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Old 12-10-2012, 04:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Something's not right...

We have a cat named Puddy. She's somewhere between 8 and 10 years old. Last year around this time, she got "sick." After awhile, it just sort of went away. Now she's having this problem again.

When it first happened last year, we took her to the vet. They didn't exactly know what to tell us - they said she could be having mini strokes, throwing clots, or suffering from cancer or brain damage of some kind, but were really only guessing and tossing out ideas. They suggested we take her to a neurologist to be sure. We didn't really see any point in taking her on a long car trip for a very expensive vet to run tests and ultimately just tell us WHAT was going to kill her - after all, what difference does it make in the end?

Still, my curiosity always gets the best of me, so I'm going to describe her symptoms and see if any of you can come up with anything.

Puddy still seems herself overall - she's still friendly and snuggly, and she still purrs and is happy to be with us; her demeanor is pretty unchanged.

Her front paws seem to get stuck. If she bends them at the "carpals" (reference picture here), they don't unbend for a few minutes and she can't walk.

Her back legs are weak and don't seem to offer much support. Her entire back side sways and wobbles when she walks.

Her right cheek appears to be a little swollen and dark. The darkness is more apparent than the swelling. It cleared up last year when she got better, and now it's back.

So, anyone have any experience with anything like this?
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hmm, i don't have to much to offer but has she had routine cbc/ a full blood panels run? anything off? Has she ever had any x-rays of her front leg carpals? hips? spine?
Does her breathing/ eye dialation/ mouth movement change when she is in her frozen carpal stage? How does she act when she can't walk to well? (eyes, mouth, overall attitude, breathing)

The fact that it seems to be related to a strict time of year makes me wonder if it's related to an outside source/trigger (as in allergies...obviously these aren't but you get my drift)

I'm not much help but hugs and good luck figuring out what's wrong!
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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What were her CBC results? I am especially interested in her blood glucose, as it sounds quite a bit like neuropathy, which is common in untreated diabetic cats.

As for the swollen cheek- when was her last dental? Sounds like an abcessed tooth but it could also be OSC (oral cancer).

If she were my cat, she would be at the vet for a full blood panel ASAP. Don't really get why your vet suggested specialist right away, unless they already performed the panel last year and saw nothing amiss.

That, and 8 to 10 years is NOT that old for a cat- so to me would be WELL WORTH the trip to a specialist for a proper diagnosis & treatment!
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Do you have a Christmas tree? She might be experiencing a reaction to something that was on the tree, fertilizer, chemicals of another sort, that kind of thing.
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam1491 View Post
Hmm, i don't have to much to offer but has she had routine cbc/ a full blood panels run? anything off? Has she ever had any x-rays of her front leg carpals? hips? spine?
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Originally Posted by dobermama View Post
What were her CBC results? I am especially interested in her blood glucose, as it sounds quite a bit like neuropathy, which is common in untreated diabetic cats.

If she were my cat, she would be at the vet for a full blood panel ASAP. Don't really get why your vet suggested specialist right away, unless they already performed the panel last year and saw nothing amiss.
I know that the vet did run bloodwork last year, but I can't remember exactly what tests were run or what the results were. I'm guessing everything looked pretty normal since the vet couldn't come up with anything and just recommended a specialist.

I'll see if the results are still around somewhere.

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Originally Posted by Sam1491 View Post
Does her breathing/ eye dialation/ mouth movement change when she is in her frozen carpal stage? How does she act when she can't walk to well? (eyes, mouth, overall attitude, breathing)
Her eyes, mouth, and breathing all remain pretty unchanged when she gets stuck. Occasionally, if she was in the middle of kneading and her carpals stick, her claws will get stuck and she'll get a little frantic trying to detach them, but that doesn't seem especially out of the ordinary.

I'll pay extra attention to her and see if I can tell if her pupils are dilating more or less at all or if anything else seems to change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dobermama View Post
As for the swollen cheek- when was her last dental? Sounds like an abcessed tooth but it could also be OSC (oral cancer).
I know it's been awhile since her last dental. If it was an abscessed tooth, could it conceivably be impacting her sinuses and causing ear trouble, and subsequently causing problems with balance?

Quote:
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The fact that it seems to be related to a strict time of year makes me wonder if it's related to an outside source/trigger (as in allergies...obviously these aren't but you get my drift)
Quote:
Originally Posted by GingerGunlock View Post
Do you have a Christmas tree? She might be experiencing a reaction to something that was on the tree, fertilizer, chemicals of another sort, that kind of thing.
I was thinking that maybe the air pressure could be changing in a way that somehow gets to her. I don't think it'd be a temperature issue because we keep the heat on in our house. I couldn't really come up with any other seasonal triggers, but I suppose there could be something getting into the house that sets her off?

We have an artificial tree because the cats don't bother it as much as they bother real trees, so that wouldn't be it.

I'll see if I can come up with any more details for you guys. Thanks for your help!
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Okay, I talked to my mom to get a little more information, and here's what she said:

All blood tests pulled were within normal limits.

Puddy seems to have little to no awareness to her legs being folded over when they get stuck that way.

A spinal scan was recommended to look for spinal lymphoma - this was the expensive vet trip we passed up because we were told spinal lymphoma was 100% fatal.

Her x-rays showed minor hip dysplasia, which we treat with daily Cosequin and Duralactin. Her spine appeared normal.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Puddy seems to have little to no awareness to her legs being folded over when they get stuck that way...

Her x-rays showed minor hip dysplasia, which we treat with daily Cosequin and Duralactin. Her spine appeared normal.
Aha- well that could explain it! Hip dysplasia can (and usually does) result in some neuropathy, especially as it progresses. It is not painful to the animal, but does result in loss of feeling and control. I noticed in my GS with displasia that he had more problems in the colder months, even though we too had a heated home. Using a heated bed could help, along with the meds.

And yes, an impacted or abcessed tooth could cause swelling and balance issues. That should be easy for vet to check out.
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