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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 29732
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My male persian is approx 11yrs old & a few weeks ago I took

Customer Question

My male persian is approx 11yrs old & a few weeks ago I took him to the vets as he was vomiting and generally unwell in himself. He was given tablets for a pancreas infection and although he appears a bit better in himself he is still being sick every other day (not as much as he was before and quite watery). Today I have noticed his back legs seem to go out to the side as he's walking. He doesn't seem in any pain when I touch him around his stomach, back or rear legs. I am very concerned about this but he is rating normally and is being sociable with us. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
An overall weakness, a saddle thrombus, and a myelopathy need to be considered in a cat such as Harvey.

Overall weakness can result from profound anemia as well as myriad metabolic disorders. I would be pleased to review any test results you could post here. I understand that you might not have a copy of the results at home but his vet should be able to give you one which you could scan into your computer and give me the link or you can photograph the page(s) and upload the images by using the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box (not if you're using the chrome browser) or by using an external app such as imgur.com or dropbox.com.

A saddle thrombus describes a blood clot where his aorta divides into his hind legs. That clot, then, decreases the blood supply to his hind legs resulting in paresis (weakness) or even paralysis. It's usually found secondary to advanced heart diease in cats - a cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease) in most cases which is identified through a cardiac ultrasound (echocardiogram). His hind paws might feel cooler to the touch than his front paws if a saddle thrombus has formed. Please check this for me.

A myelopathy describes spinal cord disorder. This can be from degenerative disk disease (a "slipped disk") although not a common finding, from a tumor in or around the spinal cord, or due to infection (uncommon in an otherwise appetent and sociable cat).

His persisting vomiting concerns me for persistence of pancreatitis (infection is very rare in a cat's pancreas, however; pancreatitis is considered a sterile disease in cats) or other metabolic disorders that predispose to vomiting and there are many of those. Blood work should be rechecked including a specfPL blood test which is the most specific for identifying the presence of pancreatitis. An abdominal ultrasound can be quite good at "seeing" pancreatitis as well and also offers the opportunity to evaluate the gastrointestinal tract quite well. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a common cause of such vomiting in cats.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for the information. His hind paws do feel slightly cooler than his front but he doesn't appear in any pain. When he sits his right hind leg sticks out to the side and I noticed also that when he was stood eating his leg again appeared to be 'slipping' to the side. I am very concerned about saddle thrombus after reading a bit about it as the outcome isn't very promising. Thanks.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
You're quite welcome. Have his vet carefully ausculate (listen to) his heart and check his femoral pulse - which would be diminished if a clot were present. The finding of a murmur would be supportive of cardiomyopathy and subsequent clot formation but a murmur néed not be present. Cardiomyopathy can remain occult for quite some time.

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.