If you care for an elderly, injured or special needs pet, you've come to the right place!
My 9 y/o male cat recently became a paraplegic. After numerous tests xray, myelogram, the vet is unsure what has caused his paralysis. The vet wants me to take my cat to another state to see a specialist, but I hate the thought of hauling him into another vet and the cost is tremendous. He already staying at the vets for two weeks and I have had him at home for about a week now. He has settled in quite nicely and seems content. He has some feeling in his hind legs and is trying to lift himself up when he walks. He gets around the house pretty well. My concern is that I do not know if he is urininating enough. I am having a hard time expressing his bladder. I took him back to the vet to have his bladder expressed. I know that him not urinating can cause him serious problems or even death. There is a girl (technician) at the vet that said she would adopt my handicapped vet. Am I being selfish wanting him to stay here at home? Or should I just let him be adopted and admit, I might not be able to take care of him? I just love my kitty and want him to be home. Any suggestions on how I can express his bladder.
You can learn to express...and that is URGENT!! If he isn't emptying his bladder completely, he can develop a urinary infection. If he's not going at all, death can occur within 24 hours. There is a link to expressing on here. Have you seen it? If not, surely someone will post it. Also, they make carts for cats so that he could get around. I would take him to another vet, though, because a correct diagnosis is ever so important in treating your kitty. Personally, I would do whatever I could to keep him at home. Having said that, if you don't feel you can really care for him properly, he may be better off with the vet tech. That would be my last resort, though, because he's accustomed to you and your home environment. Good luck, and keep us posted.
You are not being selfish wanting him home and you can learn to express his bladder. There are links on this website. I have a cat with paralyzed back legs whom I have had for four years in August. Simon was born with severe congenital deformities and I express his bladder three times a day. I put him on a towel on the side of the bathroom sink. He is facing away from the sink and spread his legs with his bottom hanging over the sink. Go between his legs. To me holding his bladder is like holding a balloon that is very slippery. You squeeze with firm but gentle pressure. Your goal is to get the sphincter muscle to relax and then the urine comes squirting out. I do this several times at one time--squeeze and then let him relax and squeeze again. Sometimes he has to poop and I know I also am putting pressure on his intenstines so he will squirm around. You will feel the bladder get smaller. It takes practice. When I first got Simon I had trouble doing it too and thinking what have I gotten myself into. But getting him was one of the best things I have ever done. If his bladder gets full he will start to leak out and these cats are prone to infections so you will need to have urinalysis done periodically. Keep trying. Also, there are carts for cats, however, Simon gets along fine by pulling himself along with his front legs and he could not sleep strapped into a cart. I have other cats with hind leg deformities and they are able to climb their cat trees. I have a cart for my dog Jack to take on walks, however, this week I have walked Jack without his cart and he has done fine. He has been in physical therapy. There is an article coming out next month in CATNIP, through Tufts University, on Advances in physical therapy for cats. I will try to remeber to refer it to you next month. If worse comes to worse it sounds like you have a very kind vet tech but keeping trying for now. I think it is best if your cat remains with you. Diana R.
Can you explain more about what happened, what tests were done and what treatment your cat had?? Often if there is nothing on the myelograms and other diagnostic tests have been done along with a description of what happened, a definite "sore patch" on their back and other things, your cat may be diagnosed with having a FCE (fibrocartiligious embolism).
You can search for more information on FCE's on the internet. Basically it is like a spinal stroke.
My cat had an FCE over six months ago now and was paralysed in her pack half. Thankfully she never lost her ability to urinate or defecate. She couldn't walk and would drag herself around. We helped her by giving her gentle massage, hlding her back legs up whilst she was walking and things like that. With an FCE you pretty much start physio straight away, but other paralysis causes often need total crate rest so it's best not to start doing anything untill you know what your dealing with.
I know you probablly feel absolutely frightened and heartbroken right now but things will get better. I know how awful it is to see your cat like that. My cat started walking again after about three weeks (although you couldn't really call it proper walking-she would do a few steps and was not walking right up on her feet). Six months on though-she is walking normally (sometimes she crosses her legs a bit or has a bit of a limp but generally it's great). She can run, jump up on chairs and things and do all those sorts of things. It took awhile for her to be able to hold her tail in the air, but she's able to do that now too.
You can look after your cat and help it!! You are just going to need lots of love and patience. I know it seems scary right now, but you will get there. Go to your vet and keep going untill you can express your cat on your own. How much is your cat urinating?? My cat didn't lose bladder function but she actually didn't go alot in the first week she got home which the vet said was normal. She didn't urimate for three days at one stage-but the vet checked it out and it was fine. She started urinating every day again after about a week and a bit. However if your cat has lost urinary function-I would worry a bit if it's unable to go.
Now DO NOT do any of these things untill you have a diagnosis, because as I said in my last post-many animals with paraylsis need complete crate rest.
If your cat has had an FCE or does need physio though-here is what we did:
We first helped her learn how to stand again. She was paralysed in her back and tail, so we would put our hands under her and hold up her front and back to get her used to standing again. As she got stronger, we would continue supporting the front and back, and then slowly move our hands away from her back legs. She would hold them up for awhile, and when she got tired, we would hold onto her back legs again.
When we first started that exercise she could barely stand on her own at all, but within about a week she was standing well. When she got even better at standing, we would support her under her back legs and she would walk. We would hold up the back legs for her so she could get into the motion. She started walking on all four legs with no assistance after about three weeks, although this was not walking correctly, and she would get tired easily-it was still great. As she has progressed she has just got better and better.
Part of the physio we gave her was massage. We would rub, scratch and tickle her whole body, but really worked on her back legs and tail. We would rub the muscles and stretch them a little bit. We would gently tug on her legs (gently being the key word here), and gently move them around for her (gently being the key word again).
I have a paralyzed dog and need to express his bladder about 4 times a day. It may seem overwhelming right now but it does get easier. It took me quite a long time to learn how to express my dogs bladder so don't give up on that. Maybe you can pay the vet tech (if she lives near by) to come by your house to express your cat, plus give you a lesson. With most spinal cord injuries usually you need to confine your pet to a small area for 6 weeks or so in order to aid in the healing process. My paralyzed dog is vey happy so I am not surprised that your cat seems so content. You are right though the expressing of the bladder is very important to maintain your cats health. You can learn this. Good luck and keep coming back and asking questions. Beth
My Buddy was a homeless child HBC on Apr. 9. He was 100% paralyzed and incontinent but can now walk, poop, and pee on his own, although I still express him a couple of times a day to make sure. His walking is sloppy and noisy, but effective.
His bladder is a water balloon on a short teather right between his hips. It takes a good bit of squeeze to push past his sphincter, and a tactile cue seems to help.
Well, I'd give him a little touch or tap there in the netherworld, and it seemed to prime the pump. I even did it once at the animal hospital when the vet had a good squeeze on but wasn't getting anything. I have NO idea why it worked, but it did. Today he's going in for a UA, but he may not have any since he's now peeing on his own. It always worked like a charm!!
Just a note to let you know what is happening with Lingling.
On the advice of some of your people on this site, I thought as a last resort I would go to see ane more Vet who is doing accupuncture andchiropractic medicine. We were there for hrs, I have never seen a vet as thorough as this woman was. (This is after spending hundreds of $s at the other vet) She found out that Lingling has Cushings disease, no eye infedtion but severe dry eyes all as a result of Prednasone. Shethinks Lingling has severe arithrits in her back and or a disc problem. Anyhow, she ap[plied accupuncture and gave her an adjustment ( which I am not crasy about) She also taught my how to empty her bladder (which I just did), and I extracted quite a bit of urine. I thought I got a bit of resistance in her legs when I excercised with her.
We are taking her off the Prednasone very slowly and her eyes are even looking a bit better. I told my other Vet that I thought she had Cushings Disease he sent away her blodd and he said it was negative. The [present Vet found it out through a urinalysis. I am confused, or was I being taken by my other Vet? Sp all in all I am a bit more hopeful. Again so many THANKS to you and all the other Pet Lovers. I would have given up long ago.
Also many THANKS to Rich, who was going to build a cart for her, but had to postpone it. Naomi
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