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Discussion Starter #1
My little girl Fuzzy (a.k.a. Kiki, Silver, Her Royal Hiney) is 9-1/2 years old and has ALWAYS favored her right front paw because of a bad declawing she had had as a kitten before we got her. She's been really stiff for the past several months, she's kinda jerky when she walks and she keeps her back arched up a bit when walking. She has also not been able to jump nearly as well as usual, and she's even fallen a few times when trying to jump onto something short like an office chair. I'm thinking either due to pain or weakness.

I took her to the vet, who did a very comprehensive physical exam and blood testing and a set of xrays of the full body. The blood tests showed that her kidney function was one point higher than the normal, but we couldn't get a urine sample from her. I've taken her in again to try for a urine sample, and they just can't get one from her. The xrays showed that her spine, hips, shoulders, look great, but she has calcification of her knee cartilage, possible very mild arthritis in her lumbar spine, and there are small bone fragments in her toes from when she was declawed as a kitty.

So... we'll keep trying for a urine sample to get a better idea of her kidney function. I have a couple of questions, though, maybe someone who has dealt with this before can give me an opinion... Should she undergo more surgery to remove the bone fragments in her toes or just leave them alone, since she's been that way virtually her entire life? With possible kidney problems, would undergoing surgery be more risky? The vet said we could try an antiinflammatory to see if that would help her stiffness and paw tenderness, but I'm concerned about what that might do to her kidney and liver functions. Are there ANY antiinflammatories that are considered safe for cats?

My little girl is, and always will be, my baby and I only want what is best for her. I'll do whatever it takes to make sure she's healthy and pain-free. I'm just not sure where to go from here with the paw/kidney/possible arthritis problems. It just kills me to see her stiff and limping around, but I don't want to put her through surgery or give her medication that could possibly do more harm than good.

Thanks for listening, I'm worried about her and I'm not sure where to go from here.



Thanks,
Andi
 

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That's a tough one because it's one of those potentially " danged if you do, danged if you don't" situations. A one point elevation of a kidney value isn't anything to get too worried about, esp. if the value in question is BUN which can elevate for non-kidney issues. Creatinine is the value that is more specific to kidney function, but even then a one point elevation is no big deal.

There are measures that can be taken to protect the kidneys during general anesthesia, so I wouldn't let a one point kidney elevation prevent me from allowing necessary surgery on one of my cats. In fact, I did have surgery performed on my eldest cat, Billy, who is both CRF and hyperT. Again, it was a matter of weighing the potential risks against the benefits.

In your cat's case, I would recommend consulting with an orthopedic veterinary specialist so that you can get a realistic prognosis in terms of reducing or eliminating Silver's foot pain. If there's a good chance for a positive outcome, that could give her another decade of pain-free life, and that's a HUGE benefit.

I would NOT give any anti-inflammatory to a cat, but I WOULD give a joint supplement with glucosamine and chondroitin daily.

Surgical decisions are never easy to make, and they are never risk-free. You are wise to be considering all of the options for your girl.

Laurie
 

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Thanks Laurie for taking the time to answer my questions :)

I forgot to mention that I do give her treats that have glucosamine and chondroitin in them daily. I tried giving her salmon oil, but she wouldn't touch the stuff. I'm very slowly getting her to tolerate Missing Link in her daily food, which should help add some omega-3 to her diet.

I have had horrible knee and foot problems since I was 16 years old. I've had multiple surgeries myself, so I think that's why it just kills me to see her act like she's having a hard time... I've been there myself many times!!!

I'll keep trying for a urine sample, and try to find an orthopedic vet around here who would be willing to take a look at her x-rays. Our vet did send the x-rays out to a veterinary radiologist, who concurred with what my vet told me. I just want my Fuzzy to be happy, she is such a huge part of my life.

Andi
 

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If you do decide on surgery for Silver, I strongly recommend you find a reputable orthopedic surgeon to perform it. General practice vets are fine for general surgeries like spays and neuters, but you don't want to risk making things worse for Silver instead of better. Get the right surgeon for the job, and her odds for a successful outcome will greatly improve.

Laurie
 

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Oh, yes... I've been "surgeon shopping" for myself before, and have literally walked out of three surgeon's offices without looking back, ones who wanted to chop up my knee without being able to realistically tell me what recovery/rehab would be like, not able to answer my basic questions, or who wanted to do the entirely wrong surgery to begin with. Scary stuff! Finally found a wonderful surgeon who I trust completely, but it took a while.

I'll call around and see if I can find an orthopedic surgeon for Fuzzy, I only want the best for her, and that's what she'll get :)

Andi
 

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Glad to hear it! After having had several orthopedic surgeries go wrong after being performed by general practice vets, I am now a LOT more discriminating about who does what to my animals. Anything other than very basic surgical procedures now get performed by a veterinary surgeon 120+ miles away.

I'm finding myself feeling rather protective of your Silver since she looks so much like my Lion King, Noddy.

Laurie
 

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