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My Baby is not well yet she's not 'sick'

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
and I need any opinion or advice I can get at the moment..

:small history:
Lone is 16 and is an indoor cat with the occasional 20 minute sojourn to the outside to make sure it's still there.

:the now story:
Lone got the F3 vacc on Friday (it's Sundary evening atm), coincidentally, within 2 hours of getting her home and bopping the kitten (Spaz) on the head, she started plodding or wobbling instead of strutting or walking like normal. A couple of months ago, she had started getting small tremors in her front legs when doing her statue impression sitdown and being the feline mom that I am, figured this may be due to her age even though she is usually a very active elder cat. I also asked the vet to do a full bloods panel as well.. to check her liver and kidney function etc, which really should be done with an elder cat. (all fine except very slight lowering of white blood cells) - in fact, the vet called it a boring lab result.

She's never had any form of reaction to any vacc prior to now, not even when getting the full work over prior to relocating to another country.

So anyway, she starts plodding or wobbling in the hindquarters within two hours of getting home, this got progressively worse over the course of the following two or three hours, enough that I called the vet on her cell phone to ask for advice and to provide feedback etc... always welcomed by any vet.

Vet advised to monitor her progress as it may just be a 24 or 48 hour reaction thing. Lone was and is not depressed, has no lumps at the injection site and was still eating and drinking normally for a cat on kibble.

I start monitoring her when she's awake (active cat with frequent snoozes). I then go to work - working evenings and finishing at midnight, I ask my flatmate to keep an eye on her, which would have happened anyway, but I was worried.

Turns out rightly so... flatmate calls my team leader and requests I call home immediately. I do so. (This is now approx 8 hours after vacc). Lone is now unable to walk without falling over and does not seem to have conscious or unconscious use of her forelimbs, resulting in a very very big stagger and no bendy-the-knee/wrist prior to falling flat on her face.

By the time I get home 2 hours later (we placed a page to the vet and had no response, then booked an appt with the emergency hospital) and get her to the hospital, Lone is able to hold her head upright and look around and be alert as usual, just no movement in her forelimbs or hindlimbs.

Emergency Hospital Vet checks her out, takes her history etc... theorises that Lone may have a lesion in her brain and/or something wrong with her cervical spine (between shoulderblades to head basically). So we leave her there at approx 11.45pm for x-rays and more bloods to check other things as well.

Vet advises this is a VERY unusual event for a f.catus as usually spinal problems occur with only the hindlimbs etc.

X-rays show thinner than normal discs between her cervical spinal thingies (yes I'm now forgetting words) which could have been the cause of the initial trembling noted a couple of months ago. Of more concern is the loss of use of the front legs and finding out why.

I've now gone through literally hundreds of searches of online Vet hospitals, websites and whathaveyou and have yet to find anything like this noted anywhere around the world. Of course, this doesn't mean it has never occured, just that it has never appeared on the net yet (that I could find in english anyway).

Does or has anyone heard of something similar before?

I'm now looking at getting Lone to go through a myelogram, MRI and 'cat' scan (yes I giggled at that one) to see if there's anything in brain or spine that didn't show up in x-rays... she's an elder cat as I've mentioned, so I'm not too keen on putting her through more stress than necessary, especially as elder animals tend to not react too well to anaesthetics and etc...

umm.. thoughts?
post #2 of 49
Thread Starter 
I visited Lone this afternoon as it's one of my days off work, Lone is a little better, but not by much, but at least is 'better' than yesterday.

Vet is treating her with prednisolone with iv fluids when needed, she has a canula in her front paw at the moment.

Her forelimbs are still not functioning anywhere close to normal and she's still falling over, but she can sit if she works at it - instead of flopping over and lying down.
post #3 of 49
It almost sounds like the vacine triggered something or made a condition that Lone had worse. I'm no doctor or vet, but I wonder if the vacine triggered her immune system, resulting in her immune system attacking Lone's nervous system.
I have heard of this in humans. Not sure of the correct name for this disease/illness/occurence, but I know that our own immune systems can attack our nervous system for whatever reason and cause temporary or permanent paralysis. This happened to my friends sister in law and another friend's mother in law.
Another wierd thing that happened to my co-worker was that half his face went paralyzed for about a week. This wasn't immune system related, but something to do with an infection in his jaw socket.
Perhaps you may find some ideas by looking into human cases that sound similiar to Lone's condition.
It sounds positive that Lone has shown improvement! I hope she gets better soon.
post #4 of 49
I don't have any advice for you but I have some
I hope someone replies with some ideas for you.
post #5 of 49
"1) Polyarthritis/polymyositis -- this is pain in multiple joints. We have probably seen less than ten cases of this but at least two of them had significantly more front limb pain than rear limb pain. This condition can be REALLY painful --- some cats just refuse to move at all except when absolutely necessary. In cats it is often progressive, getting gradually worse over time. It is most responsive to immunosuppressive medications so corticosteroids are the mainstay of therapy. Azathioprine seems to help but carries a significant risk of severe side effects in cats. Sometimes doxycycline helps, which may be due to mycoplasma or l-form bacterial infection mimicking the immune mediated disease.

2) Thromboembolic disease -- when cats have cardiomyopathy they will often have embolisms which can cause lameness when they lodge in the arterial blood supply to a limb. This can occur in front or rear legs and sometimes things like paleness of footpads or relative coolness of a limb can be recognized. This is hard to diagnose definitively by examining the legs but cardiac ultrasound examination is often diagnostic. Young male cats are at risk for cardiomyopathy."

I would ask them to check for sensation and warmth in the front paws, and to have them check her heart.
post #6 of 49
Sending prayers and hugs from Mississippi for you and for Lone. I hope you find out what is wrong with her.

post #7 of 49
Sending good thoughts and prayers for Lone. I hope she starts improving soon.
post #8 of 49
It seems to me that I've read of at least one other person in here whose cat had similar horrible reaction after vaccination, but I really don't remember who it was.
Sending get better soon vibes for {({({({({(Lone)})})})})} and hugs to you.

I hope she gets past this real quick and never has to go near another vac. again.
post #9 of 49
More hugs and get well vibes for Lone. I hope this is a temporary reaction to the vaccinations. Hugs to you also. I know how worried you must be.
post #10 of 49
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the vibes, she needs them..

I've contacted them again (yes, several times now lol) they're treating her with prednisolone tabs and rest. Lone must think she's in a kittie kondo cos they're feeding her broiled chicken (compared to her usual kibble).

They think it might be Cervical Spondylosis which sounds a lot like the condition Fred&Nermal mentioned (deterioration of the cervical spine - it's a disease which doesn't get completely better) and the vet suggested that she'll never be better than approx 50% and "at worst, will provide amusement for visitors" yay.. like I needed to hear that... anywhoo.. I'm taking Lone into her regular vet clinic today for palliative care which is a whole lot better cost-wise (aud $23 vs $250 per night) due to Spaz being a kitten and Lone needing quiet and rest for a couple of weeks maybe a couple of months.

I miss her so much already...

They also think that it may be a tumor in her cervical spine so therefore I'm still thinking of going through the myelogram as the possiblility of it being a tumor is higher than I'd like and treating it with an anti-inflammatory won't get rid of it. If it's treatable I'll take her through surgery or chemo even though she's an older cat, she's in fantastic shape as far as her overall health (apart from this event). I'll have to get her regular vet to provide a referral for that though, so we'll wait and see.

I'll definitely mention Thromboembolic Disease to her regular vet, her pads and ears and nose all felt regular last time I cuddled her, but it's worth a look! so thank you for that suggestion cloud_shade, it's very much appreciated.
post #11 of 49
Thread Starter 
Spaz has been searching for Lone the last couple of days, and in typical kitten fashion, forgets he's looking, goes and plays and then looks for her again. He's also creeping around sniffing at her favourite snooze locations (ie; beside my pillow on my bed).

It's a crying shame this has happened at this time as they were just beginning to share each others space in a not so hissy manner ....
post #12 of 49
Wouldn't a CAT scan or an MRI show a tumor?
I ask because I've had Myelograms and they are painful and I would think would be traumatizing to a cat.
post #13 of 49
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by tru View Post
Wouldn't a CAT scan or an MRI show a tumor?
I ask because I've had Myelograms and they are painful and I would think would be traumatizing to a cat.
yeah, but with a cat they put them under to do so else the cat moves too much... and I've had a myelogram too so I know what she'd go through from personal experience, it's manageable under medication and pain killers for the first day and after that she just has to be kept quiet and rested

MRI's aren't particularly pleasant either I admit... my mother had one and came out having had a major stroke during the procedure... it's a risk with anything invasive

I want to try everything I can... within reason... it'd kill me to euthanise, but if she has no quality of life (ie; pain pain pain) after the first two or three rounds of treatment I may have no choice..
post #14 of 49
Thread Starter 
I went in to pick her up today to transport her from Emergency Vet to normal Vet and went I got there she'd had a downturn in the intervening hour since I called them and she was okay and stable.

She's once more completely lost the use of both front legs and is now showing decreasing response in hind legs, noticeably when the right hind is 'knuckled' she normally would un-knuckle and put paw down (would be normal for majority of cats to do that) but she's not doing it.

They're going to keep her in overnight again and get a surgical specialist to take a look at her around 2pm. The specialist will do whatever specialists do on an assessment without myelogram or surgery or whathaveyou... and then they'll call me and let me know what their opinion is and then I may have a very tough decision to make.

Luckily they're 24/7 so I can visit her at anytime.

post #15 of 49
I am so very sorry for Lone's setback. I hope they find out what is wrong, and soon. My thoughts and prayers for Lone's improvement.
post #16 of 49
I am so sorry that she has had a bad turn, and fingers crossed the specialists can suggest soemthing.
post #17 of 49
I'm sorry she is not feeling better
post #18 of 49
My thoughts are with you for Lone. Sorry that you have to go through this. It's sooo hard when they are sick.
I just looked at her pictures. She's a little angel. I love the ones on the couch.
post #19 of 49
Thread Starter 
I guess normal reactions in this situation..

She's gone to the specialist vet hospital and has had her MRI and a CSF tap as well (that's cerebro spinal fluid).

The MRI showed nothing.. $1500 aud down the drain, but at least I know it's not some tumor in her spine, they took the opportunity to look a little higher into the base of her brain as well.. all clear...

The CSF they took was unsuitable for use, so they've taken her off prednisolone and will do another test in two days. GAH!!

The specialist when I mentioned Thromboembolic etc, ruled it out, pads good warmth etc.. suggested Toxo... but she show's none of the typical signs of that virus, he also suggested herniated disc.. but the MRI was clear, surely that would have shown something..

I'm so frustrated and feel so helpless.. all they're doing is spending my money doing one test at a time and keeping her off meds that seemed to help her.. even though I recognise the need to clear her fluids of any outside influence that may cloud the results of tests..

I have to call them at 9.30am for an update... an update for what I ask? they haven't done any further tests!! still.. at least I'll get to hear how my baby is doing and can organise a visit time with them.

She seems to be in the best hands available - Melbourne Veterinary Referral Centre - if you want to take a look at what they have there...

bah, I'm just venting at the moment. I've now had two and a bit days off work as unpaid "parental" leave due to being too upset to answer phone calls coherently... not so good when I'll have vet bills to pay... and so far that's racked up a total of nearly $3k aud in less than a week.... again, just venting.. I'd spend everything just to get her better (even a lotto win in the several millions if that's what it took and if I won... etc)

I'm now having to seriously consider what to do if they can't find what's causing this total paralysis...

oh, in case I forgot to mention... no use at all of front legs and constantly decreasing use of her back legs as well... even though her mental alertness and general health is apparently fantastic for a 16 year old cat...

I think I'll go try for sleep now.. haven't slept well for past couple of days and am feeling it now.
post #20 of 49
I shed a few tears for Lone last night. May sound a bit wierd, but after I saw her photos it got me upset thinking about her situation. Just thinking about her again makes me upset. I have such a soft spot for cats. I hope it all works out.
I just remembered something. I worked with a man a few years ago who had rabbits. They experienced limb paralysis. The vet said it was somesort of rabbit illness, that all his bunnies caught.
post #21 of 49
Thread Starter 
*many hugs all esp. fred&nermal*

well.. they're going to test her bone marrow as well .. my poor baby - called specialist this morning, they're going to do the CSF tap again tomorrow and take the opportunity to take some bone marrow as well... I'm going to visit her again today... luckily I work night shifts, so I can see her during their business hours - they're not 24/7 like the emergency vet.

and in unrelated news my partner's brother-in-law has been diagnosed with a terminal Myelodysplastic syndrome. Cancer. Terminal. and her own cat which is currently in another state of Australia has a kidney disease and a thyroid disease, and he's about the same age as my baby.. and he's being released to the rainbow bridge on Saturday.

post #22 of 49
Well, I can't help much here, but I did want you to know that I'm thinking of you and Lone.
post #23 of 49
How is your kitty? What did the tests show?
post #24 of 49
Thread Starter 
Another update...

the second CSF tap and the myelogram showed nothing unusual, they've sent the bone marrow biopsy ,which they decided to take while she was under general, to another place for them to check for anything else..

so at the moment, it's a wait and see game.. I'll get to see her again tomorrow

other than that, she's no better or worse apparently than when she arrived, and still no idea what's causing her paralysis
post #25 of 49
good grief, what a horrible few days this has been for you & Lone (sorry just catching up).... how frustrating it must be that they cant find the cause of this pparalysis even after all these tests. arrgghhh I am so sorry

Lone is so very lucky to have you, some to fight for her. Your a wonderful person.

Thinking of both you & Lone and also your partners BIL tomorrow may their kitty pass to the bridge peacefully :heart2;
post #26 of 49
Thread Starter 
ok, correction to previous update, the second CSF shows unusual stuff.. I forget what, bit of a brain fart happening at the time... but I do remember it was nothing that would help them to pinpoint why she has no motor skills at all.

Spoke to the Neurology Specialist there too, he's the one that mentioned the true results of the second CSF and discussed it with me.. he says they've ruled out completely stuff like cancer, and spinal disease, they're thinking along the lines of infection, inflammation or stroke. Their bet is that she's suffered a massive stroke affecting motor control.

Good news if it is or has been a stroke is that in 75% of cats (while rare to start with) they recover within about 8 weeks.

So we're at the end of week 1. NO sign of recovery in any form. If anything, she's worse than when I first took her in.

And they sprung on me that I'm able to take her home for palliative care. So she's at home at the moment, extremely limited control of her legs, but at least she can drag the food bowl closer sometimes and apparently (according to the vet nurses) somehow, get to the litter tray. I haven't seen her do this yet, or found the evidence.. so I'm a little wary about that one...

Now, having her at home when she requires constant watching and quiet and rest, this is going to be difficult as we have an 11 week old kitten here (Spaz) that we collected from a guy and his son going around the neighbourhood four weeks ago. He's very very active.. and wants to play and be loved by Lone alla tha time!

Plus both my partner and myself have to go to work to get the money to pay for the vet bills, I've had the last week off as I've stressed too much and can't answer phones professionally like I need to since Lone crashed. So, with much heartache and hope, we're packing her off to the local vet in the morning and they'll give her the care that she requires over the next 7 weeks or so. Of course, thankfully, this vet is much closer so I can visit her every day.

Travelling one and a half hours across Melbourne traffic is a nightmare (each way).

They've put her on Prednisolone again, and an antibiotic - these to cover the other two possibilities they'd mentioned. and no, I don't know why the MRI or the Myelogram came back clear yet they still feel it may be inflammation or an infection. But at this point I don't care, I just want my baby's health back.

So far, the vet bill is $3393 aud. Peanuts really when compared to the love I bear for my baby, and yet, when you don't have the money, it's a stress I don't need right now. Luckily for us though, we applied at Care Credit and were approved for most of it. PHEW!!

Spaz went spastic.. (hence his name) when he saw she was back, she was just grumpy, more grumpy than I've ever ever seen her. I don't blame her in the slightest though, she's bound to be going through some heavyduty aching in her lower spine where they did the myelogram and second CSF tap, behind her head where the first CSF tap attempt went, her front right 'forearm' where the catheter (canula) has been for the last week and her front left elbow where they took the bone marrow from.

On the funny side, she's got an inverse mohawk! hehe

I've given her so many loves and kisses she's grumping at me all the time now. I've noticed some unusual behaviour from her too... but that could be from the boredom of not being able to move, but could be as a result of the stroke also... here's hoping that she's right as rain in the next few weeks.

*hugs* thank you all for the kind thoughs and stuff. I'll keep all updated as we go. 8)

and I'll try get some photos of spaz in the fur piccs section too.. he looks remarkably like she did as a kitten.
post #27 of 49
Sounds wierd to say, but i hope it was a stroke. Because, people (and I guess animals) can improve quite a bit after one with time.
Sorry to hear she has to return to the vet for care. Hopefully, they will let you visit?!

Look forward to the Spaz photos!

Have you considered getting pet medical insurance for Spaz? Here, it's about $15 a month and can really help when they do get sick. Plus, it's piece of mind. It even covers them if they swallow something bad (ie elastics or a bone). I think there is even some coverage for your travel plans if for example your cat got sick and you had to cancel your trip last minute.
post #28 of 49
Just caught up and wanted to send light and love to Lone. I'm so glad she's going to be close enough for daily visits... I know your presence must mean a lot to her. May she come home for good soon, and feeling well...
post #29 of 49
I send love and prayers to you and to your sweet kitty.
post #30 of 49
I just caught this thread and I'm so sorry you are going thru this!

When I read your original post, my mind turned to stroke. I had a 17 year old that went thru a series of them before she finally crossed. The main signs were uncoordinated walking that got worse with each stroke she had. We had a good year plus with her during this time.

Sending you strong vibes for you and your baby!
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