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Swollen leg/back followed by massive muscle loss
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Swollen leg/back followed by massive muscle loss

Hi,

I am hoping you might be able to offer some suggestions at what might be wrong with my poor cat.
I have had him for about 5 years now. Around 2 - 3 months ago I noticed he was limping and not putting much weight on his back left leg.

A trip to the vet showed it looked like he had been in a cat fight and had copped a bite on his leg resulting with the joint being swollen. The vet prescribed Metacam by giving him a couple of drops every few days. After a couple of weeks he wasn't improving much so I took him back again. This time they gave him blood tests and did an xray on the leg as well.

The blood tests came back clear and the xray showed the leg wasnt broken/fractured. Basically the vet didnt really know what was causing it. Unfortunately he didnt really improve at all over the next few weeks. While the limp seemed to go away, he started having trouble jumping onto things and generally he started only walking when he had to.

About a month ago I took him to a different vet for a second opinion. They noticed his leg was still swollen and now his lower back was quite sore/swollen also. They did tests for Feline AIDS and Lukeimia which both came back negative thankfully. They suggested I up the dose of Metacam to 3 drops every 2 days and see how he goes on that for another month or so.

That month is now almost up, and while he has been much happier on Metacam I think its just masking the problem and isnt actually making him better. He has lost a *lot* of muscle mass around his rear legs now to the point where its very noticeable. Its almost as if the back half of him is anorexic. The front half of him has never looked healthier and he has no problems at all with his front legs etc.

He continues to eat and drink fine and walks around/jumps much better while on Metacam, but he is looking worse and worse every week that passes. Also the last week he has started losing fur along his back and sides which has me worried.

The only other medication he is on is Bayer Advocate to control flear/mites/worms etc since we live in an area with a lot of them. He is given a dose every 3 - 4 weeks to keep the fleas under control.

The only change in his lifestyle was about 6 weeks ago I changed him on to a much more expensive cat food (Optimum) just incase it was somehow related to his diet (he only eats dry food). He was already having the issue with his rear legs before I swapped his food though so I dont think that is related.

If you could offer any advice/suggestions at all that would be greatly appreciated.

thanks heaps for your help and time.

Kris
Western Australia
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I would think first a localized (unusual) parasitical infection that's attacking the muscles specifically. My second guess would be a spinal injury or a clot (caused by bite/parasite/previous genetic condition???) that's preventing circulation to the rear area, causing loss of muscle mass and fur loss (the rear area is oxygen starved, hence the "slow death" despite continual ability to use the area. Probably needs surgery or a blood thinner to move the clot, but guessing here).

I will think on it and ask one or two other folks I know, and get back to you if anything else comes to mind.
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Thanks for the info.

One other thing I failed to mention, since moving to our new house about 2 years ago he lost a lot of fur around his rear end and is forever licking it as well. He had a shot of steroids (I think thats what it was?) about a year ago to try and clear it up but it never really went away. Ive had him tested for worms etc numerous times because apparently that can cause it but they have never found any.

It never really seemed to bother him much and it never got any worse so we never did anything further with it.

Could that possibly be related and whatever is causing it and has advanced into something more serious? I can take photos of him if it would help at all.

Thanks again for your help, it really is appreciated. At this stage we will be taking him back to the vet again on the 15th. I believe they are just going to refer him straight away to a specialist. Hopefully he doesnt get much worse before then.
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Hi kamoses, I'm from Indiana and my 6 year old tom cat come down with the exact same thing you have just described with your cat.  I have had him to the vet just once about 5 weeks ago and they gave him a cortisone shot.  That helped for about 3 weeks but then he started limbing on his back left leg and lossing the muscle mase again.  He has also lost all the hair on the inside of his leg and he seems to be shedding more then normal. Did you ever find what was causing your pets problem?  I Would be very thankful for any help.

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Didn't your vets give your cats antibiotics????  OR, did they just give them the steroids?  Anytime, you get a cat w/ swollen areas from another cat bite, they should be given antibiotics as a precaution.  That's what they've done for my cats.  

You are totally right......the steroids are only a "band-aid" and NOT treating the problem.  Please request some antibiotics for your cats.  It's worth a shot!  =D
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Hi Crazyflower/Zodiacqueen,

I am extremely sad to say but unfortunately my beautiful cat has since moved on to a better place in January this year. We did everything we could for him racking up thousands and thousands of dollars in vet/specialist bills, but he was eventually diagnosed with Feline SLE which is supposedly an extremely nasty rare disease, especially here in Western Australia (the Murdoch University Dermatology specialists had only seen 1 other case previously). I was given the option of keeping him on drugs for the rest of his life (which even still wasn't guaranteed to help), or having him put to rest. Considering the massive amounts of pain and suffering he had gone through over the previous months, the damage already done by the disease (he was in considerable pain just walking by this stage) and his hatred for having to take pills I made the heart breaking decision to have him put down.

Here is one of the last photos we we took with him, the day before he passed on.   :(  :(  :(
http://members.westnet.com.au/moses01/chewywallpaper2.jpg

He was an extremely loved pet and a very big part of my life for the 5 years he was with us. He is sorely missed.    :(
I wish you all the luck with your cat crazyflower and sincerely hope it turns out to be something far less serious.

Kris
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