Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Neurological or Congenital?

Many of you know that our cat, Oberon (the puddle who adores coffee), has been having some difficulty with his back legs over the last couple months. These problems first became noticeable around the time of our move and began to worsen over the last few weeks that we became quite worried. I was able to get a recommendation for a vet from a friend and we made an appointment.

The Drama

First off, I ADORE this cat. I adore BOTH my cats, but Oberon (aka Boopy, Boo, Oobers, Obi-Wan Kenobi cat, Obie, etc) has a special place in my heart. Perhaps because he has such an attitude, I dunno. He's just a major love bug and cuddler and ... anyway! We have been quite worried that something HORRID was going to turn out to be wrong with him AND we had a very bad experience with our last vet, so we arrived at the office with no little amount of trepidation.

When we first spoke with the vet (who we love and adore, incidentally), it was so NOT encouraging that I ended up sobbing in the treatment room the entire time they had him in back getting his labs done.

We ended up being at the office for over 2 hours and Boo had a shot, an exam, xrays, AND blood work. The doc showed us the xrays and pointed out that, encouragingly, there were no lesions or anything that on first look was at all bad or scary. He did have some small kidney stones forming, but that's easily treated by changing his food a little. We told them about his hypothyroidism diagnosed by our old vet and they were VERY intrigued as apparently that is a rarity in felines. Knowing that the old vet had really done a number on Obie, the new one went out of her way to pet and coo at him as well as inform us every step of the way what they were doing and why.

The Diagnosis: An ongoing drama!

After all the results from all those tests came in, here is the breakdown.

1) He has an extreme form of hyperesthesia, which basically means he is hypersensitive. This is why he doesn't always like to be petted on his back and why during petting sessions he may suddenly snip at the person who had him in full blown purr just moments earlier. The hyperesthesia may be caused or worsened by whatever is causing the weakness in his back legs

2) The weakness in his legs and hindquarters could be caused by a neurological problem that would require an MRI to further isolate/diagnose.

3) His blood work came back GREAT (even his thyroid levels were RIGHT ON, which causes much curiosity on my part as to the competence of that other vet. grrrr), so that took away the worries that there WAS cancer or something hiding in his system.

4) The weakness could be caused by a problem that the radiologist found on his xrays. Our vet did not see the issue at first look, but when the radiologist looked them over at her request, it appears that Obie has either a congenital or injury-related problem with his pelvis that could be cutting off the nerves and reducing blood flow to his legs. Whether this, in combination with the neurological/hyperesthesia has all combined to make the problem worse or is the problem all by itself has yet to be determined.

Next Steps?

So, we will be dropping him off on Friday morning to be put to sleep (NOT permanently!) and have a full xray panel completed. Yesterday they gave him a shot to calm him down so they could do basic spinal films, but they will need to put him in some positions that require he be asleep so no one gets bit, scratched, broken, etc. The results of those films will tell us what direction to go next. If the pelvis truly isn't an issue, we've ruled out all but the neurological causation and could then move on to an MRI or simply trying a few different treatment options and isolate that way.

Please keep him in your prayers. We love our kitty! He is family! I'll keep ya'll updated as we know more.....


Queenie said...

I lit a candle for the boobers.'s probably because of the inbreeding thing. Just sayin'. Not that it means anything.

Xboyd said...

Don't all cats have some form of hyperesthesia? I know my cat does? And people, too! Just look at all those kids with autism out there......

I'd go with the pelvis theory. I'm reminded of how weirdly he goes up and down stairs...which definitely takes 'the pelvic moves'!

Hey, and what about the $$$$$$$$? Is A's job paying for that?

LadyBoyd said...

The vet said that not all cats have hyperesthesia although most do have it in some sense. HOWEVER, Oberon's is hyper hyper hyper. Instead of just twitching his back a little or saying "stop please" his whole hindquarters will sort of shudder....

Regarding the costs... well, they're much lower than we had feared and so far God has popped in with some sort of cash at all the right times. We just got our first GI bill deposit this morning, for instance, and his new xrays are tomorrow. :-)

Anonymous said...

Will be praying for Obie and you guys. I know it's scary.

Lub ya all!