PDA

View Full Version : 8 year old male with ataxia (wobbly back legs)


KrazyKatLady
January 23rd 07, 01:49 AM
I am distraught. I took my 8 year old male cat (Bon-sai) to our vet two years
ago for what I perceived to be a neurological problem. I noticed that he had
become clumsy, and the vet told me that he was obese and that that was the
problem. I was a bad pet owner and didn't get him to lose the weight. We have
5 indoor cats, this cat is a furry vulture (a very loveable one though...lol),
and it's very hard to meal feed all of them.

Note: all my cats have been fed an extremely well-formulated cat food (Flint
River Ranch) since they were kittens. This food is $40/20 lb bag and is very
low in ash and magnesium. All ingredients are human grade.

I should have trusted my instincts. The clumsiness problem has gradually
continued to get worse, and I took him back to the vet today, just to put my
mind at ease and also because he's been defecating in very bad places, like
on our bed. He's always pooped outside his box in the garage, and we've tried
every remedy imaginable (every litter on the market, including CatAttact,
cleaning the boxes 2x/day, cutting down the side of the box for easier access,
etc.)--we figured that he was just a finicky cat who didn't like the fact
that other cats used the boxes (we have one box for each cat). Actually, I
think that deep down I was terrified that the vet would tell me that he had
something like a brain tumor and he'd have to be put down. She finally has
admitted that I was right and that he DOES have some kind of neurological
problem. He has something called "head tilt" which I had never noticed before
(he walks with his head tilted to one side). She said that he also has a
heart murmur, but she didn't tell me to what degree.

Diabetic neuropathy? Maybe, but not likely. He doesn't walk on his heels,
he's overweight (not underweight), there's no excessive thirst, and his coat
is as soft as a mink's. That rules out thyroid problems too, right?

Brain stem or vestibular tumor? I thought of those too, but he doesn't have
any nystagmus at all--wouldn't he have a nystagmus if he had a tumor? The
only symptoms he has (besides the fact that he weighs 15 lbs and he's a
pretty long cat) are clumsiness in his back legs, inability to pivot,
reluctance to sit on his hind quarters (he usually lays down on his side),
and I've noticed that when he DOES sit that he kind of sways back and forth
when he purrs.

Any ideas? I'll get the results of his blood workup tomorrow.

Rhonda
January 23rd 07, 08:46 AM
KrazyKatLady wrote:

> Any ideas? I'll get the results of his blood workup tomorrow.

Don't feel bad -- you took him to the vet twice to find out what's wrong.

We had a diabetic cat but he did not have those symptoms. Also, he lost
a lot of weight fast and drank a ton of water. I would think you'd see
something like that before you'd see complications of diabetes, but
sounds like you will find out with the tests tomorrow.

Did the vet take x-rays too? I would check the bones, etc., and check
for arthritis even though he is pretty young for it. We have a front-end
wobbly 15 year old with arthritis in his front knee, and an 11 year old
with arthritis in her spine (but you don't notice it in her movements.)

At any point could your cat have broken a hip and it didn't heal
properly? Our vet informed us that our 11 year old had a broken hip at
some point -- probably as a kitten before we found her as a stray. It
did not heal correctly.

Good luck, don't give up on finding the answer. If the tests come back
okay, ask for more tests or get another opinion! Internist vets are good
at diagnosis if you get a written referral to one.

Let us know what you find out,

Rhonda

KrazyKatLady via CatKB.com
January 24th 07, 01:49 AM
Everything came back negative--the vet said that she's 99% certain that he
has a malignant tumor, probably in the brain stem or near a vestibular nerve.
At least I know, and I know that there is nothing that I could have done to
have prevented this. It just is what it is.

This isn't just wobbly like arthritis wobbly--I thought that he had arthritis
too, but I kept observing him and realized that he wasn't stiff after having
layed down for a while, it wasn't better with heat or worse when it was rainy
and cold. It was obviously something neurological. I didn't realize until the
vet pointed it out yesterday that his head tilts to the right side when he
walks, and we he falls, he also falls to that side. He also almost never sits
on his rear, probably because he doesn't have enough control over his balance
to do that. I read for hours on the internet last night, and what I read said
that when they have a lesion on the brain, they tend to fall towards the side
where the lesion is located. The doctor said that when she examined him
yesterday, he was definitely not "painful," so we're going to give him
prednisone to reduce brain swelling and see if that helps his balance any. I
know that it's just buying him a little more time, and I will definitely let
him go when he tells me that it's time. I always promised myself that I would
never be selfish and let any of them suffer.

Yeah, it's a heartbreak, because this cat is my best friend--all five of them
are, all in their own different ways. He's a big, silky teddy bear, and has
the sweetest disposition you could ever imagine. My 14 month old chases him
all over the place ( I try to prevent this whenever possible) and he has
never once hissed or shown any aggression towards her. He just looks up at me
with eyes that seem to say "Can you call off the little semi-bald upright
walking kitten, please?" LOL...

I guess that all I can do now is look at every day with him as a blessing and
let him be a furry pig to his heart's content. The doctor said that it would
be better if he kept his "reserves," because he might eventually need them.

:o) Sharon

Rhonda wrote:
>> Any ideas? I'll get the results of his blood workup tomorrow.
>
>Don't feel bad -- you took him to the vet twice to find out what's wrong.
>
>We had a diabetic cat but he did not have those symptoms. Also, he lost
>a lot of weight fast and drank a ton of water. I would think you'd see
>something like that before you'd see complications of diabetes, but
>sounds like you will find out with the tests tomorrow.
>
>Did the vet take x-rays too? I would check the bones, etc., and check
>for arthritis even though he is pretty young for it. We have a front-end
>wobbly 15 year old with arthritis in his front knee, and an 11 year old
>with arthritis in her spine (but you don't notice it in her movements.)
>
>At any point could your cat have broken a hip and it didn't heal
>properly? Our vet informed us that our 11 year old had a broken hip at
>some point -- probably as a kitten before we found her as a stray. It
>did not heal correctly.
>
>Good luck, don't give up on finding the answer. If the tests come back
>okay, ask for more tests or get another opinion! Internist vets are good
>at diagnosis if you get a written referral to one.
>
>Let us know what you find out,
>
>Rhonda

--
Message posted via CatKB.com
http://www.catkb.com/Uwe/Forums.aspx/cat-health/200701/1

Rhonda
January 24th 07, 09:46 PM
We watched a cat decline and could not find the reason, it was
frustrating. In the end, they were able to find a tumor.

I hope the vet is wrong about your kitty, I really do. Hope your guy has
lots of good years left.

Rhonda

KrazyKatLady via CatKB.com wrote:
> Everything came back negative--the vet said that she's 99% certain that he
> has a malignant tumor, probably in the brain stem or near a vestibular nerve.
> At least I know, and I know that there is nothing that I could have done to
> have prevented this. It just is what it is.

yngver
January 24th 07, 10:36 PM
On Jan 23, 7:49 pm, "KrazyKatLady via CatKB.com" <[email protected]> wrote:
> Everything came back negative--the vet said that she's 99% certain that he
> has a malignant tumor, probably in the brain stem or near a vestibular nerve.
> At least I know, and I know that there is nothing that I could have done to
> have prevented this. It just is what it is.
>
> This isn't just wobbly like arthritis wobbly--I thought that he had arthritis
> too, but I kept observing him and realized that he wasn't stiff after having
> layed down for a while, it wasn't better with heat or worse when it was rainy
> and cold. It was obviously something neurological. I didn't realize until the
> vet pointed it out yesterday that his head tilts to the right side when he
> walks, and we he falls, he also falls to that side. He also almost never sits
> on his rear, probably because he doesn't have enough control over his balance
> to do that. I read for hours on the internet last night, and what I read said
> that when they have a lesion on the brain, they tend to fall towards the side
> where the lesion is located. The doctor said that when she examined him
> yesterday, he was definitely not "painful," so we're going to give him
> prednisone to reduce brain swelling and see if that helps his balance any. I
> know that it's just buying him a little more time, and I will definitely let
> him go when he tells me that it's time. I always promised myself that I would
> never be selfish and let any of them suffer.
>
> Yeah, it's a heartbreak, because this cat is my best friend--all five of them
> are, all in their own different ways. He's a big, silky teddy bear, and has
> the sweetest disposition you could ever imagine. My 14 month old chases him
> all over the place ( I try to prevent this whenever possible) and he has
> never once hissed or shown any aggression towards her. He just looks up at me
> with eyes that seem to say "Can you call off the little semi-bald upright
> walking kitten, please?" LOL...
>
> I guess that all I can do now is look at every day with him as a blessing and
> let him be a furry pig to his heart's content. The doctor said that it would
> be better if he kept his "reserves," because he might eventually need them.
>
> :o) Sharon

I wouldn't be too sure about the vet's diagnosis. Did you also google
Feline Idiopathic Vestibular Disease? This happened to our cat and the
head tilt and wobbliness were the symptoms. It eventually went away but
it took a long time. Our vet couldn't find anything wrong with her
either. Did your vet look for an ear infection?

Good luck--like I said, I hope your vet is wrong about the tumor.
-yngver

KrazyKatLady via CatKB.com
January 25th 07, 01:45 AM
Yep. One of the first things she looked for was an ear infection, but he's
fine. The problem with feline idiopathic vestibular disease in this instance
is that the onset is usually quite sudden (like when humans get an inner ear
virus...) and it usually goes away in a few days, but as you said, it can
sometimes last for months. This has been happening very slowly, over a period
of about three years. She said that it is probably a very slow-growing tumor
on his right side. I wish that it could just be a vestibular problem too, but
this vet's practice is dedicated to cats only, so I'm sure that she knows
what's she's talking about when the symptoms are this pronounced. The only
thing that kind of baffles me is that she didn't take my word for it when I
told her that something was wrong with him several years ago. You know how
people are very "in tune" with their pets, just like they are with their
children. I can tell when any of them is the slightest bit "off." Our
youngest male started acting very out of character one night in 2005--my
husband yelled at him for trying to spray on our laundry sorter, and I knew
right away that there was something seriously wrong. (A) he never went out of
his box, and (B) he was neutered. I immediately called the emergency vet
clinic, and they told me that my instincts were dead on and to bring him in
immediately. He had a urinary tract blockage, and if I had waited until the
next morning to bring him in, his bladder would have ruptured, and he would
have died.


yngver wrote:
>> Everything came back negative--the vet said that she's 99% certain that he
>> has a malignant tumor, probably in the brain stem or near a vestibular nerve.
>[quoted text clipped - 30 lines]
>>
>> :o) Sharon
>
>I wouldn't be too sure about the vet's diagnosis. Did you also google
>Feline Idiopathic Vestibular Disease? This happened to our cat and the
>head tilt and wobbliness were the symptoms. It eventually went away but
>it took a long time. Our vet couldn't find anything wrong with her
>either. Did your vet look for an ear infection?
>
>Good luck--like I said, I hope your vet is wrong about the tumor.
>-yngver

--
Message posted via CatKB.com
http://www.catkb.com/Uwe/Forums.aspx/cat-health/200701/1

yngver
January 25th 07, 05:27 PM
On Jan 24, 7:45 pm, "KrazyKatLady via CatKB.com" <[email protected]> wrote:
> Yep. One of the first things she looked for was an ear infection, but he's
> fine. The problem with feline idiopathic vestibular disease in this instance
> is that the onset is usually quite sudden (like when humans get an inner ear
> virus...) and it usually goes away in a few days, but as you said, it can
> sometimes last for months.

With our cat, it did come on suddenly but it took about a year for her
to completely recover. Even so, she never has been quite the same--she
has never completely regained her earlier sense of balance. She still
once in awhile jumps on something narrow and loses her balance.

This has been happening very slowly, over a period
> of about three years. She said that it is probably a very slow-growing tumor
> on his right side. I wish that it could just be a vestibular problem too, but
> this vet's practice is dedicated to cats only, so I'm sure that she knows
> what's she's talking about when the symptoms are this pronounced.

Our vet runs a cats only clinic too. He never could find anything wrong
with our cat, and he did a lot of tests. It was me who suggested
vestibular syndrome, after doing research on the internet, and he just
said "could be, but it's taking quite a long time to resolve." However,
I think the main reason he didn't pursue it any further is because a)
our cat was slowly getting better and b) there isn't much can be done
about idiopathic vestibular disease anyway. I realize your case is
different because your cat is gradually getting worse.


The only
> thing that kind of baffles me is that she didn't take my word for it when I
> told her that something was wrong with him several years ago.

Well, if she can't find anything wrong now and can't find a tumor, I
guess she wouldn't have found anything back then either, so probably it
wouldn't have made any difference.

The only other word of encouragement I can think to give you is that my
friend was told her sick cat likely had a malignant tumor about four
years ago and that there was nothing could be done but wait until she
was in too much pain and then euthanize. However, once the cat was
given appetite stimulants she began to eat again and perked up. The cat
died a couple months ago of kidney failure, at age 18. No tumor.

Good luck--
yngver

KrazyKatLady via CatKB.com
January 26th 07, 12:42 AM
I know what you mean about vestibular disease. There are 1,001 causes for it
in HUMANS, 9/10 of which they cannot explain or treat (see: benign paroxysmal
positional vertigo, for instance), so why should it be any different for cats?
My sister-in-law had a severe inner ear virus about 10 years ago, and she
said that she still has vertigo from time to time. I myself had (and still
have) a balance disorder caused by fluid retention--luckily I can control it
with something as simple as potassium supplements.

The vet has him on prednisone right now (2x/day), and next week I will reduce
that to 1x/day. After that, she wants to see if there is any improvement
before she tries one pill every other day. If it IS a brain tumor, the
prednisone should reduce the fluid build-up, which is what causes the balance
problems.

This is weird, but I just have the strange "gut" feeling that we will have
him for 2 more years.


yngver wrote:
>> Yep. One of the first things she looked for was an ear infection, but he's
>> fine. The problem with feline idiopathic vestibular disease in this instance
>> is that the onset is usually quite sudden (like when humans get an inner ear
>> virus...) and it usually goes away in a few days, but as you said, it can
>> sometimes last for months.
>
>With our cat, it did come on suddenly but it took about a year for her
>to completely recover. Even so, she never has been quite the same--she
>has never completely regained her earlier sense of balance. She still
>once in awhile jumps on something narrow and loses her balance.
>
> This has been happening very slowly, over a period
>> of about three years. She said that it is probably a very slow-growing tumor
>> on his right side. I wish that it could just be a vestibular problem too, but
>> this vet's practice is dedicated to cats only, so I'm sure that she knows
>> what's she's talking about when the symptoms are this pronounced.
>
>Our vet runs a cats only clinic too. He never could find anything wrong
>with our cat, and he did a lot of tests. It was me who suggested
>vestibular syndrome, after doing research on the internet, and he just
>said "could be, but it's taking quite a long time to resolve." However,
>I think the main reason he didn't pursue it any further is because a)
>our cat was slowly getting better and b) there isn't much can be done
>about idiopathic vestibular disease anyway. I realize your case is
>different because your cat is gradually getting worse.
>
>The only
>> thing that kind of baffles me is that she didn't take my word for it when I
>> told her that something was wrong with him several years ago.
>
>Well, if she can't find anything wrong now and can't find a tumor, I
>guess she wouldn't have found anything back then either, so probably it
>wouldn't have made any difference.
>
>The only other word of encouragement I can think to give you is that my
>friend was told her sick cat likely had a malignant tumor about four
>years ago and that there was nothing could be done but wait until she
>was in too much pain and then euthanize. However, once the cat was
>given appetite stimulants she began to eat again and perked up. The cat
>died a couple months ago of kidney failure, at age 18. No tumor.
>
>Good luck--
>yngver

--
Message posted via CatKB.com
http://www.catkb.com/Uwe/Forums.aspx/cat-health/200701/1

yngver
January 26th 07, 09:47 PM
On Jan 25, 6:42 pm, "KrazyKatLady via CatKB.com" <[email protected]> wrote:
> I know what you mean about vestibular disease. There are 1,001 causes for it
> in HUMANS, 9/10 of which they cannot explain or treat (see: benign paroxysmal
> positional vertigo, for instance), so why should it be any different for cats?
> My sister-in-law had a severe inner ear virus about 10 years ago, and she
> said that she still has vertigo from time to time. I myself had (and still
> have) a balance disorder caused by fluid retention--luckily I can control it
> with something as simple as potassium supplements.
>
> The vet has him on prednisone right now (2x/day), and next week I will reduce
> that to 1x/day. After that, she wants to see if there is any improvement
> before she tries one pill every other day. If it IS a brain tumor, the
> prednisone should reduce the fluid build-up, which is what causes the balance
> problems.
>
> This is weird, but I just have the strange "gut" feeling that we will have
> him for 2 more years.
>
Yes, I have had benign positional vertigo myself. Same thing--came on
suddenly, doctor could find no reason, and it took a long, long time--a
couple of years, actually--for symptoms to gradually go away. But I can
still occasionally suffer sudden vertigo if I turn my head to the left
while lying down. Because I knew I how felt, I recognized some of the
symptoms with our cat.

Our vet prescribed prednisone and antibiotics for our cat too, which is
sometimes done with vestibular syndrome. I don't know whether they made
any difference, but as I said, she was getting better gradually anyway.
I hope in your case the prednisone does help, since it should reduce
any kind of inflammation.
-yngver