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Sore hips in 1 year old cat.

Species: Cat
Breed: Short Hair
Age: 1-2 years
I have a 1 year old cat and she has had "stiff back legs" since we got her at 8 weeks. At the time of adoption the vet said it was a normal gait for a kitten, but she is older now and still "waddles". She is definitely a lot more tentative about leaps off of furniture than our other cat.

She is playful, loving fun and otherwise happy. She is about a head shorter than our other cat (who is 2) and has a belly, but does not eat much (my guess is it is because she doesn't run around as much).

I've read about serious issues with stiff legs but I was wondering if it was really an issue if she has had it since birth. My daughter is so in love with this cuddle bug that she would be devastated if something happened to her.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi and thanks for asking a question. This is not a common situation. I haven't seen too many young cats that have stiffness like you are describing.

If this was my case I really would be recommending some xrays. I would want to take an xray that looks at Belle's hips and her spine.

I have seen some young cats that have something called Legge-Perthes disease. This is a condition that affects the blood supply to the hip joint. It is very painful. It can usually be cured with surgery, however.

I have also seen cats have unusual spinal deformities that can cause problems like you have described.

If there is a problem and surgery is not an option then the xrays should tell us how we can fix the problem. It may be worthwhile to put Belle on an anti-inflammatory medication such as Metacam or to put her on a more natural supplement like Cosequin.

If I didn't find anything unusual on the xray, I would likely want to try a two week course of an anti-inflammatory to see if it makes a difference. If so, then we know there is a pain issue and she should be treated.

One final thought. I don't think this is it, but some cats with a condition called cerebellar hypoplasia can have a very strange gait. This question I answered previously has some videos of cats with cerebellar hypoplasia: videos of cats with cerebellar hypoplasia. If you think this is how Belle is walking, then let me know and we can talk more about that.

Otherwise, I really do think a vet visit and some xrays is a good idea.

Hope everything works out ok!

Dr. Marie.


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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.

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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.