My family cat, 10yrs old, has developed this hitch in her getalong that has gradually gotten worse (over maybe month and a half). Today I finally took her to the vet because I could tell she needed intervention. Same vet practice I've been using for my small animals for 20 years. Vet considered Lyme- bloodwork came back fine. Halfway through exam she begins palpating her spine and we got a HUGE response to the 3rd vertabrae thoracic region. I mean screaming, scratching kitty. Obviously, thats whats causing her pain in the hind end and also inability to "clean" herself properly (which we weren't sure was from pain or from the weight gain from the pain). Vet agreed to run more bloodwork, gave me Cosequin, an antibiotic, and an anti-inflammatory and sent me on my way. I asked "what about xrays?" (I don't think she knows I am a horseperson, so I am WELL AWARE of spinal/joint injuries LOL). Vet assured me its most likely soft tissue/muscle damage around the spine, most likely not the spine itself. She assured me that if the meds don't work, we could seek other options including xrays. She is right that its probably a lot harder to do on a cat than a horse!! Now, I've used these vets happily and confidently for many years. But, today I walked out of there not feeling like this is right. What if there really is compression of the spine? Or a chip? What would you do in this situation? Go back to the vet and demand more? Wait it out? Or seek another vet's opinion? Obviously I'm not looking to throw money out the door, but if she's in serious pain I want to help her!
X-rays are not that costly in the grand scheme of things. In your situation, I would insist on getting that done right away because it is a fairly cost- and time-efficient way of ruling some serious possibilities in or out, and if the prognosis is very dire, I could avoid putting my older cat through days/weeks/months of pain trying this and that to treat it. Did the vet explain WHY she was so confident it is a soft-tissue injury? That would play a role in how I proceeded, too.
I've noticed that small animal vets often tend to want to try the least invasive options first, and in many, maybe even most, cases, this is the right approach to take for the overall good of the animal. In some cases, however, I've had to take a pretty firm stand to get a more invasive but more definitive test (this especially for elderly/very ill pets). And x-rays are not really invasive; maybe a little stressful for the cat to have to stay at the vets and requiring sedation to make sure to get a clear view, but overall, not a huge deal.
Hmmm- Small animal vet, multiple visits, give meds first, come back later for xrays... i would say your vet is trying to get more $ out of you...I would insist on xrays now- not later. And if that means going to another vet, so be it.
I would probably either seek out a second opinion or demand X-rays.
I say this from experience because I volunteer for a Feral Cat organization and take care of a particular colony.
One day a particular kitty was dragging her hind end when she came over to eat. Yet, she was still quick enough that I could not catch her. Over time it became worse and DH and I captured her with a net.
Brought her to the Organization's Vet who proceeded to tell me that she had a broken pelvis (just from feeling her, no X-rays) and to just re-release her.
I felt horrible doing that, so I brought her home and crated her for the winter. Besides warming up to me, I think she really appreciated being indoor for the winter.
Sadly, it continued to get worse and she stopped having bowel movements.
So I brought her to my own Vet who did a full work up on her. Blood, X-Rays....
X-Rays revealed a tumor that started on her spine and got so large it was now pushing on her internal organs.
I gave the okay to have her humanely put to sleep... R.I.P. Patches
Thank goodness I never released her like the previous Vet told me to, otherwise she would have died a very very painful death from bowel obstruction.
My moral of the story - If you don't feel something is right, or they are not recommending going that step further to figure out what is going on...Go for a second opinion or insist for a further workup.
Yikes! I worry tumor too. I originally thought maybe one was developing on her hip- no sign of one but thats kindof how she was walking/holding herself. As for vet's diagnosis, she really didn't palpate all too much and even said "I won't palpate again because it obviously hurts her." I actually think my vet is trying to save me money by not going the gung-ho approach, which I appreciate. But, like one of you mentioned, weeks of different treatments does add up too when we could do an xray and get to the root immediately. Her only objection to xray was it being uncomfortable for the cat, having to sedate and splay them out on a board on their backs (so she described). From a horseowner perspective where we almost always agree with our vet "lets do an xray and see where we stand", I think the same should be done for the kitty. Since its already Thurs afternoon, I'm going to wait until vet calls with remainder of bloodwork on Saturday and see where we stand. I was also thinking maybe calling my horse's vet. I know he doesn't do small animals but he is FABULOUS when it comes to my horse, who has all sorts of back/hind end issues and he might be able to give me insight.
My poor kitty had an accident that required many stitches as he basicall filleted his leg from hip to paw. When I got him home I was dismayed to find that he was walking on the injured leg and holding the other hind up. I took him to my personal/equine chiro who adjusted him and fixed him right up!!
about two years ago, my beloved kitty Lark started doing the wierdest thing ever- His rear end started jumping up and down furiously! Not the front. He was mortified, and then, started backing up very fast and at a right angle, not even straight. I couldn't even imagine what was wrong so I bundled him up PRONTO and raced off to the vet. He took x rays and said he had a 'horses tail'. Nerve endings shooting all over the place from the base of the tail. Said he would probably get worse. Two years later, not so. He is getting up there too at a now venerable 16. He doesn't jump much, balance isn't good but still quite happy. And if he feels a 'spell' coming on, he sits DOWN! Seems to help. Good luck