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Cat Limping on Front Leg

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello --  I have a 4 year old female cat that has recently developed a limp on her front leg.  I started noticing it about 3-4 weeks ago and took her to the vet about 2 weeks ago.  She hates the vet and went absoluetely crazy so no one was able to touch her or examine her.  I discussed potential causes for the limp with the vet and he explained that sometimes a bruised toe or sprain can take up to 6 weeks to fully heal.   I've tried to examine both her legs and nothing seems to be broken (from what I can tell) and she doesn't really seem to be too bothered by me touching her.


I do have another cat and he is very playful and always wants to wrestle with her.  She usually hisses and runs away.  Other than the limp and grouchy behavior towards my other cat, she is very normal.  She's eating and drinking and even likes to walk around, even though I can tell it bothers her.  I'm getting a bit concerned though because it doesn't seem to be getting better.  Also, on a couple occassions I've noticed her growling and whining at nothing and seems as though she has a quick spasm in her rear legs.  I'm starting to wonder if it's an issue with her back.  But it's only happened a few times over the past 2 weeks. 


I've decided to keep her separate from my other cat while I'm at work for the next few days to see if that helps any.  I am hesitant to take her back to the vet because they would have to sedate her to perform xrays and i've previously lost a cat under sedation.   


Is it possible that it may take another couple of weeks to get better?  I hate that she's in pain, but it seems like other than the pain and limp, she is completely normal. 


Any similar experience or advice would be greatly appreciated! :)

post #2 of 8

Did the vet try her on any pain meds to see if that helped her get around?

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Yes, they gave me 4 siringes liquid pain meds.  I gave her 2 of them a couple days after the visit and she seemed to get a little too rowdy afterwards so I decided not to give her the rest in fear of her re-injuring it. 

post #4 of 8

Injuries can take a long time to heal, and if the injury heals poorly/improperly, other problems can manifest them months later.

Is your cat limping continuously or intermittently?

Twiddledee, a male cat I am fostering, limps intermittently, episodes seem to last around two days, intervals of around every two weeks, and then Tdee walks normally:  he started limping Tuesday night, running on three legs, not putting any weight on the front right paw.  Friday morning still limping, but Friday night, he was running normally.    When he limps, I 'pet' the paw and he doesn't have much reaction.  When observing him from behind, it looks as though he is swinging his 'hips', like a woman might do.  (But I've never been around male cats before so maybe this is normal?)  Throughout these periods he is eating, behaving and playing somewhat normally (though when he limps, I don't play with him as much).  Tdee is around two to three years old.

Luckily, the vet was able to x-ray Tdee without a problem.  Xray showed arthritis in the front right wrist/paw area.  Vet suspects it is the result of an old injury--older than nine months because that is when Tdee first showed up at the cat colony I take care of and in the interim, he never limped.

The vet recommended Dasuquin, which is a combination of glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, and avocado/soybean.  It can take up to four weeks to start noticing anything.  She said I could give Tdee 1/4 baby aspirin every third day but asprin is toxic to cats long term.  Laser therapy might also be beneficial but the cat has to be still.  I'd try another pain med and ask your vet if there are any other diagnostic tests that wouldn't freak out the cat so much. 

I'm really puzzled about the night/day aspects of symptoms so like you suspect something else is going on.  What, I have no idea.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your input!  I'm now wondering if it could be some arthritis.  She had an accident on the stairs a few years back and I took her to the emergency vet for an exam, but they didn't find anything from just feeling her leg (maybe a minor soft tissue injury?)   I believe it is the same leg, so perhaps she is experiencing a flare up from this old injury.  I have noticed that when she is excited (feeding time) she will start to run without any issues.  I know cats are good at hiding their pain, but I have to imagine that if it was REALLY bothering her, she would refrain from running or playing. 

post #6 of 8

Could indeed be arthritis, soft tissue injuries dont' show up on an x-ray.

"Increased white space" was what showed up on the x-ray of Ritz' wrists, which I believe is calcification.  That lead the vet to diagnose arthritis.

Twiddedee ran--on three legs.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

I know it's been a while since I last posted on this thread but I wanted to provide an update.  Charlie's limp eventually went away!  I was going to take her in for xrays but decided to give it another week or two of rest.  I separated her from my other cat for about a week and the limp seemed to improve.  About another week later it completely went away.  After discussions with the vet he said that muscluar injuries can take several weeks to heal and it took Charlie about 6-7 weeks to completely lose the limp.  Needless to say I was relieved that it wasn't anything more serious :)

post #8 of 8

Hi lolof8, I had my cat Rita who was going to be 16 years old in 14/02/2014 have a limp right leg on the 26/12/2013 all of sudden mid afternoon, she was dragging her paw around and dropping to the floor. I looked for advice on the internet and saw sites about a sprain and various other ailments.  All the vets are closed on Boxing Day in Australia so I thought I would wait till the next day to take her there.  Then after about two hours, she started breathing heavily and sticking her tongue out like they do when coughing up fur balls.  I found on the internet a 24 hours emergency hospital.  I took her straight in. Thank God I did.  She got a blood clot in her right leg and it's because of heart disease she was limping, there was no circulation, and she was haemorraging behind her eyes and went completely blind (she was partially blind before). Treatment would not guarantee improvement and her quality of life would have been painful, so the vet recommended the inevitable to put her down. 16 years is a good life for a cat and she was suffering terribly. All I can say lolof8 and other cat lovers, don't trust the internet for advice. TAKE YOUR PET TO THE VET, it's better for them.  Their quality of life is what matters, I am in immense pain without her, but I know I did the right thing for her. I'm sure the vets would let you pay off your bill in instalments, it's worth it. Good luck hope your cat is feeling better.

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