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Lumbosacral/cauda equina syndrome

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Does anyone here have experience with lumbosacral syndrome? My cat, Fiona, was diagnosed with this last Tuesday.

We went on vacation from the 5th-9th of July, and brought Fiona with us. While in the car, I noticed a knot at the base of her tail. She did not seem to be in any pain, so we decided we would take Fiona to the vet when we got back in town. Over the course of the vacation, the knot dissipated to an almost imperceptible, tiny bump. Since the problem seemed to be going away on its own, and Fiona was acting totally normal, we did not take her to the vet the day we got home.

On Tuesday the 14th, 5 days later, she would not lift her tail. I work overnight, and when I got home in the morning, I immediately noticed that she was dragging it behind her and showed no reaction if you touched it, so we went to our veterinarian an hour later.

She was diagnosed with lumbosacral syndrome, which, from what I have read online, is another name for cauda equina syndrome. I have also read that it is rare in cats, so I have not been able to get much information on it.

Our veterinarian prescribed her a course of metacam (1 ml on day 1, 1 ml on day 2, skip day 3, 1 ml on day 4, skip day 5, 1 ml on day 6, then bring her back for a followup), saying that normally, with pain medication to get her over the worst of it, the issue should resolve itself. And indeed, she has been able to lift her tail and use it normally since the first day of the metacam, even on the days we have skipped. She has not had any today, and her tail function is totally normal. However, she is still whining in pain when lifted (which was our doctor's first clue that it was something spinal, rather than a broken tail).

Her followup visit is scheduled for Wednesday, 7 days after she was released from the hospital. Obviously, I will get more information then, but in the meantime, should I expect the rest of her pain to go away on its own? Is it normal for her to still be experiencing pain? Has anyone else gone through this and have any advice for me? Thank you so much for anything you can offer.
post #2 of 5
I would urge you to stop the Metacam immediately.

You can read more here.
post #3 of 5
Metacam has its uses too - not to be taken lightly, but sometimes it is necessary. I would further discuss it with your vet.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thank you guys for your concern about the metacam. I didn't want to get into a huge history of Fiona's health problems (there have been so many, whew), but part of it is relevant here. Not long after we got Fiona, we took her to a veterinarian (not the same one we use now) and had a really, really awful visit. The worst part of it was that while at the vet, Fiona broke her foot jumping from a table (this was before her blindness had been diagnosed), and even though it happened right there at the clinic, the vet acted like it was no big deal, did not even prescribe x-rays, and just gave us 3 days worth of metacam for her limp.

Upon getting home, the condition we had originally taken Fiona to the vet for deteriorated (she was developing abscesses on her shoulders and forehead), so I did more research on the internet, including reading about how bad metacam is for cats. I was horrified that Vet #1 had prescribed it to us. I also got a recommendation for an awesome vet local to me, which we have taken Fiona to since. (Owl Creek Veterinary Hospital, if anyone else is in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.)

When we told the doctor about what had happened during our initial vet visit, including the metacam, she advised us that metacam is not a death sentence, and is USUALLY (though not always) safe in cats. This was several months ago. Fiona reacted extremely positively to the metacam when her foot was broken, so we were ok with giving her four doses again for the lumbosacral syndrome, upon the doctor's advice.

I do take what I have read about renal failure and other adverse side effects of metacam in cats very seriously, but after speaking with our doctor about it, we decided to take the chance, in hopes it would ease Fiona's pain (and it has). I hope I never have to eat my words here, and I want to thank you again for showing such concern.

In either case, her current course of metacam has been completed, and we are just waiting for the followup visit.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Fiona's followup was today. All symptoms of the lumbosacral syndrome have disappeared -- full use of her tail and no longer whining when lifted.

She does have to go in for another followup next week, however. Last week, she had surgery to remove a tooth, and this week, she has licked the stitch out prematurely, so we have to go back next week just to make sure it has healed properly even without the stitch in. Wish us luck!
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