Hi, My calico cat has been limping for over 6 months, Rt paw. About 3 yrs ago she had a similar limping situation and her vet xrayed her shoulder and arm and it did not show anything and then within a few months it resolved. I am an RN btw.
Now she is limping in a similar way. Her vet has palpated her paw in two visits without finding anything. She is not tender in her shoulder, elbow or forearm. No real difference in the muscles size in each arm. She does not lick the paw but I think the problem is in her paw.
I took her to an Ortho vet who examined her closely but found nothing. He has a neurovet also look at her thinking maybe it was neuro related and found nothing. I also tried glucosamine for a month thinking it might be tendon related without change.
She is still limping, 3 more months later. She does not limp all the time but it is heartbreaking to watch. She does not seem to be in pain.
Do cats's get cysts or neuromas or bone spurs in their paws which wouldn't show up on an xray? I am trying to think what else could be causing this.
She is polydactyl btw (calico) but her nails are fine.
Wonder if you have any thoughts of what else it might be?
Dr. Marie replied:
Hi Shelley. I'm sorry to hear that Ginger is having problems like this. Lameness issues in cats can be really difficult to figure out. It's even more frustrating that you have not been able to get an answer from an Ortho vet and a neurologist. Usually these guys are able to figure out the frustrating cases like this.
Some type of a neuroma is possible although really not common in cats. However, if this was neurological, the neurologist really should have been able to pick up some kind of abnormality on their exam. They are really good at looking at reflexes and palpating just the right things to find neurological issues.
Some type of bone spur is certain possible. If there was an issue in her carpus (wrist) then these things are super hard to see on xrays because the xray of the wrist is a mess of tiny little bones.
Is she on any medication? If not, you may want to ask your vet about a trial of a medication such as Metacam. Metacam use in cats is a little bit controversial. I wrote an article about it a while ago: Metacam in cats.. However, the oral formulation of Metacam has been shown to be quite safe. I have a lot of cats on long term Metacam when they have pain issues that I can't figure out.
Another option is injections of something called either Adequan or Cartrophen. These are medications to help with joint pain. They are very safe.
You could also consider putting her on a prescription food such as Royal Canin Mobility. I have had a lot of cats with pain issues that do well on this food.
If you are finding that these treatments don't help then you could consider asking your vet about putting her on gabapentin. Gabapentin is often good for neurological pain. One of the problems though is that it is not commonly used in cats.
I wish I had more answers for you! I hope things are better soon.
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Thank you very much for your time and the suggestions. Sounds like arthritis in her paw joint could be a possibilty. I will look into the options you outline. The food change is obviously the least invasive.
Dr. 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.
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