How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 30778
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
55012488
Type Your Vet Question Here...
Dr. Michael Salkin is online now

my cat is 9 years old and for the last 4 days his back legs

Customer Question

my cat is 9 years old and for the last 4 days his back legs have suddenly become very stiff, today he wont eat and wont move, he cries when i try to touch his back legs!
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry to hear of this with George. His painful back leg changes usually indicate a saddle thrombus - a blood clot in his aorta where that great vessel branches off into his hind legs. The legs become quite painful as ischemia (lack of blood supply) progresses. This is commonly seen secondary to advanced heart disease (cardiomyopathy/heart muscle disease). If a heart murmur has been heard during prior physical exams, cardiomyopathy is the likely etiology of his current presentation.

Hypothermia of the hind paws/legs is more supportive evidence for a blood clot. His hind feet/legs may feel colder to the touch than his front feet/legs. His femoral pulse would be weak or absent as well.

We also consider a myelopathy (spinal cord disorder) in these cats but the legs usually become hypopathic (lack of pain) rather than painful as you've described. George's vet should be able to differentiate which is the most likely etiology. Treatment, then, would be predicated upon what's found upon George's physical exam.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.