Spinal injury

This forum is for cat lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your cat.

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Spoiled rotten- bottle baby
Purred: Tue Apr 25, '06 4:58pm PST 
Does anyone have any experience with spinal cord injuries in cats? Tess was injured about a week ago. She was paralyzed in her back legs, but she is starting to move them a little. How long is the typical recovery?

Arthur (Miss- You!- '93-'09)

Bucket of Fuzz

Purred: Wed Apr 26, '06 12:07am PST 
Yikes, Tess! I'm sorry to hear you got hurt!

I think recovery depends on the nature of the injury to the spinal cord itself. What did your vet say about it??

Hope you feel better soon, Tess!


Devilish- Darling!
Purred: Wed Apr 26, '06 2:00am PST 
Very sorry to hear about this Tess!

Yes my mum has been involved in a rescue cat about 6 months back (who has now been rehomed) that had a spinal injury, she was a young skinny stray that had been taken to a vets after being attacked by a nasty dog, the dog had bitten right on the spine area and this was noticable by the puncture.

The vets did Xrays to find nothing, the cat was not given any medication as you can not medication when you dont know what the damage is.
We had been told to just take it day by day and we had also been told that the cat may not get through and would need a last trip back to the vets.

Anyway we bought the cat home, she was fully paralyzed is the back leg area including the tale, we noted that anything from waist down was dead with no feeling at all. Very slowly we seen some signs of the good leg on the opposite side of the wound start to get some feeling as she would give us a good kick and play on response to us giving her a tickle in that area.
The tail never seemed to gain feeling and remains lifeless.

When we first bought her home she was in a bad way, peeing in her own bed as she had a great deal of trouble to get to the litter but trust me she wiggled best she could to do what she could. As a month or so went on we noticed more movement.

She is now able to walk around in a limp way and the back legs have no muscle tone at all! (At least she can get around)
My mum had not seen the cat for a week as she was with a foster mummy, she mum seen her she was amazed as the kitty had gained a lot of movement in the back legs, able to jump onto bed and even use a scratching post. She thinks she is very normal.

The kitty will never have normal legs again, she sort of swings her legs and they flop around but hey she has a life and she is able to walk away in a way she seems to think is normal.

This kitty had found a loving home about a month ago and all involved are so proud to have got this far.

If Tess is showing signs of improvement then this is great, hang in there, it will take a long time. Try to keep interacting with her, encourage like walks but avoid jumping at first.

My mum says she thinks Tess will get better but very slowly.
Thank goodness Tess got a loving family like other kitties with this problem.

Good luck, let us know how you get on

R.I.P. Mr.- Snuggles xx

Stop Brushing- Me!!!
Purred: Wed Apr 26, '06 6:41am PST 
Hello so sorry to hear about the injury. We do have experiance but you dont say is the bowel and bladder affected?

Kiki(1986-20- 00)

One-in-a-million- cat

Purred: Wed Apr 26, '06 8:18am PST 
Aww, we are so sorry to hear you got hurt Tess. We are purring for you and we hope everything turns out ok. When I was 5, I was kicked underneath my legs and I suffered a hairline fracture in my back right leg. At first my Meowie thought that I was hit by a car or I got hit with an object(like a baseball bat), but the vet said that I had been kicked really hard. It's been so long ago(back in 1991) Meowmie doesn''t remember all the details. The vet said my hips and pelvis were separated. I couldn't walk for two weeks and I stayed on Meowmie's bed the whole time. Meowmie, her mom and her brothers were thinking I may have had to get one of those carts too. Meowmie was wondering if I would ever go to the bathroom, but I finally did. Meowmie smelled something funny and found that I had peed on her comforter. I think that was the only time Meowmie was glad that a kitty every went to the bathroom on the bed! I got my muscle tone back in the leg with the fracture. Then for the rest of my life, my right leg kind of swung around when I ran or walked. When meowmie moved to Florida, there was a great vet that she found(when Nigel was a kitten) and he said he could fix me up, but he would have to break my legs and put them back into the right place. I had just a bit of arthritis, but I felt great. I was 8 years old by then and Meowmie didn't want to put me through it. I could still beat the socks off Nigel! So I did fine for the rest of my life. We hope you great to feeling better soon. We will be purring and praying for you.

Angel Kiki, Nigel, Isis, Kahlan and Gimli


Spoiled rotten- bottle baby
Purred: Wed Apr 26, '06 7:21pm PST 
Thank you all for the well wishes and info. Tess can move her bowels by herself, but her bladder has to be manually expressed right now. She is doing a little better every day. She has regained some feeling in her legs and is starting to move them a bit. Today, for the first time since the injury, she was able to flip the end of her tail. It's amazing how happy such a small thing can make you. Tess is a fighter and I have faith she'll be up and walking again. I've learned that it can be a slow process and Tess and I are grateful for the support to help you through this.


Princess Pounce
Purred: Thu Apr 27, '06 6:47am PST 
I'm so happy that you have started to move your tail again! You know how we cats love to flick our tails...the love flick...the irritated flick :-P (that one's my favorite). I hope that you are feeling better and will continue to get a little better each day.
::partyurrs and headbutts:::
Oh...and my brother Fraidy sends his very loudest purrs your way.


my Fluffernutter
Purred: Thu Apr 27, '06 8:21am PST 
you have gotten some good advise and all I can say I am glad you have such a good Mom. For spinal cord injuries as in humans time and patience is the answer.

Thanks for being so wonderful to her - please give her plenty of huggs and kisses.

Edited by author Thu Apr 27, '06 8:27am PST


Azurine- Ambrosia

Purred: Thu Apr 27, '06 4:03pm PST 
Tess, I so sorry to hear this news.. I praying an purring for you.. mommsie son had a kitty that fell out a upstairs window, they had a screen in it an he pushed it out, he manage to crawl to the stairs to the apartment and half way of the stairs when they found him. It took him a long time but he got better, a little each day, the only thing that stayed with him was he walked funny.... but he lived to be very old.. Bluie


Purred: Mon May 1, '06 2:36am PST 
I am not sure how some of the diagnoses were ruled out. Without cardiac
ultrasound exam I don't think it is possible to rule out cardiomyopathy and
thromboembolism resulting from it, although clinical signs can go a long
way towards ruling out the thromboembolism possibility. Without the MRI, or
possibly a myelogram, it is not possible to rule out spinal injury from
disc disease, trauma or spinal cord tumors. Another possible explanation
for wobbliness in the rear limbs is hypokalemia (low blood potassium),
which is a part of many lab profiles, but not all of them. It is very
likely that this has been checked on and ruled out, but it is another
possible problem. Cats get geriatric vestibular syndrome, which is loss of
vestibular (balance) function, rather acutely. This usually clears up
without treatment within a few days to a few weeks. If both sides are
affected dogs and cats sometimes have a crouched, wobbly walk. If only one
side is affected they sometimes refuse to walk but more commonly circle in
the direction of the affected side when they walk and appear to be very
uncoordinated at the same time. Some pets do not recover fully from this
condition but I can't remember one that didn't make at least reasonable
progress after three or four weeks. An inner ear infection or polyp
affecting the middle ear might produce incoordination like this but they
are not that common in older cats.

I tend to disagree that there is no hope for a spinal cord problem,
especially if it is a ruptured disc that isn't showing up on plain X-rays.
However, you do have to accept that the prognosis is guarded, or worse,
before you pursue expensive testing options like an MRI or myelogram to
rule in or rule out these types of problems. It is a tough choice to make
sometimes in an older cat.

I can't think of any other things to suggest looking for at this time. Good
luck with this. I really hope that
your cat has improved some by now.

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