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Hock Paralysis Advice please help!!

Orthopedic/Arthritis: Problems associated with joints, bone, and connective tissue.

Hock Paralysis Advice please help!!

Postby AMR1024 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:14 pm

I rescued a kitty who had been hit by a car and his back legs and tail were completely paralyzed. Vet ordered crate rest for a week then came and checked him again and he can now move the upper parts of his back legs, but can't move or feel his hocks or feet. The vet ordered another two weeks of confinement (less strict, he is allowed to move around a little, we just have to be very careful not to let him overdo it.) I've been keeping him as still as possible, but inevitably he ends up moving around a little bit here and there. When he walks, his hocks bend back and the front of his paws drag the ground. He is continent from what I can tell, but he is unable (and not allowed) to move to a litter box. When I'm awake, I keep him on the bed with me, but as he's tried to jump off and roam around a couple times in the past, I have had to resort to leaving him in a carrier while I sleep. No matter how much he drinks, he pees a LOT. I've put 3+ pads in the bottom of the carrier, and as soon as he pees, all are soaked, as well as the bottom of the plastic carrier where he sits. So, of course, it gets his feet and hocks wet. I tried putting diapers on him, but he won't leave them on. He always manages to wiggle right out of them, and the ones that are a close fit for him are for newborns and aren't nearly absorbant enough. Because he has a back injury, I'm not supposed to give him a bath (I've still had to a couple times when he was soaked and covered in poop), so I've been doing my best to clean him with baby wipes. Anyway, because of the friction of him dragging them when he tries to walk, as well as being peed on so often, his little toes are getting a LOT of sores on them and are very raw. I've considered putting socks on them, which would definitely help while he tries to move around, but would likely be counterproductive if they were soaked with urine and chafing him. I just don't know what to do to keep him clean/dry and to keep his little toes from getting hurt. Please help, any advice is very appreciated and i need it ASAP. His paws are very raw and were even bleeding last night. I desperately want to fix this issue, I just don't know how. Also, the vet doesn't seem to hopeful about him getting use of his hocks and feet back, so I've been looking into supportive devices for him. He gets around on his own, just not well. I feel like a drag bag would hinder him, as he's not completely paralyzed and a wheelchair seems like overkill seeing as he has the strength and can produce the motion to walk in his back legs (he just can't control his hock/move his foot to support the motion), so I've been looking into hock braces/splints. I haven't found any information about whether these can be used on cats with full hock paralysis rather than just weakness, or if so what type would be best for him. If anyone would let me know if this could possibly be a viable option for him, please let me know!
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Re: Hock Paralysis Advice please help!!

Postby CarolC » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:37 pm

https://www.handicappedpets.com/mediawi ... capped_pet

https://www.handicappedpets.com/mediawi ... _litterbox

Hopefully you'll get better replies, but to me it sounds like he does need a box. I totally understand you are trying not to let him move around too much, however for reasons I don't understand, cats are not usually restricted quite as strictly as dogs after a back injury. I would consider a large dog crate and you could put inside it a very shallow litter box. He needs the box because you identified the problem perfectly, the wetness is causing the raw toes more than the dragging. Being soaked is the main problem. (That much I am confident of, based on experience.) Since he has raw feet I would not use a clay or clumping litter, you want something that won't stick to his feet, such as Yesterday's News newspaper litter.

People have tried various things for a shallow box. You can probably find some kind of container at Target in the organizing section. You can also cut a low opening in a normal box so he has an easy entry. Cutting those plastic litter boxes usually does not come out looking too pretty but it is just something temporary for him to use, it doesn't have to be elegant. There are also low entry boxes you can buy online, someone here can look them up if you are interested. I haven't looked recently but they probably still make them. But really, my two cents is, you have more problem with the wetness than the dragging, I would give him a litter box that is easy to climb in and out of. The dog crates come in various sizes, such as 36", 42", or 48". He probably doesn't need 48". Also, it is nice to have some kind of bed or blanket, but you'll want to check whether he is getting his claws caught in the blanket. If he is, then you might need just some kind of box with torn up newspaper or something similar while he is healing, or see if the vet will trim his claws.

I would definitely give him more time and remember improvement from spinal injury tends to be slow but it is going on all the time even when the pet looks much the same. I agree you probably do not want boots or socks right now, but there was a kitty here named Fripple who walked on his hocks and did wear a shoe. Someone here can post photos so you can see how it was done, if you need them later.
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Re: Hock Paralysis Advice please help!!

Postby AMR1024 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:59 pm

Thank you for the quick reply and great advice! I am setting up a large dog crate for him right now. I will put a litter box in there to see if he will be able to use it and hopefully it will work. (Edit: I used a carrier because it has indentations for runoff so it won't just pool up and it is very low, so he can easily get in/out). We are ordering socks as well, just to wear when he's getting a little bit of exercise here and there (vet said he should get to walk a very little bit, only on carpet) so the front of his toes don't drag the ground. He doesn't really hock walk, it's more like knuckling. Looks kinda like this, but with both paws and very unstable.
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-SyLBCPu2v_c/V ... ckling.jpg
So I don't want his toes to drag the ground while he's walking either! Do you have any idea about whether the brace/splint would work for him of he does end up paralyzed from the hock down? We're praying he regains use of his hocks/paws, but our vet (he's absolutely wonderful, best I've ever been to!) Doesn't seem to think he will. It's not time for him to get a wheelchair/brace/drag bag yet if we do end up needing one at all, I'm just trying to explore our options a bit to figure out which would be the best for him if necessary, and so we have an estimate of how much money we'll be needing to save up. My fiancee and I are 18 year old college students, so we will need a little time to get money ready but we will manage for him!
Thank you so much for your help!
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Re: Hock Paralysis Advice please help!!

Postby critters » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:03 am

:slant: Knuckling, as the curling under is called, isn't good, and you need to get splints so that his feet don't contract into that position. My Koi, who'd been shot in the spine, had contractures like that, and they were a nightmare. I really like the splints here at HP. https://www.handicappedpets.com/walkin-rear-splint Depending on the level of paralysis, you might be able to use the "bootie splints." https://www.handicappedpets.com/walkin-bootie-splint I've never personally seen the https://www.handicappedpets.com/no-knuc ... ining-sock .

As for diapers, yes, you need something to keep them on. A turtleneck Onesie can help, as can numerous systems that use harnesses. Regular Onesies don't work, in my experience, because cats can come out the neck hole. My Buddy wore a size 3 baby diaper, and he was 10 pounds or so. The weight charts for humans don't help any. :shock:

If you know any PT, OT, or orthotic types, you might be able to get scr,aps of thermoplastic to try making splints. I was going to do that for Koi, because his custom splints were expensive, but he got cancer first. You might also be able to get help from a local orthotist/prosthetist, possibly for free since a cat needs such a tiny bit of plastic.
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Re: Hock Paralysis Advice please help!!

Postby critters » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:12 am

PS--You will want to see the neurological board viewforum.php?f=4 for plenty of stories.
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