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Cat's hind legs spreading out when walking

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Just got home and my 16 year old female cat's hind legs are spreading out when she walks. Like they're week or something. I'm taking her to the emergency vet. Anyone know what this means?

I'm freaking out because i was out of town for 4 days and a friend watched her. They said she didn't eat much, wondering if that's a culprit.
post #2 of 24
Thread Starter 
Home from the emergency vet. No answers. They checked her out and can't say for sure what the issue is and wouldn't recommend any treatment at this time but to watch her. They gave her fluids and sent her home, told me to keep an eye on her and take her to regular vet if persists. At home and her back legs still are unbalanced, slide and cause her to fall. She is currently lying in one spot and starring which is not normal for her. Maybe she just needs to relax and take a nap/take it easy. I don't know what to think or what it could be. Wishing her well.
post #3 of 24
Does it look as though she is losing feeling to her hind legs?

If it were me, I would get a second opinion from by regular vet asap to rule out something serious because this is not normal.

Keep us updated please.
post #4 of 24
Didn't they do blood work? Geesh, what good are they! It was smart of you to get her seen right away, though I am very sorry you didn't get any answers.

Has she eaten anything at all since you've been home? Is she using the litter box okay? You are right to be concerned. Lethargy and staring is not a good sign at all.

Can you call your vet, or do they direct all emergencies to the ER center after hours?

for your kitty. What's her name?

<edit> I just reread your post, I am glad that she at least got some fluids to keep her hydrated.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
She was just at the regular vet visit last month and her blood tests were fine except high calcium which the vet said could be a number of issues. Issues in past month were blood in urine which was treated but since then soft stool and tons of hairballs thrown up and in the soft stool. Occasionally she had a normal stool but more soft than normal. Not sure what that is either. I told vet and they gave a peanut butter type gel and antibiotics but it has persisted.

A friend watched her for 4 days over the weekend and said she didn't eat much but really like the fish oil that was given to her. I get back and she seemed fine yesterday. Today when i get home she walks out and her legs spread out like they are weak. She is now sitting and falling asleep. Obviously i'm worried and going to keep an eye on her. Hoping it's nothing serious.
post #6 of 24
I googled this and a couple of the top issues for leg weakness was diabetes or a clot...
did your vet ck for those?
I know that this is frustrating for you but don't give up...
sending love and good health to your girl.
post #7 of 24
Elevated blood calcium actually can be a very serious issue. Don't want to scare you, but I'd be asking the vet for more info on that.

post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
In my google search diabetes also came up as a cause of hind legs being weak. My cat gets a complete blood test every six months and just had her urine tested last month. Is this something that would show up on her blood/urine test results or something specific they have to test for?

The emergency vet said to keep an eye on her and take her to the regular vet for x-rays or such if the problem persists. I'm surprised they mentioned nothing about diabetes.
post #9 of 24
How is your kitty now? Have you gotten her in to see her own vet?
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Her hind legs are not spreading far out like yesterday but they are weak when she walks. She's been napping most of the day. Taking her to her regular vet this afternoon.
post #11 of 24
I would ask my vet to take some X-rays to check for arthritis and disk disease. Checking for heart disease would require a cardiac ultrasound.

With diabetes cats walk on their hocks. Definitely not what we're talking about here.
Picture in this article

I have one question. Do the paws on the hind legs feel cold to the touch, or are they as warm as the front paws?
post #12 of 24
Low potassium levels can cause hind leg weakness too--were her potassium levels checked with her last blood work?
post #13 of 24
Also, have her kidney numbers checked, as this can cause muscle weakness.
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Back from vet they took x-rays and new blood work. They x-ray shows some arthritis in far back spine. They believe that she may have suffered a strain in the hind area. She does jump around from here to there alot so she may have fell. They think she could have suffered a strain more easily because of her gastrointestinal issues which i believe lack of nutrients could cause injury easier. I cannot remember exactly what they said. Lots of info. They cannot say for sure if this is what the cause of the weak legs is but she was given a corosteroid shot and should be feeling better tomorrow if it was just a strain.

She was put on new food for her soft stool issues. I/D for gastrointestinal health which she really likes and has eaten a few times since home. Her blood work in March was perfect except high calcium. They took more blood today so i will get results tomorrow.

Fingers crossed this is just a strain as they suspect and not a more serious issue. I will keep you posted, thank you for responses.
post #15 of 24
You are doing a wonderful job taking care of your sweet girl....
my fingers are crossed and major vibes are on the way that the steriod injection and new food will help her recover quickly.

I will be watching for your updates.
post #16 of 24
You're doing a great job with her! Is she home yet or is she still at the vets?
post #17 of 24
I have a soft spot for senior and geriatric kitties and I am so glad your little girl is so loved and so well taken care by you. Tons of healing vibes from us
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
Another update:
Vet called with blood results and said they were good, nothing in them to cause her leg weakness. When shown the x-ray yesterday he pointed out a spot on her spine near the last lumbar and sacrum. I asked today what that was and he said "spondylosis" (definition:

He believes that because my cat was not eating well and has had irregular stool (soft) for most of the past month that this could have made her weaker and it's likely she strained her hind area from a jump or fall. She was given a steroid shot last evening and her legs no longer spread out but she is delicate on her back feet.

So i'm hoping this was just a strain that will heal and not a sign that the spondylosis is showing effects. He said fish oil and accupuncture can help. So for now i'm keeping an eye on her and hoping the I/D food she is on ends her soft stool symptoms. She really likes this food and has been eating more than she has in the last few weeks. She's also had more hairballs than usual even though i brush her daily, throwing them up and passing them in stool so i hope this food helps with that too.

My 16 year old girl is well cared for and i would do anything for her. Thank you for all your responses, i will keep you posted. If anyone has a cat with arthritis or spondylosis and any advice that would be great. Thanks
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
She really likes her new special food I/D and ate bunch of it. I woke up this morning and found that she puked all or most of it up. Tons of digested with 1 hairball in it. Poor kitty

I brush her with a ferminator everyday, i don't understand all these hairballs. I know she's older (16) so her digetive system may not be the same. I just hope she doesn't have a serious hairball issue which may be the cause of her soft stool.

Keeping an eye on her today.
post #20 of 24
Thanks for keeping us updated. My Tolly gets hair ball sicknesses. I too use a furminator on him daily, and dose him regularly with hairball remedy, but he still gets these sicknesses. He gets diarrhea and inappetence, and sometimes vomiting. I have to give him mega doses of hairball medicine and sub q fluids to get him through when they happen.

The incidence of these bouts have become more frequent as he gets older (he is 12 now) and a motlilty issue is suspected but I am not willing to put him on cisapride. He takes phenobarbital and I can't find any info about drug interactions for the two, and am not willing to have him be a guinea pig to find out.

Your girl, since she likes the new food so well, may be gorging. I recommend you schedule feed small quantities to keep her from getting too much at once. Feed no more than 1/8 cup at a time.

She may also experience some diarrhea since it is a new kibble, you might want to put her on a probiotic for a while to help with that.

How is she doing otherwise? Is she still having the same walking issue? I am still concerned about the elevated calcium, exactly how high is it? Elevated blood Ca can be an indication of certain cancers, and it can also mean that the bones are losing calcium, which might cause this kind of symptom. (the splayed walking)

I am not a vet, but have dealt some with elevated blood Ca, in a CRF kitty.
post #21 of 24
So glad she's home and she's eating! (Not so great about the barfing, though.)

I agree with Otto; she's probably gorging herself, especially since she wasn't hungry for so long. I also would feed her in smaller portions spaced out throughout the day until she gets "full" and then work to transition her back to her regular feeding schedule.

How's she doing otherwise? Is she glad to be home?
post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 
Good news to report. She has been eating well and walking better so i am going to assume like the vet that she suffered a strain and it's not the spondylosis that showed up on her spine in an x-ray that caused her legs to be weak. On Monday and Tuesday she has had a normally formed stool for the first time in over a week. Things are looking good for my 16 year old girl. She really likes the I/D food which the vet said to give her for a week or so and then give a good high protein food. I wish i could get her to eat canned food but she snubs it. Thank you for your replies and well wishes
post #23 of 24
Oh, this is great news. I'm so happy for you.
post #24 of 24
Thanks for this hopeful update....
good news is always welcome.

I am keeping the vibes coming...
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