Our 9 year old indoor cat has been having episodes of mild to briefly moderate episodes of limping for 3 years. It didn't seem to cause her to stop playing so we just kept an eye on it. However, this year there have been an increasing number of episodes and they have lasted longer, like for 3 weeks at a time.
After 2 months free of limping, it came back. But this time it got much much worse. On Saturday, it was bad enough that for the first time, we could tell it was her right leg. By Sunday, she was lying on her left side and basically not moving for the whole night. When she did stand up, she couldn't put ANY weight on her right leg. She could barely walk. She had been eating and drinking less and less for a week and hardly ate anything on Sunday.
The vet saw her first thing Monday, took x-rays and said she has considerable arthritis in her spine (vertebrae are fusing), and in her right elbow and shoulder. She also said the position our cat is lying in is indicative of spine or neck injuries and ventured that she might have ruptured a disk in her spine.
They sent us home with pain med, Cosequin supplements and gave her a Cortisone shot. They told us if it really is just arthritis, the shot should work and she should be improved in a week. But they said they are quite concerned about the fact that she is barely eating or drinking and it could mean something worse.
Since the shot, she did begin to walk and put some more weight on the leg by day 2. But when the pain med wears off, she goes back to a worse limp. We are just so scared about the barely eating and drinking and the fact that she's still in so much pain and we are terrified that its something worse than arthritis.
Is it normal for a cat to suddenly get this much worse when its just arthritis? Why were the other episodes so much milder? Do they normally loose their interest in food and water from the pain? How long can she go eating just 1/4 to 1/2 her normal serving of food?
We've tried enticing her with tuna water, chicken broth, freeze dried chicken and Fortiflora. All suggested as irresistible by the vet, but she refuses them all, and looks at us like she is scared and suspicious by the new food choices. We think after 2 days of trips to the vet, tests, new medicines...she's possibly too freaked out to eat? Can someone offer any advice on bad flare ups of arthritis and not eating. Does this sound familiar to anyone? This is all so new to have a cat this sick. We know it doesn't help that we have to keep tracking her down to shoot medicine in her mouth.
Hello and Welcome...First things first, meaning you need to begin syringe feeding your girl. That is most important right now, as cats go into what's called Fatty Liver Disease when they don't eat or have a huge drop in calories. Yes, it's *probably* a combo of being freaked, and possibly an upset tummy due to the meds. Get a large feeding syringe from the store, along with some meat type baby food. Or ground up her wet food mixed with water and supplement her that way. Pedialyte is very good too if she's not drinking. If, in fact, she is just overwhelmed from all the trips, this will get her appetite going. Here is a link to our article on syringe feeding, or you can google 'syringe feeding a cat' on youtube.
These cortisone shots are really just masking what is wrong. Arthritis is very painful; I have it, but I suspect something more *might* be happening. What is coming to mind is a possible VAS which means Vaccine Associated Sarcoma in her leg. Then again, and from your description of the locations of the arthritis, this may be all it is.
I think I would go for a second opinion. Your poor girl. Please keep us updated. Hugs...
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