Older cat suddenly limping on front paw--emergency vet or not?
November 16, 2020 8:05 PM   Subscribe

My senior kitty with arthritis suddenly started limping on his front paw this evening. He can't put any weight on it and seems confused. I didn't see him jump down from anywhere, but that doesn't mean he didn't. Is this time for the emergency vet or can it wait till tomorrow? I'm less worried about a sprain than I am a clot.

Kitty in question just had his wellness check and is healthy. He is on blood pressure medication. He has also had arthritis for a couple of years and was maybe very lightly limping a couple of days ago--I think? He is on Adequan and gabapentin for the arthritis.

This evening he came out from a bedroom where he'd been sleeping with a severe limp in his front paw. He is not howling in pain or anything but is clearly unhappy and confused at not being able to put any weight on his paw.

I called the emergency vet and the staff person told me "this seems less like an emergency than a senior kitty with arthritis having a bad night" but that I could bring him in if I still felt concerned.

Should I take him in? He is VERY stressed out by the vet. And I'm not crazy about the emergency vet either and would much rather wait till morning. Does anyone here know anything about cats and possible blood clots?
posted by whistle pig to Pets & Animals (7 answers total)
I would wait. The emergency vet said this sounded less like an emergency. I'd trust their assessment and try to keep kitty as relaxed and comfy as I could. Sorry to both of you!
posted by Pretty Good Talker at 9:41 PM on November 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Given that the vet is not concerned, I would wait and see if it gets worse or better or anything and also I would post pictures of the cat in this thread.

That is my advice.
posted by aubilenon at 9:45 PM on November 16, 2020 [6 favorites]

Whether it sounded like a clot or an arthritis flare is a good question you asked. I don't know anything about cat arthritis. I did have a cat with a front-leg clot (hind legs are more common) and the initial onset had her more severely distressed even without trying to use it than it sounds like you are describing. I think "doesn't have emergency vibes" seems right unless your gut tells you otherwise.

(If it does turn out to be a small clot, from what I was told, there's little to be done to reverse what's already happened, though comfort and support do help recovery (and our cat did recover most leg function and lived a while longer), so going in to the emergency vet might be more stress on your cat than medical benefit. If your cat should go on anticoagulants, a regular vet the next day is the person to talk to about that.)

I hope your cat is up for some snuggling and is feeling better tomorrow.
posted by away for regrooving at 11:30 PM on November 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

My older cat managed to break a leg jumping off a bed, and had to be put down, so I would probably take the cat in if he were in pain as soon as I could. But hopefully you can tell if it's that severe by the angle he holds it.
posted by emjaybee at 6:17 AM on November 17, 2020

My senior kitty sometimes limps more with arthritis than other days - seems tied to weather changes just like for people. Unless he howls when you gently touch the leg I'd give it a day. When this has happened with my guy he's noticeably better the next day.
posted by leslies at 8:07 AM on November 17, 2020

Response by poster: He saw the vet this morning. X rays came back fine and the vet seems unconcerned.

Thanks for your answers.
posted by whistle pig at 9:27 AM on November 17, 2020 [8 favorites]

Glad your kitty is ok.

Just wanted to chime in and say if a cat is suddenly limping it can be a blood clot, which is an emergency. I lost one of my cats to a clot last year. She actually had had two over the course of a few weeks. The first clot was not as severe and she was not showing a lot of distress and recovered after being prescribed blood thinners. The second one was more serious and obviously painful and we and the vet decided it was best to put her to sleep at that point.

One sign of a clot is that the paw of the affected leg is cool to the touch (or cooler than normal, in the case of less severe clots.)
posted by fozzie_bear at 1:55 PM on November 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

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