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Felinexpress.com home > Strays and Ferals > Lameness in Cats

Lameness in Cats

When your cat comes up lame, it is important to try and determine the cause of the lameness. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did your cat jump from a high place and land wrong?
  • Is he an outside cat?
  • Could he have been hit by a car?
  • Does he hunt? In the Central United States, cats who hunt are susceptible to Histoplasmosis a fungal disease that causes lameness.
  • Is he current in his vaccinations? Several infectious diseases manifest themselves in lameness.
  • If you live in the country, was he struck by a horse?
  • Is there heat coming off the leg he is favoring?
  • Does he let you touch him on his leg? Did you check his footpad?
  • Does he have an ingrown claw or a sticker between his pads?
  • Has he recently been declawed?
  • Is there a wound on the leg? If you run your hand above the area of lameness without touching his skin, do you feel heat on the palm of your hand? If so, your cat has an infection/inflammation below the skin and needs a vet. Without a vet’s intervention and antibiotics this wound that you might not even be able to locate will fester and abscess.
  • Are there any other symptoms?

Not all lameness is caused by bite wounds. Lameness can be cardio-vascular, neurological, congenital bone or muscular defect or just a simple sprain. If symptoms persist over four days, a vet needs to be consulted and x-rays taken. Poor nutrition will also cause lameness especially in kittens. Senior cats are prone to lameness which can be the onset of arthritis.

Symptoms of Lameness:

  • Inability to walk
  • Aggressive behavior (caused by pain)
  • Lethargy
  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Reluctance to move
  • Limping
  • Non-weight bearing on limb

Reasons for Lameness in cats:

  • Joint disorders (non –inflammatory)foreign object stuck in paw or between pads (do you use clumping litter?)
  • Calicvirus
  • Clawbed infection
  • Trauma, falls, collisions
  • Specific bone cancers
  • Sprains, strains and tears
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Inflammatory joint disorders
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Certain fungal infections
  • Poor nutrition.

Confine your limping cat to a small cage or a room with little furniture to climb or jump on. Sometimes, the lameness is temporary but if it persists for four days, please call you vet. Call your vet immediately if other symptoms appear with the lameness; fever, lack of appetite, inability to drink, labored breathing, clear or cloudy discharge from nose and eyes, cough or tremors.

Your vet will do a hands-on exam and then follow up with the necessary treatments or procedures:

  • X-rays
  • neurological exam
  • ultrasound
  • CAT scan
  • MRI
  • Padding or splints
  • Anti-inflammatory shots or pills
  • Myeleograph (a specialized x-ray involving injecting dye along the spinal cord)
  • Biopsy

In order to protect your cat from going lame, keep your exercise and playtime sessions low to the ground. Don’t ask your cat to leap spectacularly high into the air just for your pleasure. Watch where your feet are at all times when walking around the house, especially around kittens. Be sure when you close a door, there isn’t a cat in the doorway. They are quick, agile creatures. Keep your cat’s vaccinations current and become familiar with his/her routine so you can spot problems early on.

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  2. Balinese
  3. Javanese
  4. Japanese Bobtail
  5. Somali
  6. Abyssinian
  7. Turkish Van
  8. Siamese
  9. Egyptian Mau
  10. Oriental Shorthair
  11. Tonkinese
  12. Bengal
  13. Norwegian Forest Cat
  14. Cornish Rex
  15. Siberian

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