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Old sweetheart experiencing hind leg weakness?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Junebug is a 13 years old sweetheart and has been very healthy and happy. Recently I started noticing some behavior that has me worried.

He was doing the classic cat stretch with both paws stretched out in front of him and arching his back. After the stretch he started walking but he sort of dragged his hind legs (like he 'forgot' to get them moving again). He did this for about 2 seconds and then I stroked him (it didn't look comfortable), and his legs sprung back into action. I've only seen this once. But I've also noticed he'll occasionally keep his back end real low to the ground while he walks. My first cat died of kidney failure and he did the same thing, so it really sparked worry.

I truly can't tell if it's hind leg weakness or not, but he does seem to have more trouble jumping up into my lap.

I'm pretty sure I am taking him to the vet, but would like to know how common hind leg weakness is in older cats and if this is a good sign of kidney failure?

I'd also like to know what could the vet tell me and if such a visit would be beneficial to Junebug's health? I ask because Junebug has extreme social anxiety and a slight heart murmur. His heart pounds so fast during these visits that it almost seems not worth it.

Thank you for the replies.
post #2 of 6
Cats with renal failure often have low potassium levels. It is usually the low potassium levels that causes hind leg weakness in cats with CRF. Another possible cause can be muscle wasting, which can be brought on by metabolic acidosis, which is another symptom of CRF. Low potassium levels can be reversed by potassium supplementation, which your vet can prescribe. Muscle wasting due to metabolic acidosis can be treated with sodium bicarbonate added to the diet. Your vet should be able to work out a dosage based on the numbers that show up on a basic blood test. These are the only types of hind leg weakness that I am familiar with. Perhaps others will be able to help with other suggestions.

Pookie & the girls
post #3 of 6
Make sure before you give potassium supplement you need to test the sugar level because most of the potassium supplement are heavy in sugar. If(I hope not) your cat get diabatic you may have to think twice, been there done that.

Also monitor your cat and see if she is drinking and eating more than normal.

Good luck.
post #4 of 6
I believe diabetes can also cause hind leg weakness...although thinking about it, the root cause of it in that case may also be the low potassium that Pookie Poo mentioned. I don't know that but I'm guessing, as both CRF and diabetes cause excessive urination, which can cause low potassium levels. Whew I'm going in circles with my ideas. Sorry.

I would suggest making an appoinment with the vet. Blood tests can uncover the problems we're discussing so they can be managed successfully.
post #5 of 6
Cats with heart murmurs can also develop a thrombosis (blood clots to their hind legs) which can cause lameness. Have you ever found the cause of the murmur? Is it cardiomyopathy?

As much stress as it will put him thru, a vet order is probably in order here. Try Feliway spray in his carrier to calm him during the trip.

Good luck and please keep us posted on what you find!!
post #6 of 6
Another thing that can cause leg problems might be arthritis. My Katy recently started showing what looks like hind leg weakness. She's had several x-rays that show arthritis in her back. She'd been on aspirin for her heart and prednisolone for IBD, but we've stopped the aspirin and decreased her pred in the last couple of months because she had pancreatitis, so we're figuring that both of those were helping relieve her arthritis pain before. So, now I've started her on Cosequin for the arthritis.
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