limping

by Ann
(Pennsylvania)

I had my two cats neutered on Tuesday, brought them home on Wednesday. They are brothers from the same litter. The one cat who had an undescended testicle had to have his abdomen cut open to be neutered. And he is doing fine...his brother who just had to be snipped came home limping on his front paw. They both had rabies and distemper shots. I called the vet and was told that the cat that is now limping on his front paw and is actually hopping on 3 legs did not suffer any trauma while he was there. But what they did tell me is that he caught a virus...and it is affecting his joints and they put him on Amoxicillin and told me that he will be fine after the 7 day regimen. Have you heard of this???


Dear Ann,

There is a cat virus called the Calici virus which most often causes upper respiratory signs, but which also can cause a temporary arthritis. It can occur in any leg and also can be present in one leg and then recur in a different leg.

This virus is most often diagnosed by ruling out other conditions and we are most often not positive if a cat has the Calici virus or not.

Almost all upper respiratory viruses are caused by either the calici virus or the herpes virus. In general, if the eyes of a cat are involved, it is the herpes virus and if the mouth is involved, it is the calici virus.

However it is quite possible to have just arthritic signs. Most often, there is a fever present as well if the Calici virus is responsible for the arthritis.

Since it is a virus, however, antibiotics do not provide a cure, although they may be prescribed for secondary bacterial infections, particularly in cases that involve the upper respiratory system. In the case of arthritis involvement, the virus generally runs its course, leaving no ill effects afterward.

If I understand correctly, it is a front leg that your kitty is not using. The rabies vaccine should have been given in the right rear leg and the distemper in the right front shoulder area. It is possible vaccines are involved if either of those limbs is the one that is affected, although that depends on whether the vet indeed gave those vaccines in the designated areas.

It is also possible that your cat was upset and could have grabbed on to part of the carrier or the cage he was in while in the hospital or even the edge of a table as they were attending to him and could have hurt his leg in that manner.

In all of these cases, it would be most likely that the leg will heal and there will be no after effects. However, if he is not doing better soon, by all means, return to your vet or if you are not happy there, seek a second opinion.

Thank you for writing,

Best,
Dr. Neely


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