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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 21256
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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my 10 year old cat has been limping for 2 weeks.she constantly

Customer Question

my 10 year old cat has been limping for 2 weeks.she constantly licks her back left paw where one claw has been bleeding slightly and she seems unable to retract this claw. her appetite has lessened along with toileting habits.unable to jump and is not mobile for up to 48 hours at a time. now going into 3rd week of seeing vet and getting antibiotics. am i right to be worried that she is no better after this length of time?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Does Bonnie show discomfort when the toe is handled?

Did she have any history of trauma to the toe before these signs started showing?

Have you noticed any change in her breathing?
Has he vet noticed any change or dullness in her lung sounds?

Have they done any tests to test for infection or xrays to see why this toe is unable to retract its claw?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

yes she shows discomfort when paw is handled.


no trauma history.


no apparent change in breathing.


current medical problems only include being overweight.


vet has given no explanations other than to say they are treating her for an infection.no tests done.


 

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you Anne,

I do just have a few more questions for you:

Does this toe look very different from the others? Very swollen? Ulcerated?

Any pus colored drainage with the blood or does it smell infected?

When she is non-mobile, do you think it is just due to the pain with this foot?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

yes,toe looks different from others,and i suspect it is swollen.


no ulceration.


no pus,not much blood,no smell.


i believe she is immobile due to pain.


claw looks slightly squint but is solid and does not retract.


not a great deal to see in general, but she is sleeping more than usual and unable to jump.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Thank you again Anne,

As I am sure you can appreciate, we can see a range of causes lead to a poorly toe and a limping cat. And bacterial infection is often to blame, as bacteria gain access to the delicate tissue of the toes (via trauma or foreign bodies like grass seeds). Still, to see no response to the antibiotics after multiple weeks of treatment means we have to ask ourselves whether this (1) this is an infection that is not sensitive to the drug that has been used, or (2) this is not a bacteria causing her troubles (especially with the lack of pus or odor that often accompanies bacterial infection).

Therefore, with these concerns in mind, I would advise a revisit with her vet would be prudent here. If infection is truly still suspect, then it is worth discussing having the vet collect a sample from the toe to submit for bacterial culture/sensitivity. This will tell you what is present and what drugs it is vulnerable to. Furthermore, if she is very sore with this, I would suggest asking them to dispense feline friendly pain relief to at least keep her comfortable while they determine the root of her signs.

Otherwise, I do feel that it is worth considering other differentials for her signs. If she had had a history of trauma (or even a cat fight), we would have to also consider fractures of the toe, tendon damage (which could lead to a loss of retraction), +/- nail bed damage (leading to these wee bleeds and odd angle). As well, depending on your location (though rare in the UK), we can see some fungal agents cause toe infections. And while I hate to even mention it, it is important to note that we can see “non-healing toe infections” in cats actually be a kind of cancer. In those cases, when we do see this form of cancer it is usually a metastasis (spread) from a lung based tumor called a bronchial carcinoma. So, this too would be a concern here with her lack of treatment response, pain, and the odd position of her nail without a history of trauma.

In this situation, it would be prudent to speak to her vet again about this toe. If infection is suspect, then a culture could shed some light. If an unknown trauma is possible or the vet feels that this toe could be a sign of something more sinister, then you could consider having them xray the toe to see what is going on within it. Depending on their findings of these tests, you will be able to appreciate the cause for her signs and thus know how to address them as effectively as possible for her.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

many thanks for an honest detailed response.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.
You are very welcome, Anne.

I wish wee Bonnie the best.
Please do let me know how you get on.

Take care,
Dr. B.