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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 32753
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My neutered male cat, age 15, had an anaesthetic for dental

Customer Question

My neutered male cat, age 15, had an anaesthetic for dental treatment last Tueday (14th Jan) and was doing fine. However today I noticed he was reluctant to jump down and later had difficulty getting up on the sofa. Now his back legs seem to give way when he turns around. He does not seem in pain and the legs are not tender to touch but he is wobbly. I read this can happen to older cats after an anaesthetic but should I take him to the vet straight away?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry to hear of this with Jamie. He's currently ataxic ("drunken sailor") as evidenced by his wobbliness and unsteadiness. Ataxia at Jamie's age often results from a thromboembolic event - a blood clot in his aorta where the aorta divides into his hind legs (saddle thrombus) or perhaps a cerebrovascular accident such as stroke although stroke usually causes more pronounced symptoms - vocalization, severe change in mentation (mental status) and seizures.

Please feel Jamie's hind feet and legs and compare their warmth to his front feet and legs. If a saddle thrombus has formed, vascular compromise to his hind legs would cause those legs to feel cooler to you than his front legs. Unfortunately, we don't have specific therapy for such a blood clot but we do provide narcotic pain relief and some cats can improve within days. Advanced heart disease invariably accompaines a saddle thrombus so overall these cats' prognosis is necessarily poor to grave.

Alternative diagnoses include degenerative disk disease (a "slipped disk") and tumors in or about the spinal cord or within the brain. X-rays and MRI are often necessary to clarify the etiology of these diagnoses but even should we find the etiology we might not be able to treat effectively - at least in a conservative fashion. Hence, presumptive therapy with antiinflammatory doses of a corticosteroid such as prednisolone and narcotic pain relief may be chosen in an attempt to kindly hospice these patients.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.