Why Your Cat Might Be Limping On It’s Front Or Back Leg And What To Do To Help
Contrary to the popular saying, cats don’t have nine lives. And they don’t always land on their feet. In fact, they are far more vulnerable than you might think.
What’s more, they can suffer from a variety of health problems similar to the ones affecting human beings. One such problem is limping.
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As kitties get older their bodies grow weaker and their overall health worsens. Apart from the obvious condition of the cat’s skin and fur coat, one of the most common signs of old age in feline furballs is limping.
Limping, however, can occur in all life stages, regardless of the cat’s breed, and it’s usually due to injury or discomfort.
There are a great number of reasons that could be causing it. Some of them are quite harmless and don’t require emergency vet care. Others, however, can be life-threatening.
It’s absolutely possible for young and seemingly healthy cats to start limping on either a front or back leg out of the blue. The symptoms can be persistent, chronic, or occurring only once in a while.
The most common causes are physical injuries, infections and underlying health problems like arthritis or joint dislocation. Your cat’s limping could also be accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Unwillingness to sit, jump, walk or use the affected limb in any way
- Shifting the body weight back and forth between the legs
- Lumps with swollen or wounded spots
- Aggressive behavior when touched or approached
- Fever and disorientation
Whether your pet is a kitten, an adult or a senior, it’s crucial to not neglect the problem and to not wait for the cat to get better on its own.
Reasons For Why Your Cat Might Be Limping
A variety of infections, both internal and external, can make your cat limp. Abscess, calicivirus, lyme disease, bacterial infections from wounds and other similar conditions can easily cause limping.
If there’s a wound on your pet’s paws, legs or hips, chances are the pain is the origin of the problem. On the other hand, in some rare cases disorders like calicivirus, which cause infections and inflammation, can also lead to limping in the cat’s front or hind legs.
There’s a plethora of injuries resulting in a limp – not just a sprain from a bad landing. Spinal cord injuries, bone fractures, torn cartilages or muscles, torn claws, ingrown claws, nerve injuries in the legs, cuts, burns, insect bites, ligament ruptures… the list with possible culprits goes on and on.
Due to the fact that cats use meows, yowls, chirps and other inhuman-like sounds, your pet won’t be able to tell you if it injured itself while you weren’t looking at it. As such, unless the injury has left a visible mark, the limping itself will be the only telltale sign that there’s something wrong with your fluffy friend.
Sometimes something as simple as lack of proper grooming and overgrown claws could be the reason behind your cat’s inability to walk properly. However, there’s also the chance of an undiagnosed health issue.
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The most common physical health-based disorders causing limping in cats are arthritis, hip and joint dysplasia, hemophilia, cancers, patellar luxation and plasma cell pododermatitis. Regardless of your cat’s age, it’s possible for your pet to have an underlying undiagnosed health problem.
Treatment And Cures: What To Do When Your Cat Is Limping?
As mentioned above, there are some causes of limping, which don’t require emergency or expensive medical care. Sprains, mild insect bites or overgrown claws can be dealt with easily.
A huge mistake many pet parents make is waiting to see if the cat gets better on its own.
Giving your pet a day or two to check if the limping will disappear is alright, but waiting any longer can actually worsen any undiagnosed conditions, inflammations and injuries. If you can’t see any visible wounds and you don’t know why your cat is limping, call your vet.
Heading over to the vet’s office for an emergency check-up is the best way to locate the problem. If you’re trying to save money from vet trips, neglecting a limp isn’t your best option. Worst case scenario – your pet has an underlying health disorder and the longer you wait, the pricier its treatment will become.
The vet will carry out physical exams, including an X-ray, to check for fractures, and may even opt for blood and stool tests to check for internal infections.
There is no ultimate treatment and no home-made remedies as the causes of limping vary. You can opt for mild cat-safe pain reliefs before going to the vet. Another thing you can do is provide rest and comfort in a stress-free environment for your pet. However, the real treatment plan will depend on the vet’s diagnosis.
In some cases it’s possible for your pet to get hospitalized or to require cage rest. Either way, you must follow the doctor’s instructions thoroughly in order to help with the recovery process.