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Limping - Muscle Atrophy
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Limping - Muscle Atrophy

I have a six-year old female domestic short hair oriental mix who started limping about a year ago.  Her right front leg seemed to be injured.  She has been seen by my vet, who treated her for a short time with steroids, with no improvement.  He referred her to a neurologist who did a complete blood count, x-rays, electromyography/nerve conduction velocity, MRI, and spinal fluid analysis.  There were no abnormalities noted in the spinal cord and nerve roots.  The electromyography indicated mild denervation, but did not suggest an underlying cause.  The course of treatment was to try to keep her from jumping, running, going up and down stairs, etc.  Her personality has totally changed since this happened.  She used to be a very social cat, always stayed near me and loved to play with my other cats.  She now spends all her time in a spare bedroom under the bed and doesn’t socialize at all anymore.  She will occasionally come downstairs but if you approach her, she runs back upstairs under the bed.  I have tried acupuncture, herbal medicines, Reiki, and homeopathic remedies.  Her limp has continued to get worse.  I know the muscles in her right front side have begun to atrophy.  She now hardly uses the leg at all.  I am at a loss as to what to do for her.  She was getting so stressed from constant trips to the vet that I decided to give her a rest from all the treatments, thinking that was why she was hiding all the time.  After two months, she is still hiding and seems to have gotten worse.  Do you have any suggestions?  
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That is really strange that specialists can figure out what's going on!  Did the MRI or x rays show anything abnormal?  What are the doctors ideas?  I'm sure they've got some ideas about what's going on.  I am very sorry that you've gone out of your way for your baby and still have no solution.  You're obviously a great mom to your kitty!

I do have a suggestion, though.  You might want to think about amputating the leg.  If it's giving her that much trouble and is getting worse, then she's better off without it.  Animals really do great w/ 3 legs.  I know that's an extreme suggestion, but if this were my kitty I would most definitely consider it.  Who knows....maybe she'll become her old self again w/out that leg of hers holding her back!

I wish you the best of luck in such a frustrating situation.  =D
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It sounds like you need to get those results reviewed by a second vet, or better yet ..  get a complete second opinion. Amputation is a very last resort.  Cats do not do well with Amputation, but dogs do.

Get a second opinion.  You have a right to have those xrays an mri films looked at by someone else.

If her CNS is showing some abnormalities then all the homeopathic and scientific medicine is not going to help. I think you know that.

Also, and I hate to say this,  but when Cats know they are dying, they try to find a secluded place. This is their instinct, and what they do.

And on the other hand.......
You will probably get mad at me for saying this, but I am going to say it anyway......

Cats do not hide from their humans when they are 'just' sick.  If they are not in the process of passing away, they hide because of some type of minor illness (which doesn't sound as if your cat has) or abuse.

When they are sick they whine to let you know. Domestic cats vocalization is generally left for communication with humans (the meows).  And for the most part, when they are sick they are also 'clingy.'

I am not accusing you of anything!  If there are others in your home you might want to ask them or keep an eye on them.

But Please! get a second opinion on those tests....  atrophy is most often caused by an injury in cats. And not just cats, but most animals (even us humans).

When broken parts go untreated that is when muscle atrophy occurs.  If it were a wide spread systematic disease, more than just 1 leg would be showing signs.
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Thank you so much for your comments.  I have taken Minnie back to the neurologist and they have done another x-ray, which shows an abnormality in the shoulder.  She is sending the films for a radiologist to read and will call me again tomorrow.  They are starting her on some anti-inflammatory medicine in the meantime to help the pain.  She did mention that, as a last resort, I consider amputating the leg in order to alleviate her pain, and that cats and dogs adjust very well to just using three legs.  I will certainly agree to this as a last resort.  The vet said that once the pain is alleviated, she will start interacting with us again.  Every day I go into the room where she stays and lay down on the floor to talk to her.  She comes over to me immediately and lets me pet her and purrs very loudly whenever I touch her now.  
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Thanks for the update.  You sound like a wonderful mom and you're doing everything possible for your kitty.  I agree w/ ya that amputation is the last resort, but-if God forbid it has to be done, your cat will adjust fine and will be happier w/ out it.  Cats and other animals are survivors and will find their own way through all obstacles.  I have seen cats and dogs w/ 3 legs do just fine-running and playing.  They all seemed happy and were enjoying their lives.

I hope that they will be able to fix her shoulder w/ out having to go to that extreme.  I will keep my fingers crossed and my kitty, Skunkie will keep her paws crossed, too.  LOL  How in the world did your cat screw her shoulder up?  

Take care and keep the updates coming!

Hugs
ZQ
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