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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 22424
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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I have 2 roughly 4 week kittens which I found in my garden

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I have 2 roughly 4 week kittens which I found in my garden along with their mum. Up until last night they were doing well. After i bathed my children I came downstairs to find one of the kittens dragging her rear legs. She has been the same since. She is no longer meowing but is still eating. There doesnt seem to be any pain or feeling in her back legs. Ive tired pinching her back pads but with no reaction from her and like I said, she doesnt seem to be in any pain. I have no way of getting to a vet until later tonight so I really need some sort of advice mean time. My 2 year old daughter can be quite rough but ive been very careful and try to keep them separate so I can't see that she would have injured one. Really baffled as to what has happened. Trying to think would could have happened but theres nothing. Many thanks.

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

I am very sorry to hear about this poor wee kitten. If she is not able to use her back legs at all nor feel when you pinch them, this does suggest spinal damage for her. If she could at least have felt your pinch, then we'd have other differentials (ie soft tissue injury, fractures, etc). But if she has no feeling in her legs, then this is a red flag there has been a spinal injury leading to swelling of the spinal cord or a bleed in the cord. In regards ***** ***** causes, the most common will be trauma of some nature (ie rough handling, being dropped, falling from a height etc). We can sometimes see spontaneous issues with vertebral discs pressing on the cord, but this is very rare in kittens. And while there are infectious agents that can affect the nervous system, we'd expect more kittens to be showing signs and brain based issues (affecting all limbs).

In this situation, keeping this little one safe from harm is the mainstay of treatment here. She should appear normal otherwise (eating, drinking, etc) but may not be able to urinate on her own. I wouldn't advise trying to express her bladder (since this is a delicate procedure and we'd not want to rupture her bladder by mistake) but just be aware that if she becomes dull, depressed, weak, collapsed, or vomits; this could be the cause of that and she need to be seen urgently. Otherwise, as long as she is stable she can wait until your vet can see her tonight. That said, if they confirm a loss of sensation and motor function for her back legs, her prognosis will be poor. They may be inclined to try her with steroids or feline safe anti-inflammatories to see if spinal inflammation is present but again loss of nervous function to the back legs carries a very guarded prognosis for this poor little one.

Please take care,

Dr. B.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Dr B. So sounds like something has happened to her causing injury of the spinal cord. Im at a loss though as I am so careful and I would have at least thought I'd hear something if she got hurt. Is there anyway she can live a comfortable life like this if it is permanent or will she have to be put to sleep? Obviously I will find out tonight exactly what us wrong but would just like to prepare myself and my family. Also would the paralysis have happened immediately after injury or could it have taken some time to take effect? Just wondering as I'm trying to figure out what could have possibly happened. Thanks again.

You are very welcome, Rachael.

These situations are difficult and moments when we all wish we could talk to our patients and ask what happened. In regards ***** ***** spinal damage tends to be quite sudden in onset in cats as it is in people. So, we'd not expect the trauma to have happened days ago. And if no one had handled her that day, then a fall would be our most likely culprit.

In regards ***** ***** prognosis and future, it will off course depend on her vet's examination this evening. If it is just severe inflammation post trauma, then she may respond to treatment and there would be a slim chance she regained function. That said, if she has lost motor and sensory nerve function to her back legs, then her prognosis is poor and putting her to sleep would be the kindest choice. The reason is because paralysis at the level of the spine that it compromises bladder function would lead to her not being able to pass urine on her own. The bladder would become distended and damaged leading her to dribble, cause serious risk for bladder and kidney infections, and we could see fatal signs associated with urinary toxin build up in the blood like those I mentioned before. So, if they confirm loss of nerve function, these would be serious risks that would not be fair to put a wee kitten through for her lifetime.

So, in this case it will all depend on whether she does have a loss of nerve function. If the vet does get any positive nerve function, then she may have a wee chance. But if not, then we would need to think about letting her go.

Take care,
Dr. B.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I understand. Thank you very much for your help. We will see how tonight goes but at least now I know what we need to prepare ourselves for. Thanks again, take care. Rachael.

You are very welcome, Rachael.

I do wish for the best for your wee one. Still I do think it is best to be prepared for the worst case scenario, especially if she has no feeling when you pinch those wee paws.

Please take care & do let me know how she gets on,

Dr. B.


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