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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 28469
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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I just got home to my 9 year old Persian cat and she has her

Customer Question

I just got home to my 9 year old Persian cat and she has her front paw curled round and cannot control walking on it. It doesn't appear to be hurt or damaged as she isn't complaining when I press all her pads, wrist, bones etc. She's just gone and lay down in her cat litter tray (very unusual) and started eating the granules. She isn't purring when I stroke her.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
Please look at the image below and let me know if your cat's posture is similar. I'm concerned about radial nerve damage which would cause numbness and which would explain her not complaining when you palpated her.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

it doesn't appear to be twisted round to that angle. it is hanging vertically with the paw facing its usual way but the pads curled over and she can't take weight on it. she doesn't seem herself in her behaviour. She never sits in her litter tray and certainly never eats the litter. She has food right by her and water.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. When there's no obvious pain upon examination of a cat in which a thoracic limb monoparesis/monoplegia (one limb weakness/paralysis) exists, a brachial plexus injury/avulsion should be considered. This usually describes a stretching or tearing of the nerves in the armpit which eventually reach into the front limb. The image above represents a classic radial nerve injury but any of the peripheral nerves or nerve roots of the brachial plexus can be involved in the injury. Her current behavior represents a pain response and so I'd like her vet to check for a proprioceptive deficit (not knowing where her paw is in relation to the rest of her body) in that limb, if hyporeflexia/areflexia (decreased/absent response to neurologic reflex testing) is present, and if loss of nociception (superficial or deep pain sensation) exists. The results of such testing will give you a prognosis for her recovery. Pain relief in the form of a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug or narcotic would be prudent at this time as well.
The most common cause of a brachial plexus injury in cats is snagging a nail in carpet or drapery and then attempting to pull the trapped nail out. I can't rule out a simple soft tissue injury - sprain or strain - from here and that's certainly a consideration as well. Such an injury should remiss within days; a brachial plexus injury might take weeks for return of function if, indeed, return of function can occur at all.
Please continue our conversation if you wish.
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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

I'm going to check back with you in a few days for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.

Please disregard the info request.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
May I have an update, please?