Understanding partial paralysis in cats


Dr Prachi Kshatriya
Do you see your cat limping? Is she not walking on all fours and is dragging her hind legs? This can be due to partial paralysis. Do you see your cat limping? Is she not walking on all fours and is dragging her hind legs? This can be due to partial paralysis. 
Cats are anxious creatures who love exploring places especially open areas like terraces or a wide balcony. Sometimes they lose balance and then Humpty Dumpty might have a great fall. Paraplegia or partial paralysis is quite common in pets. For cats to perform their daily activities, it is important that there is proper communication between their brain, nerves, muscles, and spine.If there is interference in communication between brain and spinal cord it may cause complete paralysis, and if the communication is weak it may lead to partial paralysis.
Signs and symptoms to watch for  

    • Crying in pain while trying to walk
    • Sitting in one corner of the room and avoiding routine activities
    • Limping or hanging one of the limbs in air
    • Not grooming herself enough
    • Trying to hiss when you touch the affected region
    • Not eating properly Finding difficulty to get up with hind legs and a wobbly gait are two most common signs. If you notice these symptoms in your cat, then you should consult a vet at the earliest.

Diagnosis and treatment
The vet will perform a general physical examination to check for external damages if any. Also he will perform tests like blood evaluation and x-ray to look for the internal injuries like organ ruptures, fractures of the limb or spine, etc. After the site of the lesion is identified your vet will provide medications such as fluid therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, nerving tonics in case of partial loss of sensation of limbs or unable to pass urine and stools, etc. If fracture/fractures is/are present, then either it is fixed externally (applying cast) or internally (pins or rods) to immobilise the affected limb. The best part is, in most of the cases cats recover from the trauma and start to walk and play normally. Only in 1-2 percent severe cases, the damage is irreparable, and the animal needs to be maintained on supportive therapy.Support your pet through the pain. Your encouragement will work wonder and add to the treatment suggested by your vet.
(Dr Prachi Kshatriya, MVSc Surgery & Radiology, is from Petcetera Clinic, Pune)