Keep an eye on Humpty Dumpty having a great fall

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Dr Prachi Kshatriya
Is your cat limping or dragging his hind legs? Has he had a recent fall? Is he not walking on all fours? All these can be signs of external or internal injury or partial paralysis. Here’s how you can help your pet.
Cats are curious by nature, and love exploring places especially open areas like terrace or a wide balcony. If left unsupervised, there are chances that your pet might lose balance and fall which can cause a severe injury.  Being a vet, I’ve seen many cats come either with a wobbly gait or are unable to get up using their hind legs. This condition is called partial paralysis or paraplegia in medical terms, and it is very common in cats.
 
Signs to look out for

  •  Crying in pain while walking or 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
  •  Trying to hiss when you touch the affected region
  •  Loss of appetite If you notice these symptoms, then you should consult a vet at the earliest.

 
Here’s how the vet can help
The vet will perform a general physical examination to check for external injuries if any. Also he/she will get some detailed diagnostic tests like blood evaluation and X-ray done to see for the internal injuries like organ ruptures, fractures of the limb or spine, etc. Depending upon your pet’s condition and severity of the injury, the vet would recommend medications. These days various new ways of treatments are also available for paraplegia. These include – fluid therapy, anti-inflammatory medicines, and nerve tonics, etc. These are recommended in case of partial loss of sensation of limbs or unable to pass urine and stools, etc. If your pet has a fracture/fractures, 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 get back to walking and playing on their own. Only in 1-2 percent severe cases, the damage done is irreparable, and the pet needs to be maintained on supportive therapy.
 
Keep a watchful eye
Keep an eye on your pet and never leave them alone, especially outdoors or on the terrace. Make sure the boundary wall is high enough that your pet cannot cross it. Also don’t let them venture too close to window edges to avoid mishaps.
(Dr Prachi Kshatriya is surgeon & radiologist at Petcetera Clinic in Pune)

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