I have a 12 ish year old cat who is lame at the trot. I don't see her trot more than a few strides at a time, so I've not been able to really pinpoint where, exactly, it is, but I *think* it is a forelimb. She is not heavy, and is still very active.
She's been to the vet recently and was cleared (we just diagnosed IBD via a belly ultrasound) and nothing popped on my vet's very thorough physical exam, although I didn't know she was lame at the time, so we weren't really looking for anything. My vet does feel the whole cat over, manipulate all of the joints and go through range of motion. Nada of note.
I did check her over, trimmed her nails, looked at her feet, and felt around...nothing obvious, nothing she wasn't happy about. No heat, no swelling, no cranky kitty.
I know how to proceed for a lame horse...even for a lame dog...but I'm flummoxed on what I should do with a lame cat who doesn't seem to be bothered. It's not like I can take her in and expect that she will trot down and back for a look-see.
Do I worry about this, or am I cool just waiting and watching?
You so much more of an expert with cats than I am, Simkie, that I hesitate to give advice, but I did have a thought about arthritis. Based on my very human body, I know that there are times when I am lame, and times when I am not. There are so many variables like weather, humidity and level of exercise, that it's hard to pinpoint a cause. Twelve isn't that old, but old enough to be showing the beginnings of this. I know you know how tough cats are, and how much it takes before they show any signs of trouble.
As my cats have aged, I have started to give them all a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement, more as a preventative than as any kind of cure. I wonder if something like that would work with your cat?
Has the cat been tested for feline leukemia?
The first symptom I noticed in mine was that she was a bit gimpy in a foreleg, long before we eventually determined the diagnosis.
Apparently the disease is relatively dormant for years but as it progresses, it first begins to affect the bone marrow. It's the changes in the bone marrow that can cause lameness.
Hopefully, though, your cat has been tested and is negative!
Kimstar, the cat is definitely feleuk negative. Interesting idea, though.
I suppose it's possible that the belly ultrasound--which showed text book IBD--was some how incorrect and it's actually lymphoma, with boney metastasis. That would be sad :(
Louise, do you just the kitty cosequin or something else? Wouldn't be a bad idea for all the meows, as they're 10 - 15 or so...
Maybe she successfully didn't land on her feet right ('cause all mistakes are done on purpose by cats, right?) and knocked a hip/shoulder out of whack?
Does she have a hitch in the giddy-up all the time? Does she move any better once she's been up and about for a bit or sleeping somewhere really warm and comfy? Arthritis might be it -- this winter is the first I've noticed the gimpy movements with my older fluff (also 12), so I'm thinking age and weather is catching up to her joints.
Cats do get osteoarthritis. Sadly, we don't notice (or care) until the affected joint probably looks pretty bad on an X-ray.
A diligent HO may be a different CO and better at keeping a cat sound.
One way to ask if your cat has OA: Do you see any muscle atrophy? I think OA strikes "high up" in cats, rather than low as it does in horses. So look/feel around her elbow for differences in the muscles on each side?
Oh, and we had a funny thread about this a while back-- doing a lameness exam on a cat, flexion tests and all on a squishy animal. Do a search.
With my cats, Simkie, it's a matter of finding something that they will eat. My two older girls (13 and 15) are extremely fussy. The only supplement that I have found that they will eat is Zuke's HipAction. It's relatively low dose, but my vet and I figure that it's better than nothing. The two younguns don't really need anything yet, but I am giving them the Zuke's anyways, more as a preventative. They will eat anything, so I figure that when they get older it will be easy to switch them to a Kitty Cosequin. I've been feeding them all this product for a couple of years. As luck would have it, both the old girls had to have x-rays this Fall and they both show minimal arthritic wear and tear. I can't say whether that's from supplementing or not, of course.
I've been using Pentosan on my 15 year old barn cat who is VERY arthritic- on his bad days he's hunched up and limps significantly. I suppose it's technically off-label use, but he has improved a ton since we started and if he can't get around I'll have to have him euthanized before something gets him :(
Not to derail your thread, but to add a question: we have one who's 8 or 9, who's just NQR and has been for a while. The other cats leap onto and off things like circus performers, while this one hoists herself onto a kitchen chair and climbs onto the table. We made a step for her so she can get onto the bed, but she will climb to the top of the cat tree and sort of pour herself down again. It's hard to identify where it's coming from because she can look off in front and stiff behind, all at the same time. And just to make it interesting, this is the cat who HATES being touched, barely tolerates being picked up to be moved (I do think something hurts) and will scratch or bite with purpose if you push her buttons. We give her kitty cosequin. We give her a little fish oil (shares with the dog) and a little flax seed (from the horse supplement pail!). High quality grain free cat food. Not overweight. Very little muscle, because she gets very little exercise - hoisting herself onto the cat tree is about it. Last time I had one of the other cats to the vet, I picked her brain about this one, and she's not real optimistic about figuring out what's going wrong with a cat who won't let you examine her. We also talked about how hard it is to do pain management in cats. Thoughts? Besides FeLeuk, what else would a cat have that would present as orthopedic?
Give it a week or so & see if it's still there. If so, haul her furry butt back to the vet. Maybe you can video her trotting lame at home & take that (& the cat to the vet). I had one that went lame from cancer - although it wasn't the primary cancer spot. She also may have landed wrong & could have sprained something. Too bad you can't put a cat on a lunge line!
If my cats become lame, that will be the last straw for me. (kidding!) Good luck making kitty more comfortably mobile.
The vet does do the full flexion and full body grope when he examines my critters. Nothing unusual. I cannot discern anything out of whack with her level of muscling.
She is now lame at the walk and unwilling to fully weight the leg when just sitting on the couch. While I can't really say that I evaluate my kitties for lameness with any real regularity, I think pretty much any experienced horse person will notice a limp in an animal. I'm not sure how long this has been going on, but I think that I would have seen it if she were lame for long, right?
Guess it's back to the vet. :sigh:
My limited experience with lameness and small animal vets is that they do not have anywhere near what we expect coming from our horse vets! We have an older kitty who occasionally appears a bit gimpy - he's a big guy and over 12, I'm not surprised. But he gets around really well and doesn't complain. One day he was fine when "we" went to the barn to feed, but at noontime he was 5 of 5 - dead lame on a hind leg. he was also covered in mud on one side. To me, it was obvious he had fallen and hurt himself - I even knew where he probably did it on the farm. Took him to the vet and they X-ray'd and could NOT get past his arthritis. I kept saying, "but he was normal this morning and 2 hours later he's dead lame - he may have arthritic hips but I really think he FELL and hurt something. Arthritis doesn't come on in 2 hours and involve mud". Nope, he has arthritis.
He came around after a week or so to his normal self. But I'm sure he still has arthritis.
Hope your vet is more open minded and that kitty feels better soon
Alright, news from the vet:
The elbow is obviously the problem, as she's resistant to extension or pressure on that joint. We did radiographs and there is nothing of note. The joint itself looks beautiful, as do all of the bony parts around it. (Cat bones are SO WEE. I am used to looking at 70 lbs dogs or horses!)
So she's on some butorphanol for pain and we will reassess in a couple weeks. Diagnosis is that she must have tweaked it somehow.
We also dosed her with some more depo-medrol for her IBD and put her back on Cernia for that problem.
Ouch - I bet that bill hurt :( I tend to think that an unclear diagnosis is better than a bad one. Hope Kitty heals soon!
Yeah. Here are some Facts Fittable On A Fortune Cookie about large and small animals:
Originally Posted by Simkie
In the big uns, 80% of lameness is from the hock/knee down. That's per my lameness guru horse vet.
In the little uns, it's usually high up-- look at hips and elbows first. That's just me and one cat.
Cat stifles have just one ligament going across them, but I don't think I have ever seen a cat with an identifiable stifle lameness. Horses have 3 ligaments there (and dogs have 2). But you see plenty of stifle problems in both horses and dogs.
We brought our lame cat to the vet yesterday and xrays show she has bone chips in both knees! WTF?? The vet will share them with a surgeon and come up with a couple of possible plans. Anybody else have experience with bone chips in cats and/or arthroscopic surgery in cats? Eeesh.
Where does your cat sleep, or spend the bulk of its time, Simkie?
Years ago my aging cat became pretty lame in one front leg. Vet did all sorts of tests, xrays, etc, and pointed out the beginnings of arthritis in one X-ray - which honestly, I couldn't see.
Anyway, I was dubious/curious enough to watch the cat more closely, and realized that the cat slept a lot on top of his scratching post, which had a little carpeted basin - that he spilled out of, because he was pretty large - always the same foreleg.
I put away the scratching post, he moved to the beds and the window sills, became sound.....and stayed sound until he died 10 or so years later.
One of our elderly cats came up with mysterious hind-end lameness, & x-rays showed extreme late-stage arthritis in both hips. Put her on this:
Originally Posted by Simkie
and she showed amazing & remarkable improvement in less than 2 weeks. Just a small squirt (about a teaspoon) mixed into some canned food once a day. It's beef-flavored & apparently even cats like it (I know my elderly coon hound loves the stuff).
But I'd most likely have an x-ray done regardless. My vet also did a thorough joint palpation, but arthritis doesn't always present well thru palpation.
One of our cats was lame a few weeks ago. She is only 4 so I didn't think of arthritis. Checked her claws and nothing abnormal.
However, she is not the most graceful of felines and tends to jump off of things and land like a 20 pound sack of potatoes (she only weighs 6 pounds!). I figure she must have tweaked something doing that.
I was ready to take her to the vet but decided to watch her for a few days and it got progressively better. She's fine now thankfully!
I've never had a cat do that before - but I've always had delicate graceful ones. Now out of the 4 cats in the house there is only one who fits the definition of an athletic cat. The other 3 are completely clutzy! :D My short legged cat sometimes runs to jump on my bed and doesn't quite make it, hits the side, then slides down - it cracks me up!