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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21471
Experience:  I am a small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats and am happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My cat had been limping on his front left paw since Monday

Customer Question

Hi, my cat had been limping on his front left paw since Monday afternoon. He is a young and very active cat, always running around and hunting off things. He doesn't seem distressed or in pain and he is eating his food as normal. When he walks he does use the affected paw but doesn't put full pressure on it and holds it up slightly when he sits. I felt around his leg and checked around his claws and paw which he was fine with but when I pressed above his paw (I guess the bit we would call our ankle or wrist) he did bite me. Would I be right in thinking that he has sprained his paw? If so, how long do they usually take to heal and what can I do to help him?
Amanda
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian & I would like to help you with your wee one today.
Does it look swollen at all where he has shown pain when pressed? Or warmer then the other side?
Does he go outside at all?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He does go outside a lot, he'll disappear for hours on little adventures. It does look a tiny bit more swollen than the other paw, I'm not sure if it is warmer than the other paw, this I will have to check when I get home from work this afternoon. He's been running around with a slight limp this morning but been quite chirpy and playful
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you,
Now when we have limping of this nature in a cat with outdoor access, we do have a few concerns. The most common is actually a brewing abscess from a bite/scratch from another cat. And I do have to note that these can cause lameness from the time of onset but swell over time as infection takes route. Therefore, if the swelling looks any worse over the past few days, this would be a concern. Otherwise, we could see this with muscle strain or even hairline fractures of the bones in this area.
In a situation of this nature, it is a bit concerning to hear that he is still lame and potentially not showing improvement over the week. Often strains can settle on their own with good rest within a week or two. So, we'd hope to see some slight improvement if he has been rested. If he hasn't and is still jumping about, then we'd really want to restrict activity to an inside area where he doesn't have anything he can jump on/off of. That way we get him to rest any strains and let that settle.
Further to this, if he is amenable, you can also gently warm compress the are to reduce inflammation. If you don't have a compress on hand, you can make one using a small sock filled 2/3rds full with uncooked rice. This can then be microwaved for a minute, shook to distribute the heat (and checked before use of course), and used as needed to soothe any strain present.
Of course, while doing so, we need to monitor that swelling. Any enlargement or continued tenderness and an abscess would be a concern. And in that case (or if it remains sore, which is what he was telling you when he bit), we'd want to consider having him seen by his local vet. They can dispense cat safe anti-inflammatories (since human options are cat toxic) +/- antibiotics if an abscess is confirmed. That way we can get this settled as quickly as possible for Leroy and get him back to his usual mischief with no lasting issue.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best, *****
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