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Tripod cat suddenly howling and not able to use remaining back leg
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6 May 2018 - 7:59 pm
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My tripod, Lamar, is about 2 years old and had his back left leg amputated when he was a very small kitten (he was found with a badly broken leg that couldn't be fixed). He's absolutely fabulous. He can run around and wrestle with my other cats, climbs all over the place, and has been generally in great health. He's an indoor cat, but we have an outdoor enclosure where they can get outside time and still be safe. 

He had three weird episodes recently. One I wasn't home for, but my husband told me that Lamar was suddenly screaming like he was in terrible pain, but it only lasted a few seconds and he was back to normal. The second one, Lamar was asleep and did the same thing. Howling like crazy and kind of scootching around not able to use his remaining back leg. But it only lasted maybe 5-10 seconds (seemed much longer of course). 

Today, he came flying up the stairs from the basement, howling and screaming... went under the couch... ran out and flopped over, still howling, not really able to move his back leg. This episode lasted much longer. Maybe almost a minute or so. My husband and I brought him to the local emergency vet. They gave him some pain medication and did an xray and blood test. Nothing seemed out of place. The doctor checked out his back leg thoroughly and said it seemed fine and thought maybe he might have pulled or twisted something. We were sent home with pain medication and told to keep him resting. They said they would recommend an MRI or CT scan (or both... I forget) if he doesn't seem to be back to normal.

We put him in a spare bedroom that doesn't have any furniture in it so he won't try to jump on/off anything. I put some favorite comfy stuff and a litter box in there. Gave him some food that he scarfed down. I went in to check on him and he was hopping around like normal, purring like crazy and seemed alert and great. Then all of a sudden, he kind of did the crazy screaming howl and flopped over again like his leg wasn't working. Just for a quick second.

I thought maybe I got him a little too riled up with petting, so I left the room and he quieted down. He's in the back room now and all is still quiet. I think he's sleeping and will peek in a little later, but I don't want him to wake up and get all excited again. I'm hoping the pain medication will do the trick so he gets some good rest.

I left a message for my usual vet, so I will probably talk to him first thing in the morning. I'm just wondering if anybody here has had anything similar happen. Or has anyone had a rear-leg amputee strain their remaining leg and if so, did their cat have this kind of reaction. It seems weird that a tear/twist would cause the three worsening episodes. I was thinking maybe he injured himself a little the first time and maybe it got worse with activity? Or maybe he had slightly hurt himself jumping off something and then did the same thing that originally caused the injury and it got worse? My husband also was wondering if maybe it was some kind of crazy cramp in his remaining leg. 

On sort of a related side note, one of my other cats, Buddy, did something to one of his back legs and was limping a little bit recently too. I have no idea how that could have anything to do with Lamar's issue, but figured I'd mention it. 

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

The Rainbow Bridge

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6 May 2018 - 8:40 pm
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Hi Lamar, Buddy and humans, welcome. Your future posts won't need to wait for approval so post away.

You did the best thing right now by taking Lamar in. What a relief they didn't find anything. Whew!

Tripawds are prone to muscle pulls and strains, just as what you're describing. Whether dog or cat, we've seen things like this happen, usually a result of crazy activity combined with the compromised gait. The good news is that most times R&R, pain management and rehab therapy can get rid of the issue. If your vet doesn't recommend a rehab therapist, let us know and we can help you find one. The best part is, the Tripawds Foundation will even pay for your first rehab visit !

Sounds like maybe Lamar and Buddy got in a tussle? Who knows! But you sound like super conscientious pet parents who are on the right path to figuring it out. Let us know what your vet says OK? 

P.S. We would love to hear more about the enclosure you have for them, maybe post in Hopping Around so we can learn about it. Good job!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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7 May 2018 - 6:04 am
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Thank you so much for the info! He seems to be back to his normal self this morning. I'll update when I find out more. And I will post about our "catio" in the Hopping Around section. 

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14 May 2018 - 6:08 pm
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Lamar was fine for a few days and then this past Thursday night he had another crazy episode pretty much just like the last one. Gave him a syringe of the liquid pain medicine and put him in the spare room. Seemed to help. Until 3 a.m. and he was yowling again, so I zipped him to the emergency vet. They gave him some gabapentin pills to take every 12 hours, and made an appointment for a CT scan in the morning (Friday). Kept him confined to one level of the house and kept him from going down the stairs and into the outdoor inclosure for a couple days. On Sunday afternoon, we let him have free reign again and he seems happy as can be. 

I finally talked to the vet about the results of the scan today. They didn't find anything wrong. Which is fabulous... but also rather frustrating because it doesn't give me any answer to what the problem was. The doctor thinks that Lamar must have tweeked or pulled something and it doesn't show up on the scan. So... the plan is to keep giving him the gabapentin pills for a week and a half. If he's fine then we'll stop that and hopefully he won't have another episode. If he does, the vet said that he would recommend an MRI. Fingers and toes crossed that doesn't have to happen. 

I've also made an appointment with a local vet who does acupuncture and chiropractic (as well as Chinese herb and dietary stuff), but the first one available is in August. I'm hoping that getting him on some kind of back-maintenance program will help. 

Just putting this all out there in case anyone has had a similar experience or has any advice. 

Thanks!

The Rainbow Bridge

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14 May 2018 - 10:25 pm
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Oh my gosh poor Lamar, he's had such a tough time. I'm glad the CT scan was negative, that's good news. The bad news is that if he does need the MRI wow that sounds expensive if you don't have insurance. Oh boy I hope the Gabapentin works. Did the vet mention anything about gradually withdrawing him from it whenever it's time to do so? It's not the kind of drug that should be stopped all of a sudden.

Is there any way we can help you find another rehabilitation therapist that can look at him sooner? If you want to let us know where you live (or PM me if you don't want it public), we can do our best to find a good one for you. August is such a long time to wait. 

Fingers & paws crossed that the episodes stop. Poor kitty! Poor you, I know you must be losing sleep. Eeek.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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15 May 2018 - 8:40 am
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We didn't talk about tapering off the gabapentin, but I assumed that's what I'd do. I already went from a whole pill twice a day to a half. I'll talk to my regular vet about it and make a plan. I'm hoping the acupuncture vet will get me in sooner. My sister takes all her buddies to him and she put in a good word. 

Canada
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15 May 2018 - 11:19 am
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Hi Lamar and Furmily

i just want to offer some support and say I’m sorry that your little fella is having such a hard time of things lately!

it would be fantastic if Jerry’s pack can find you a rehab vet sooner, August really is a long time to go! 

My dog, Stewie goes in to see a Hooman accupuncturist, who adores animals and she also performs Ortho-Bionimy on him, to help keep his body in ‘form’. It seems to help him and he doesn’t mind the gentle hands on attention at all! I don’t have a rehab vet close, as I live in a very rural area, but I would absolutely take him if in I was closer. I have seen huge benefits to lots of furbabies on this site!

I do hope that Lamar can get some relief soon and get back to playing in his Catio with his brother, who I hope is also doing better!

Petra, Stewie 🎗🐕🎗 and his Pride Of Kittens 🐈🐈🐈🐈 ♥️

On July 10/17 I became a Super Tripawd! You can find out more about my Pawrents Allensong but first Check out my 🎗 journey Super Stu Remember...“live in the moment!“  

Here and Now

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15 May 2018 - 11:40 am
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Super Stu! said
it would be fantastic if Jerry’s pack can find you a rehab vet...

FYI: Anyone can use the links here to find certified rehab therapists. Many CCRT or CCRP (canine rehab therapists) also provide rehab services for cats, as there is currently no certification for feline rehabilitation.

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17 May 2018 - 5:44 pm
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Thanks for the info. Lamar had another episode today ... and another trip to the emergency vet... and he's currently confined to the back bedroom. And he's had some more medication. I think I let him out and about too soon after that last episode. He seemed like he was all back to normal, but I jumped the gun. He'll be staying confined for a week for sure this time. I'm hoping that will keep him from doing whatever it is that causes the pain. Maybe he's jumping from somewhere and re-tweeking an injury? While he's on lock-down, my husband and I are going to re-evaluate the perches and ramps in the outdoor enclosure and make sure that everything has gradual steps for him to use. 

The doctor still doesn't know exactly what the problem is. But she is fairly certain that it isn't neurological or some kind of seizure. It's pretty obvious by the way he's acting that it's his back/leg that's causing the trouble. If the medication and exercise restriction doesn't do the trick, the doctor suggested getting an MRI... and there isn't one for pets in my state (Vermont), so we'd have to probably go to Massachusetts. Which is kind of a drag, but I'll do whatever it takes for my little buddy. 

My sister brings her 3 cats and dog to the doctor who has the till-August-wait. She's going to get in touch with him and see if she can work some magic to get Lamar in earlier. But the doctor said it's probably best to get him stable with the medication and rest before starting up anything else. But I will check out the links and see if there's anyone nearby. 

I'm really glad I found this forum. It's very helpful to kinda just vent. It's so stressful and frustrating when your fuzzy pal is hurting and can't tell you what the problem is. 

Virginia
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17 May 2018 - 9:24 pm
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WOW!  Just catching  up on your precious  Lamar.  Sorry he's mjaving these challenges. 

It reminds me to some degree of a similar behavior  that a dog named Ollie was experiencing .Thing is though, this happened within the first couple of weeks of surgery.....not two years out!!  It was discovered  to be some jumbled up exposed  nerve endings that were discovered  with an investigating surgery of the incision  area.

Hoping the comfinement and meds help.  I kmow it's  hard to see Lamar fo through this.

We're  going to send some healing  energy  your way!😎

Hugs 

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too 

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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24 May 2018 - 5:01 pm
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Lamar has been in the back room for a full week. He was taking gabapentin and a muscle relaxer every 12 hours, and buprenorphine every 8 hours. I cut out the muscle relaxer on Saturday (vet advised) because he was really not moving around much and seemed really doped up. I cut out the buprenorphine a couple days ago and now he's just taking the one gabapentin pill every 12. I let him come out of the back room tonight and he's doing well. I won't let him go downstairs or out into the catio for a while. We have an appointment tomorrow morning for a recheck with the vet at the emergency place. I'm going to see if I can talk to the person there who does acupuncture and rehab stuff. Send good luck!

Canada
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24 May 2018 - 6:28 pm
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Good luck with your vet appointment Lamar. Take life easy buddy, and we are wishing you the very best! 

Let us know how you make out tomorrow.

Petra Stewie and his Kittens.

On July 10/17 I became a Super Tripawd! You can find out more about my Pawrents Allensong but first Check out my 🎗 journey Super Stu Remember...“live in the moment!“  

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