Treat a Cat that Can't Move its Hind Legs

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Supporting your cat physically and keeping its spine aligned are two ways to aid a cat that suddenly can't move its legs. Learn more in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: How to Treat an Injured Cat
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Video Transcript

Hi, this is Dr. Greg McDonald. We are talking about first aid in cats, and we wanted to talk a little bit about a syndrome that we sometimes see in your cat that would require you getting him to a veterinarian. But again, taking proper care of your cat on the way to the veterinarian is very important. This is called a sudden loss of rear leg usage, so if your cat all of a sudden starts dragging his back end from behind, it is usually due to two things. One is trauma, where the cat has a broken back or broken pelvis. They’ve been hit by a car or some other trauma, or it can be due to the heart disease that we talked about in depth a little bit earlier. You really want to support the cat. Again if there is going to be a fracture up in this area that you need to protect, it is good and try to get your cat on a board or something like that. Once again, you really need to participate yourself. A good way to do this is to wrap the cat in a towel and then kind of slide the cat over onto a board and maybe even wrap another towel around the board and the cat, which will keep the spine in alignment while you are taking him to the veterinarian. So it protects the animal’s spine as well as protects you from getting bit or scratched by your own cat on the way to the veterinarian. The reason we like to stabilize them that way is movement at the fracture sight can make things worse including severing the spine, and if the spine is severed, you are not going to be able to save that cat. If the back legs are having this problem due to a clot, again it is very important to try to get the cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible because every moment that goes by, the legs are not getting adequate supply of oxygen, and muscle can actually die from that.

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