not hold off (increased CareCredit limits as well). Asked her to advise vet and see if the vet maybe thought more imperative they get me in sooner vs later (3 wks) as per the neuro office, if a vet calls they may 'work me in sooner' - Magically, this morning, the neuro called me and he goes in tomorrow. He cannot eat /drink after midnight, so guessing preparing just in case he has emergency surgery. thanks everyone for the continued feedback.
 

Xena44

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I cat sat for a cat for years that was paralyzed in the hind end and I expressed her bladder four times a day and helped her have bowel movements. She only ever leaked if her bladder got to full which wouldn’t happen if I regularly expressed it. You say he’s only having leakage problems at night. Is there any possibility he is urinating on his own?
 
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mirojobmw

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So my cat's MRI and CT scan took place last week. The hope was that it was a herniation/disc issue and they would do the MRI then the surgery. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The neurosurgeon called me and advised of same and that this was the first time he had seen these findings and will be consulting with another neuro and possibly some others.

He advised it appears he has a possible congenital/birth defect where 3 of his thoracic vertebrae are fused together. Then he noted the mass that is present. He noted as well the degenerative (arthritic) findings which was expected.

I am going to provide the actual findings - they part that worries me most is ' Probable diffuse metabolic bone disease & The radiologist suspects that there may be diffuse disease within his bone' -- would this possibly mean osteosarcoma?
Cielo/my cat is current still eating, drinking, being social and urinates/deficates with assistance. I'm loving on him as much as possible as his findings are severely worrying me that his time here may be short.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

HIS FINDINGS BELOW:
Clinical Pathology: 4/21 Banfield Chemistry: normal; CBC: no significant abnormalities

Radiology: rDVM radiographs radiologist report: cardiomegaly, hepatomegaly, hip dysplasia, narrowed disc spaces, no obvious spinal neoplasia Radiology Review (CT and MRI).
1. Major morphologic vertebral anomaly with fusion of vertebrae T1, T2 and T3 segments with kyphosis and scoliosis.
2. Vertebral canal stenosis at the transition from the block to normal vertebral segments (T3-4) resulting in marked spinal cord compression.
3. Regional enhancement at T3-4 involving the spinal cord, epidural space, osseous structures and paraspinal soft tissues consistent with regional inflammation.
4. Probable diffuse metabolic bone disease; many bones imaged have heterogenous medullary cavity attenuation, variable cortical thickening and variable malformations.
5. Multifocal dorsal articular and costovertebral osteoarthritis.
6. Bilateral shoulder osteoarthritis.
7. Multiple physes remain evident.
8. Atypically thickened clavicles.
9. T2 hyperintense tubular structure craniodorsal abdomen of unknown association. Conclusion. Imaging findings are consistent with a severe developmental anomaly of the T1, T2 and T3 vertebral segments SUPERIMPOSED on some type of diffuse metabolic bone disease, the latter seemingly unrelated to the cervicothoracic anomaly. The enhancement at T3-4 may be a manifestation of recent trauma. This point is a major stress riser given the morphologic anomaly and ongoing injury and remodeling ot this region may be resulting in the current clinical episodes. With respect to the diffuse osseous changes, given that the epiphyses appear normal, hypothyroidism or mucopolysaccharidoses are unlikely. Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) infection could potentially result in the diffuse changes present. Changes secondary to nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism could possibly have this appearance

Summary & Recommendations: As we discussed his MRI showed several abnormalities while we are waiting on the final radiologist evaluation we will continue with the current medications but we will increase his prednisone frequency.

ANOTHER RADIOLOGIST ALSO PROVIDED A SHORT ADDENDUM: There appears to be multiple abnormalities in several bones throughout Cielo's skeleton. The most dramatic and neurologically-related abnormalities are in the first 3 vertebrae of his thoracic spine (T1 thru T3). The radiologist suspects that there may be diffuse disease within his bones which may or may not be directly related to the fairly bizarre changes at T1-T3.
 

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Xena44

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Holy frijole man, that’s rough. You will have to wait and see what the final word is and what the treatment options are. That’s a lot to digest tho. How are you doing with all this? How is your cielo?
 

Bri5

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I would call or email UF Vets. They may be interested in helping.
 

fionasmom

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Yes, I agree, you and your cat have definitely been given a pretty hefty diagnosis. As for the metabolic bone disease, it can include non cancerous conditions like osteoporosis and mineral disorders; however, I can't pretend to know that your vet is thinking about this. I also wonder if an MRI and CT scan would have conclusively shown osteosarcoma if it were present.

It sounds as if the doctor is being proactive and is not unable to contact other vets. This was a neuro referral already, but I have to agree that if you can access a veterinary teaching hospital it might be a good next step. If you do this in a timely manner, I would think that they would not run up your bill by wanting new imaging tests but would think that the CT and MRI were recent enough that they could be used.
 
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