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Swollen feet in older cat.

Species: Cat
Breed: Mix
Age: 11-15 years
My 13 year old female cat has had several odd problems for about 2 months. I have tried 2 different antibiotics, had her in for x-rays ect. After spending lots of money she still has the same problem.
A. all 4 paws are swollen and infected. Some nails cannot retract.
B. she just lays there and has lost weight.
C. She has a lump at the end of her tail and a new one on the side of her nose and on her chest too.
D. her eyes leak.
Please let me know what I can do. claytonkuch@hotmail.com


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

This really sounds uncomfortable for Slinky.

I'm really concerned about her symptoms. While I can't give a diagnosis online, I can tell you a few of my thoughts about what you have described.

There is a possibility that what is causing the swelling in the feet is something called vasculitis. There are a number of different causes for vasculitis, but most of them are quite serious. Some cancers can cause vasculitis. Sometimes a serious problem with the immune system can cause it as well.

Another possibility is a condition called pemphigus. This is not very common in cats. In some cats it can be treated with steroids, but it is a life long treatment.

Are the pads of the feet swollen? If so, you could ask your vet about the possibility of something called plasma cell pododermatitis. We can sometimes cure this with a combination of doxycycline and some steroids (i.e. either prednisone or prednisolone). It sometimes takes a few months to completely cure the problem.

However, when you combine all of her symptoms including the weight loss, lethargy and the new lumps I am concerned for cancer.

The next step in trying to get a diagnosis would definitely be to have your vet biopsy some of the swollen areas. This test is very likely to tell us what the problem is and whether or not we will be successful with treatment.

I really hope things improve soon.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

I can e-mail you a picture of her paws and lump on her face/nose. The paws bleed and are quite large. I can't tell if the pads are swollen. She does not eat much but if I bring her something she eats it right away.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'd love to see photos...you can email them to photos@askavetquestion.com. Thanks.



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for the photos. Slinky is a beautiful cat.

These are great quality photos but it's still hard to appreciate the swelling on her paws and face. It does look like pododermatitis is a possibility. (This is a condition that can be treated with doxycycline and steroids). However, I am still really concerned about cancer and possibly vasculitis.

If it's at all possible to ask your vet to biopsy her swollen areas this is definitely the next best step.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.