The Norman Transcript

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August 1, 2013

Neck vertebrae may be cause of cat’s limp

NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox:

Our 6-year-old male cat has been limping on his left front leg. Not all the time, but enough that it is a concern.

He has a good diet — no grains and enough fish oil — and he’s healthy and frisky. We’ve taken him to the vet, who took X-rays. We were told there was nothing wrong with his bones and there were no signs of arthritis. Thinking there might be some muscle strain or soreness, the vet suggested applying a heating pad, but that hasn’t made a difference.

Any suggestions? Should we get a second opinion from another vet?

— B.B., Washington, D.C.

Dear B.B.:

Since there is no evidence of arthritis or other joint abnormality and presuming there is no infection in one or more of the claw-beds, I would adopt a wait-and-see approach.

A small heating pad or wrap applied while he’s on your lap or lying beside you and very gentle, exploratory massages (as described in my book “The Healing Touch For Cats”) may be of benefit. I would discourage him from using a vertical scratching post — place it on the floor horizontally or keep it out of reach for a while.

Also avoid any vigorous interactive games. A pinch of powdered turmeric, increasing up to half-teaspoon daily, may prove beneficial. If he shows no signs of improvement after six to eight weeks, seek a second opinion and have his neck vertebrae examined.

Dear Dr. Fox:

Your column regarding pets and euthanasia was very touching — so much so that I felt compelled to write to you.

In July 2011, I had to put to sleep my beloved 13-year-old Shih Tzu, Munchkin. She had severe cardiac issues and was completely blind. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.

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