Wiggling Cat
April 10, 2004 1:46 PM   Subscribe

My female cat's hind end slips from side-to-side in a strange fashion.

When walking, either leg will slide out from under her and when she tries to run or jump, she loses traction easily. She is in perfect health otherwise and doesn't seem bothered by the condition (except when it causes her to fall off perches). A $400 veterinary investigation showed no problem. Has anyone witnessed such a thing?
posted by erebora to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
Did this start suddenly or gradually, is it getting worse or staying the same, how long has this been going on, how old is the cat, has anything else changed (appetite, favourite activities, vocalization, anything at all) and was anything else going on around the time this started (i.e. was she spayed shortly before, or anything else)? Did the veterinary investigation include a neurological workup and spinal x-rays?
posted by biscotti at 3:08 PM on April 10, 2004

Response by poster: Gradually. Slowly getting worse, tapering somewhat over the last year or so. 3 years. 10 years old. No. Not really. The vet workup did include xrays, but not neuro.
posted by erebora at 4:38 PM on April 10, 2004

I'd see another vet (ideally a neurologist - perhaps contact the nearest vet school to you and ask them) and get a full neuro workup done. It sounds neurological in origin to me. The fact that it's getting worse would make me want to find out what's going on before it progresses much further. Good luck, please let us know what happens.
posted by biscotti at 4:52 PM on April 10, 2004

Is the cat declawed?
posted by lazaruslong at 5:03 PM on April 10, 2004

Response by poster: Not declawed.

Thanks for the advice, biscotti. We would have done a neuro, but it was an additional $500 which, at the time, we didn't have. If the problem is neurological, is it treatable?
posted by erebora at 5:21 PM on April 10, 2004

If the problem is neurological, is it treatable

It really depends, often not. Given the costs you're looking at, I might just watch her and see how she does (10 isn't a spring chicken, but it's certainly not "old" by any means for most cats), but I'd definitely try calling your nearest vet school (assuming you have one within a reasonable distance) and talk to them about it - they might at least be able to give her a more in-depth neuro exam (most vets can do at least a basic neuro exam, it's pretty standard, and it shouldn't cost anything like $500, but perhaps your vet did this already and couldn't find any specific deficits and the $500 was for an extensive workup). Poor kitty, but as long as she's not distressed, that's what really matters.
posted by biscotti at 6:32 PM on April 10, 2004

Read this: Neurological Disorders in Cats; see the sections on rear leg weakness and vestibular disorder especially. Then sign up for this. Then make an appointment with a neurologist. Better safe than sorry.
posted by lilboo at 6:58 PM on April 10, 2004 [1 favorite]

Insurance companies will not cover your pet for pre-existing conditions as a general rule.
posted by biscotti at 10:57 PM on April 10, 2004

Also do a check for diabetes if you haven't already. One of the first signs of feline diabetes is neurological weakness in the back leg muscles. It's manageable with an ongoing treatment plan.
posted by lucien at 12:33 AM on April 11, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for the thoughts everyone (helpful link lilboo). I'll get the neuro and see if anything turns up.
posted by erebora at 12:55 PM on April 11, 2004

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