Neurological Problems? Questions about cost & thoughts - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-15-2008, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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Neurological Problems? Questions about cost & thoughts

Hi, I wrote earlier about how my 5 month old kitten (at the time- he's now 6 months old) was having problems w/ his back legs. I took him to the vet the day after Thanksgiving & when the vet stretched out one of his legs, he cried out but the other side seemed fine (he was not vocal on that side). They did xrays but everything was fine but when they stretched that same leg out again, he cried so they thought it was a strain/trauma, gave him a steroid shot & said he should be better in 2 weeks. Well he didn't really get better. Sometimes he seemed to walk a little better, but he was obviously having balancing problems. He can't jump on chairs which was never a problem before, he falls over getting out of his litter box, even if he scratches on one side & is leaning too much on the other, he'll fall over. He's always falling over. I have been unemployed for the last week & a half & have been able to monitor him much better. Before that, my roommate was unemployed so she was watching him. He seemed to be depressed & sometimes his eyes look glassy, like he has no soul or no will to live, then at other times I see that playful kitty look & he'll sometimes play a little w/ me though it's just putting his paw on the piece of string (he doesn't seem interested in any of his other toys anymore, doesn't run around like he used to, etc).

About 4 days ago he had a pee accident in the kitchen so I started to worry but thought maybe it was just a freak thing. But now he hardly goes to his food dish & I have to bring him his food in my hands & get a small glass of water & bring it to him. He'll eat like he's starving & drink like he's soooo thirsty. He hasn't had another accident again but he hasn't poo-ed in at least 3 days (sorry, I don't know how else to phrase that). He's also been scratching his ears & face like crazy & the inside of both ears now are red (not bleeding yet but I wouldn't be surprised if it does start soon due to his incessant, vicious scratching). The vet couldn't give me any information about that. He checked for ear mites, none. He thinks Niko might have some form of epilepsy or another neurological disease & gave me a referral for a Neurologist for Niko. The tech also said it might be that Niko has reached the peak of his development & I might have a "special kitty" but the doctor warned me that I might need to feed him all the time b/c they're not sure if he knows or remembers where his food/water dish is. His front paws work well but the back kind of drags when you put him down & he has slight tremors. The vet said that the reason for this, as well as the reason he wasn't poo-ed yet & had the pee accident on the kitchen floor is b/c he cannot feel the bottom half of his body & doesn't know that he has to go until he HAS TO go. The vet couldn't give me any answers about Niko's itching ears or how it might be connected w/ a neurological problem. They said a consultation usually costs around $80+ & then it depends upon what the Neurologist might need to do to further determine what is wrong with him. I'm unemployed & the little room I have on my credit card is what I have available to pay for a visit (unless they have payment plans). The tech mentioned that they might have to do an MRI. If that's the case, does anyone have any idea what that would cost? I'm hoping not more than $600 but I almost doubt it, thinking it can run up into the thousands of dollars.

I'm sad b/c I hoped that when I took Niko to the vet this time they could help me w/ at least one of the problems if not have the answer & cure for all of them. Niko is a shelter cat & they think it's something he was born with. I'm sadder because the reason I got Niko was b/c I lost my cat of 10 years (Lucy) to DKA/ kidney problems & she died on September 23rd of this year. I cannot lose Niko too. I don't care if he's a "special kitty" as the tech put it, I will do everything I have to do to make his life as comfortable & happy as possible but have no idea on what type of life expectancy he has, I guess I have to just find out from the neurologist what exactly is wrong with him. They said he doesn't seem like he's in pain & he seems like a happy kitty & that b/c he's so young, that he might not remember what it was like to be able to run around like he did & he's used to his condition of falling over & not being able to walk right. In that case, I'd be kind of happy b/c to him, he'd be living a "normal" life. They told me to just make sure he's not losing weight & that I might have to feed him & give him water all the time or he might die of starvation. I might have a job by the end of this week or early next week (hopefully) but then I'll be limited to how often I can feed him. The tech suggested that I might think about buying a big kennel or leaving him in a smaller room w/ his litter box & food so he "knows" where it is. But that takes away so much of a cats freedom, although recently he hasn't been moving from his "new spot" on the computer desk between the monitor & keyboard. Maybe I just need to get multiple dishes & put one where it's easily accessible for him along w/ others that are in areas that he does wander to every now & then. He is a beautiful kitten & I love him so much. I just wish he was a happy healthy kitty, running around, jumping high to try to get the piece of string or his fish on the fishing pole, or he'd carry his mouse around w/ him like he used to. All he seems to want to do is sleep or clean himself & lay down.

Sorry I'm rambling, there's just so much information that I don't know is pertinent or not to his situation, but thought maybe someone has gone through this & has some experience w/ this. Lucy was never sick. I took her to the vet once for ringworm on her head when she was a kitten & then her yearly checkups & shots, until September. I have no experience w/ a sick cat other than Lucy in her final 2 days & Niko. I'm thinking that maybe his scratching has something to do w/ allergens, maybe dust mites or something since he used to sleep under the bed all the time when he first started "acting weird" so tomorrow I'm going to vacuum the whole house, under the beds & furniture. I also want to give him a bath but it snowed again in Colorado & is so cold that I don't want him to catch a cold. The tech also warned me about getting water in his ears b/c it might cause an infection. So if I can't give him a full bath, maybe I'll just try to wipe him down tomorrow after I vacuum. I'll call the Neurologist tomorrow & see when they can schedule an appointment for us.

Thanks for taking the time to read all of this & I also want to thank anyone that has any advice for me. I need it.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-15-2008, 09:12 PM
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Re: Neurological Problems? Questions about cost & thoughts

Ahhh! Poor Niko, it sounds like he's really having a tough time of it. And I commend you for being so dedicated to him.

It's really hard to predict what this may cost you, there are just so many variables. But here are some links to programs that may help you out. If you're in the US, the most likely is Care Credit, it's a low interest loan program. ... inarybills

If your credit history has been good, the bank that issued your card may also up your limit.

I hope the neurologist can get to the bottom of this for you and Niko.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-15-2008, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Neurological Problems? Questions about cost & thoughts

Thank you. I'm going to look through the sites now. He's all cozy right now, so cute. I'm going to make sure he gets what he needs & I feel so much better now knowing that there are places that may be able to help me out if I need it.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-16-2008, 02:44 PM
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Re: Neurological Problems? Questions about cost & thoughts

You are an excellent mommy, first off.

I worked in rescue for years and saw some kittens pass on. Sometimes there is absolutely nothing you can do.

Can you keep him in a bedroom? More space than a kennel, but less than an apartment. Put a few food and water dishes around. If you feed/water him in the morning and after work and before bed, he should be fine. If he looks sickly you can look at alternatives like pedialite, etc. Put litter boxes all around too.

I know a dog that has no use of his back half of his body, and he's one of the happiest dogs I've seen. He has this:

His legs drag though (it doesn't look like the dogs in the pics do.) I'm sure there is something for cats...

Also, there are diapers: ... -pets.html

You'd need to clean Niko, but that would be less hassle for you and him in the long run probably...

Keep us posted!
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-16-2008, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Neurological Problems? Questions about cost & thoughts

Thank you Furmew. Niko is doing better, he finally poo-ed today. I was so happy then it made me think it was kind of weird how something like that could make my day. He hasn't had anymore accidents since that one time I had mentioned. He's now going to his dish for food although sometimes I do baby him a lot & bring the food to him. He's been playing a little bit more now & while I wait for our appointment, I'm doing as much as I can. I did vacuum the entire apartment & under the beds, even though he doesn't go under them anymore. Since it's still cold here, I decided I wouldn't give him a full bath but would wipe his entire body down w/ a damp wash cloth. I included the insides of his ears & maybe that did the trick for at least that part of his list of issues b/c he hasn't scratched his ears at all since I did that this morning. Maybe it was just allergies, dust mites, or whatever. He was a little resistant at first but then seemed to like it, maybe it was soothing. He has been purring a lot which also makes me happy.

I am still very concerned about his back legs & balancing issues but I will have to wait until we see the Neurologist to find out what the problem is. I do love him a lot & have heard a lot of people tell me that they wouldn't take him to the Neurologist or would "get rid" of him, but he's my baby & I'm going to do whatever I need to do to make sure he has a wonderful life. Hopefully whatever is wrong w/ him is not life threatening, I did check out that website you included in your post. If most people wouldn't take care of a kitten or cat (or any animal) that wasn't perfect & healthy, then I'm glad that I was the one that found him first b/c though he is not a human life, he is still a life, a very precious life that I have been entrusted with. I cannot imagine what his life could be like if he was abandoned by another b/c of his issues. I'm watching him now, curled up in a ball, shielding his eyes from the light & he is just the cutest thing imaginable.

I'm not going to kennel him, I think that animals need their freedom & wouldn't dare rob him of that. He likes my room anyway b/c it's the warmest in my apartment & I have made it easier to get onto his favorite spot. If I need to build him stairs w/ carpet on it so he can get up on the bed & the couch, I'll do that too. Make it Niko-accessible. But for now he seems content w/ his one spot which I know can change at any time. The job that I may get soon is at my apartment complex so that would be great b/c I would have an hour lunch & could just walk home to keep him company & make sure that he has everything that he needs. I have already implemented the multiple food & water dishes & have thought about extra litter boxes like you said. I just haven't done that yet since he's been better about going to his litter box. If I notice that he is doing worse, then I will do that as well. He's nudging his face into my hands now so I'm going to rub his head & give him more love.

Thanks again!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-17-2008, 12:50 PM
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Re: Neurological Problems? Questions about cost & thoughts

I'm very happy for you and Niko. Your love is probably a key factor in his improvement and strong will to be a loving kitten.
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