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Post Spine Injury- Bathing Question!

Discussion in 'Cat Health' started by ElleRiggs, Sep 7, 2018.

  1. ElleRiggs

    ElleRiggs Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Sep 7, 2018
    Florida
    Hi everyone-
    My sweet 11 year old had an acute spinal cord injury last Sunday (no fracture- thank goodness). Her hind legs and tail are currently paralyzed, but she's doing well. Slowly getting little leg movements- eating lots and finally drinking water of her own free will this morning.

    I'm looking for a little help with keeping her rear end clean. She urinates and and defecates on her own (with a little trouble- assuming that's the pain meds), but is doing so on her towel palate that I've made her. I change it frequently, mostly when helping her change the side she's laying on to prevent sores. My concern is that she's wet most of the time and, though I clean her as often as possible, I'm worried about a UTI prolonging her healing process. Does anyone have any advice about cleaning her? I have wipes (hypoallergenic) that I use, but have used a warm cloth as well to try to keep her as clean as possible and dry it with a towel after. She urinates frequently due to the steroids and muscle relaxers.

    Thanks in advance for any help! This has been pretty traumatic for me (and I know for her) so even just some positive words/encouragement would be incredibly appreciated. She's not acting like she's ready to give up and I'm desperate to keep her as comfortable and clean as possible. Thank you!
     

  2. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    Hi! I'm glad you came here, welcome!!

    If you don't have a no-chemical wipe, try micellar makeup remover wipes, Garnier makes some, for example try Walmart's beauty section, or Earthbath wipes, pampers aqua pure baby wipes, or seventh generation, to avoid any chemicals, because the chemicals can cause big problems as well.

    Puppy pee pads can be useful if you find some that state that the moisture gets wicked away from the surface. There are reusable/washable ones available.

    Have you been directed to do any physical therapy at home?
    If not, I think even holding her legs in your hands for a few minutes several times a day, your touch as well as the warmth in your hands will help her.
     
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  3. ElleRiggs

    ElleRiggs Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Sep 7, 2018
    Florida
    Wow, thank you so much for the advice! Baby wipes seem like a great idea. Hopefully that will help actually get some of the urine off of her instead of just wiping like I've been doing. Her skin is starting to look pretty raw around her bottom and bottom part of her tail. Do you think anything could better help keep that dry?

    We've been using the pee pads, but you make a good point about some that would pull the moisture away. She still sits in her wet, so maybe one of our pet stores will have some with that 'wicking' function.

    We actually do have a pet PT office (I work in rehab, ironically, but human PT seems a little much haha) and I was going to consult them for getting her legs gently moving. She's making pretty great progress with that on her own. I try to snuggle her and stim her legs/tail as often as possible without overdoing it. She misses her cuddles.

    Now if I could just get her to take these pills without puking them up! Thank you again- it's nice to be on a site with other cat ladies and gents to support us. Sorry for long response- just glad to get this out there.
     

  4. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    Colorado USA
    No worries about length, we're with you all the way!
    What about, in conjunction with a wicking pee pad so she's not sitting in it, a flour sack towel, Walmart has these. I think they'd be the most absorbent and gentle on her bum...
    There are pill pockets, or hiding it in a little butter, or cheddar cheese, try baby food that has no onion or garlic like Gerber stage 2 or beechnut...tuna, basically something your baby will go for ;)
     

  5. Jem

    Jem TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Aug 6, 2018
    One exercise that I used with my cat for his hind legs was I got a soccer or basket ball, and would lay him on it so his upper half and chest was supported by the ball and his hind legs were still touching the floor. I held him on the ball while gently rolling it side to side. It forced my cat to adjust his weight from one hind leg to the other. I also would roll the ball forward til his legs were JUST off the floor then roll it back. It forced him to stretch his legs out "looking for the floor" then contract his stabilizing muscles when his legs made contact after rolling it back.
    I also did range of motion and massage. And resistance training, by pushing on his paws, he would push back and when I pulled (gently of course) he would retract. The range of motion and resistance tended to be at the same time because at first he would just take it (ROM) then would resist (probably because he had had enough of me playing with his legs and wanted chin rubs instead!!!
    My cat is also very "stimulated" when touching the base of his spine. When we scratch him there he automatically lifts his tail up. I did that a lot also to get him moving his tail. I made sure it was very gently, as I did not want to cause irritation, I would just take two fingers and do tiny quick circular movements. When he lifted his tail, I stopped, stroked him (head to tail) till it went down, then did it again. Only 4 or 5 times at a time.

    I wonder if a simple saline solution, using those super soft baby face cloths would be less irritating for her. Dip the face cloth in the saline, then press it to her "little bits" for a few seconds then gently wipe a few times. You could use the chemical free wipes for everything else, where she was laying in her urine.
    Does she mind a hair dryer? I wonder if a hair dryer on the cool setting would help dry her fur quicker. Not necessarily every time, but when you've done a "good cleaning" and she is a bit wet.
     
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  6. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Super Cat

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    I am sorry for you and your kitty; but, it is good to hear she is improving. I don't know much about wicking pee pads for animals, but I do know there are washable wicking pads used in hospitals/geriatric centers that are pretty serious stuff. I would imagine you could buy those from a medical supply store - or call a local hospital to find their source.

    If the behind area is getting raw, it might require some medicated treatment, in addition to keeping the area as clean as possible with non-medicated wipes. Have you asked your vet about that? I know that my vet had me use Pharmaseb wipes, which are anti-fungal and anti-microbial, during Feeby's most frequent UTI. They are rather small and not cheap, but really need only be used specifically on the uvea area. However, these might not be the best solution with the rawness.

    Please keep us posted.
     

  7. ElleRiggs

    ElleRiggs Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Sep 7, 2018
    Florida
    We'll definitely give those flour sake towels a try. Tried a little corn starch earlier in a desperate moment to absorb some wetness, but that didn't last very long before she was wet again. I agree that gentle is best right now!
    In typical sassy cat fashion this girl knows when a pill is in her vicinity and will fight me even if it's tucked in a warm french fry (her favorite naughty snack). We finally got them down after wrestling with her last night and she promptly vomited the pills and her food all over herself. She foams a lot which doesn't help- along with my hesitation because I know that I'm upsetting her. I think I just need to be a little more aggressive with the pill shooter. Vet actually had a great saying about pilling- "time is trauma" -and I'm trying to keep that in mind. Just scruff and shoot (wish it was that easy eek!).
     
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  8. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    Bless your heart, hang in there!!
     
    tarasgirl06 and ElleRiggs purraised this.

  9. ElleRiggs

    ElleRiggs Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Sep 7, 2018
    Florida
    That's a great idea! I can't believe I didn't think about the washable pads we have for our inpatients. I doubt they'll let me steal some, but we have copious med supply stores in our area. We're geriatric heavy in this area so they shouldn't be hard to find.
    Definitely going to give the vet a shout on Monday about some medicated ointment. Those wipes sound perfect and then I can use her other generic wipes for the fur around the area. I'll go to the poor house for my fur babies so it's ok if they're expensive. Thank you for your support and advice!
     
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  10. ElleRiggs

    ElleRiggs Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Sep 7, 2018
    Florida
    How long did you wait post-injury before you started some gentle home PT with your little one? As of midnight tonight it will have been exactly 1 week for Nala. I'm sure it's case by case, but we were just wondering. We've been doing some gentle rotation and flexing her feet. She's making unanticipated progress with actually pulling her feet under her almost into a "monorail cat" position. She gets tired pretty quickly so the ball might be too soon right now, but that is an amazing idea. We were wondering how to go about reminding her that her legs were there without just hanging her there with our hands alone. When she's perky she is very interested in her toys so we've been thinking of ways to incorporate her toys when we start trying to stand her.

    I tossed the hair dryer idea around. Unfortunately scampering from the vacuum cleaner is what caused her injury- she's not the biggest fan of "whirring" machinery (even the water dispenser in the fridge scares her haha). It would be the most effective, I agree. Saline's great so we'll give that a try too. That's our favorite home remedy for patient's in our clinic- salt, salt, salt. I have been so thoroughly thrown off by the whole injury (very attached to my furball) that basic "duh" thoughts (like the salt water, pads, etc.) are just not happening. This site it wonderful- thank you so much for your advice. It is helping us!!
     
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  11. ElleRiggs

    ElleRiggs Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Sep 7, 2018
    Florida
    Just an overall thank you! We're feeling so supported here and it's really helping us work more confidently with Nala. When we saw her normal veterinarian after the emergency clinic over last weekend he was mildly hopeful but said that he estimated she had about a 30% chance of functional recovery. I was devastated with that percentage. Nala was obviously offended by that and has made it her mission to move her legs and tail as much as she is able over the past couple of days- scooting, sitting position (even though her legs stick almost straight out), and evacuating her bowels in an upright "pose."
    Her urination is still very frequent and she stays pretty wet. I know a fair amount of it is unavoidable but the tips here are helping me feel like I'm at least doing the best I can to prevent a UTI. I've had our giant pile of "discard" towels in rotation for a week now. Something I noticed today that helped was using all white towels (I "stole" some from the clinic). Not only does that help me see that she has urinated, but also how much and how frequently. Also, if I can't change the towels right away I at least know where exactly she urinated so that I can scoot her out of it- that's helped a ton! I thought fluffy blankets would keep her comfy but I actually think they're spreading the urine further and making her wetter. Towels and pads it is! Y'all have really helped the overall anxiety about this with just your replies. No tears today! Thank you.
     
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  12. Jem

    Jem TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Aug 6, 2018
    I kept him relatively immobile (only range of motion and massage) for a full week, as per the vets advice, then he (Toby) kinda told me when he was ready, when I felt him using his muscles during the massages and ROM we would do manual exercises (very few at first). It was pretty much at that one week mark that he was really trying to push back and pull away (he never liked having his paws played with) so it was probably about a week after that, that I put him on the ball, but only did it a few times each way (front to back a few times and side to side) it took 2 - 3 mins tops, then would massage his thighs. Then I did it two times a day for 5 mins, then did it longer. Like I said, it was really Toby who told me what he could do and how much for how long. There were a few days hear and there that I didn't do any because I could tell he wasn't up to it, so we cuddled instead :)
    He's not a hundred percent, but he also has muscle atrophy due to kidney disease, and still has some sensory paralysis, did I mention he's almost 20 as well? But he can walk around just fine, can jump (up to) a foot and a half off the ground (if he's not on slippery floors), he can use stairs, but we have baby gates anyway, just to be safe (we don't trust him with the basement stairs at all, too many). We to this day are unsure what caused his paralysis as he was (is) not in any condition to under go anesthesia for x-ray, and we did not see him hurt himself either. I have a feeling he may have tried to jump up on something but failed, or have fallen off of something.
     
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  13. ElleRiggs

    ElleRiggs Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Sep 7, 2018
    Florida
    O, Toby sounds like such a sweetie. I'm glad to hear he regained so much function! I've already started pondering home modification here as well. Fortunately we are in a 1 story home. Once she's out of the cage I know she'll be itching to jump up to my bed (very high) and couch. There's no stopping this one so we're thinking about ordering some of those soft ramps and showing her how to crawl/slide up those.
    She's really made a turn around today pulling her legs under her. I'd say honestly that our only hold up before trying the ball idea and just letting her feel her legs under her in general is some constipation. I expected this but little one is pretty miserable tonight. She's pushing and her tummy is contracting fairly intensely but not too much is happening. I think it's a good sign that she's actually trying to push herself up into the kitty "poop pose" though, right?
    I hope Nala is as exercise compliant as Toby.
     
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  14. Jem

    Jem TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Aug 6, 2018
    Yeah, We are definitely lucky, Toby is the type of cat where as long as he is being touched or getting attention, he doesn't care what is happening to him.
    I remember one time, my niece picked him up. It looked so uncomfortable for him, one back leg dangling, the other stuck in her shirt, one front leg sticking straight out...so I went over to show her how to hold him properly, and he was purring away, eyes half closed. She put him down, and he turned and reached for her hand with his paw. "NOOOOO, keep touching me!!!!!" lol!

    That's great news! But I'm not much help in the pooping posture department, believe it or not, that was one function he was sill able to do. He'd crawl over to the litter tray we made for him, and poop, he sometimes ended up sitting in it also, as he could not hold himself up for very long, but still managed to do it.
    I will add though that his poop was very loose, so not much "pushing" needed to be done. I wonder if a stool softener would be good for him. It might be more messy, but would help him push it out. Ask you vet, if you think that is a good idea.
     
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  15. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    Can you add some plain pumpkin to her food, maybe start with a 1/4 teaspoon, to try and avoid constipation?
    How long has it been since she pooped? What does the vet think - did s/he suggest a laxative or stool softener?
     
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  16. nahui

    nahui TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Dec 8, 2016
    Hi! I have a cat who is also paralyzed. His name is Fetén (he is getting better with PT). I can relate to the issue of keeping their bottom clean. When he first came to me, his behind was so sore that we couldn't tell whether he was male or female. What worked best with him was a sanitary shave, keeping him dry, and lots of diaper rash cream.

    To keep him dry, I manually empty his bladder every 4-6 hours. It is actually pretty easy and I'm sure your vet can teach you how to do it. This prevents the cat from actually peeing all over themselves.

    Alternatively, a sanitary shave helps a lot because it is much easier to clean and dry their skin without having to deal with fur.

    Lastly, I don't know the extent of the injury, but just in case it might help, we tried platelet rich plasma therapy with Fetén and it made a huge difference. May be worth floating the idea by your vet. I hope your kitty makes a full and speedy recovery!
     
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  17. ElleRiggs

    ElleRiggs Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Sep 7, 2018
    Florida
    I tossed around mixing some pumpkin into her wet food today. She has always had difficulty pooping (dry, small, lots of effort but little comes out), so her being constipated now is definitely concerning me. I'm going to call the vet first thing when they open tomorrow to see what we can get on board for her. She's still contracting, but in the last hour or so has started to act like it's really hurting her. She's shivering and gets very upset when I reach for her stomach to turn her over or slide her to a new place on her mat. When I try to wipe her rear (which has gotten very pink) she cries and pulls away from me.
    Hopefully pumpkin or something as easy as that will help. I'd hate to have her take another pill. :(
     
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  18. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    Jan 9, 2018
    Colorado USA
    Can you call an emergency vet tonight? This sounds bad that she's crying and shivering. If you dial your regular clinic, the greeting you hear should provide an emergency number.
     
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  19. ElleRiggs

    ElleRiggs Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Sep 7, 2018
    Florida
    Hi Nahui!
    I hadn't thought about shaving the fur back there. That's a great idea. No matter how much I wipe and try to gently dry the fur it just seems to be perpetually wet. Diaper rash cream is something we hadn't thought of. I'm so worried about secondary infection because of her wetness that I was going to see if something antibacterial from the vet might help. She can't reach all the way back that far yet, so I'm not too worried about her licking it. Diaper cream seems a lot less "chemically" though, so we'll definitely keep that in mind.
    I'm glad to hear that Feten is doing so well, too! Once I get the thumbs up from the vet we're going to call PT this week and see what they think about helping her from here.
    Did Feten have any issues with constipation? We're about 8 days out now and she has truly only had about 3 or 4 nuggets come out. It seems like the constipation has gotten painful enough that she won't let me clean her behind when it's wet. She has a pretty good appetite and nothing is coming out.
     
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  20. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    Are you going to call your vet or an emergency vet tonight? This is serious.
     

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