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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 10859
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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Dr Deb please......You helped me with my cat Dolly recently,

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Dr Deb please......You helped me with my cat Dolly recently, she had a hotspot that wasnt healing. I had an holistic vet give her some low level laser treatment and the hotspot healed completely within 2 weeks. Sadly now I have a new problem! Dolly is limping. Quite badly at times on her left front leg. When she gets up from sleeping it can be quite severe, but it soesnt seem to bother her too much, she keeps moving and then suddenly she will be buzzing around the garden playing and jumping without any lameness at all! She has had a very slight limp on and off for a couple of weeks and since recovering from her hotspot she seems really well and much more active. Its as if she has agrevated some injury that has been lurking. I have an holistic vet who has examined her. This is a registered MRCVS too but she now specialises in homeopathic treatments. I am considering asking my regular vet to x ray dolly to see if there is underlying disease. I cannot help thinking maybe the hotspot was connected to some sort of pain or injury she sustained at the time ? Dolly was absolutely fine last week and on saturday and sunday the lameness seemed worse and today she can be very lame followed by not lame at all......The weirdest thing is, that my other cat connie is doing the exact same thing, but on her right fore! She has been limping on and off for a week or so, but last few days seems worse. Exactly like Dolly, random intermittant lameness. Happy in herself, both are eating playing sleeping. Not hinding not painful to palpate. No sign of trauma to the paw. Its like some crazy freak show and I think my vet is going to think I am crazy! In fact I think I am crazy! I have had one problem after another recently, its very bizarre. Do you think i should ask for x rays at this stage? My anxious mind goes immediately to the worst case scenario which right now would be bone cancer......but in two cats??? Thanks in advance. x

Hello again although I'm sorry that I was off my computer when you requested me.

That's fantastic news about Dolly's hot spot although I'm sorry to hear about this new issue with her.

Boy, your cats certainly like to confound and perplex us don't they???

I agree that the odds of bone cancer developing in two house mates at the same time absolutely defies the odds!!! Not to mention the fact that bone cancer is fairly uncommon in cats, unlike dogs.

I'm having a difficult time relating the hot spot she had to her current issue although I can understand why you might think it was involved. given the timing of everything.

In most cases, lameness is going to be secondary to a sprain or strain especially if no pain or swelling can be localized to one specific area. However, having said that, the intermittent nature of her lameness doesn't quite fit. Typically, those cats are persistently lame with little to no normal gait patterns. But for those who do have this problem, healing can take quite some time (usually weeks) since it's difficult to keep cats from jumping around and doing what cats do. It's much easier to "cage-rest" a dog which is why they typically heal much faster than their feline counterparts; this is one area where dogs tend to heal much more quickly than cats.

Cats who demonstrate intermittent lameness often have either arthritis or tendonitis or possibly bursitis (since it's a front leg). Diagnosis of the former is often made when changes are seen on an x-ray; the latter two problems often require advanced testing such as an MRI or CT scan.

I don't think you're crazy since I think it not at all likely that you're seeing things but I don't have a clue as to why your other cat would also be showing similar signs except in a different leg!!! This just doesn't really make much sense at all, does it??? I'm wracking my brain to come up with some reasonable explanation but I must confess I'm stumped....unless they both have arthritis which wouldn't be that unusual, especially if your other cat is older, like Dolly.

I think a full leg x-ray with emphasis on the elbow and shoulder would be an excellent idea. Then, hopefully, we'd have a better idea of what we're dealing with. I even think laser therapy may be something to consider if osteoarthritis is seen or even if it's not.

I do have some suggestions if arthritis turns out to be the problem (or if you're just interested) which I'd be happy to share so just let me know.

Again, my apologies for the delayed reply.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for this Deb. It's very confusing and weird. I just watched dolly moving perfectly seems like her lameness is worse when she first gets up so maybe is arthritic in nature? She is still having laser treatments weekly. We decided to give her 4 to begin with but the hotspot was gone after 2 now will continue for a while to see if it helps. I will investigate x rays with my vet. Such a shame as she has just got back to being her usual happy active self. She seems so well and now needs more tests and vet trips. Poor girl. The cats are both 10 and are half sisters so it's possible something hereditary? But still for both to develop at exactly the same time is odd to say the least! Will update you. Jess x


You're welcome as always.

I'm glad to hear that she's still getting laser treatments and just delighted that she responded as well as she did. I have limited experience with laser therapy but have heard really great things about them for all sorts of conditions.

The pattern of arthritis for most patients is that they are stiffer and/or lame after laying down for periods of time (or if they overdo it); then as they move around, they loosen up the joint and the symptoms go away. Or, after they rest a bit, if they've exacerbated the condition.

So, this is definitely a possibility. But why they'd both show symptoms at the same time is just bizarre!!! I think they're trying to mess with your head:))))

I can't think of anything genetic which would rear its ugly head now for them; if they were kittens, that would be a different story.

At least she/they are don't appear to be bothered by her lameness...or doesn't appear to be anyway.

If this does turn out to be the problem, then I have a few suggestions; the supplements I mention can be given regardless.

Treatment options for arthritis in cats are more limited than for dogs but options to consider would be:
1 Cosequin for Cats which is a joint supplement that comes in a powder form.
2. Occasional use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as Onisor which is licensed for use in cats but can only be given for three days in a row.
There is a drug called Metacam but it is somewhat controversial in veterinary medicine, at least here in the States. It's use as been associated with significant damage to the kidneys and should be used with great caution in older cats; the drug here in the States currently carries a label to that effect. However, there are some recent studies which indicate that at very low doses, this drug may be beneficial for cat with osteoarthritis.

I know the drug is available in the UK at a different concentration/strength so it may be worth asking your vet about it.

3. Adequan which is basically a stronger supplement but is an injection and needs to be given by your vet.

4. Fish oil supplements such as Welactin which is liquid that can be drizzled in the food. Also available on the internet.

5. Pain medication such as Buprenex can be very useful although it's sometimes difficult to know how painful these patients are.

6. Gabapentin which is another pain drug that would have to be dispensed by your vet but can make some cats sort of loopy.

7. NuCat Senior which is a source of antioxidants to help reduce oxidative damage to joints; available on the internet.

8. Combinations of antioxidants such as Cell Advance (VetriScience)

Keep me posted:) Deb

Dr. Deb and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That's great. I have ordered the cosequin and will look into the nucat etc.....adequan I have used on my horse! I just came from my vets and they agreed to x ray if a prednicare trial doesn't resolve it. The vet thinks it's shoulder/elbow area as there is less movement due to muscle if she's guarding. The trouble is dolly will have to have a GA to be x rayed which means a whole day at the vets which will be incredibly stressful for her. It's frustrating x rays cannot be done in a simple appointment. She is so terrified and passive at the vet. She wouldn't put up a fight. Connie's seems to be a bit clicky in her wrist so she thinks there may be a bit or arthritis there that she has aggregated. Again metacam for her for a few days and joint supps. I really really wish I could just walk in and get rads done for peace of mind that there is no tumour fracture or airgun pellet in there. Hmmmm will have to see how she goes. More laser tomorrow and I'm considering going for mri instead if she needs GA as this may be more conclusive right?Thanks as always. Helpful advice. X


Thanks as always for the rating; always appreciated:)

At least your vet has localized areas which may be responsible for her symptoms.

That's really too bad that she has to be anesthetized for x-rays; I know every vet is different, but I rarely, if ever, have to sedate a cat for this procedure. I'm sometimes at a complete loss to understand why the elbow and wrist areas at least couldn't be done with her just laying on her side. The shoulder is a little trickier but I've still been able to manage it in most cases if the patient is compliant.

If she were my cat, I'd obviously wait to see how she does on medication before subjecting her to an anesthetic procedure. The supplements may take longer to kick in if they do (since as you know, they aren't effective for everyone) but glad you've started her on them.

I can't obviously know for sure, of course, but her behavior doesn't at all sound like a tumor or associated fracture or even a pellet.

An MRI or a CT scan really sounds like over-kill at this point to me but, in theory, it could be more conclusive in the long run depending on what's going on.