Cat back injuries can take place due to either environmental factors or internal health concerns. Felines in general are playful in nature, and often succumb to injuries during play. Injury to the spinal cord can occur as a result of fractures, disc disease or due to spinal injury. In order to determine the treatment option suited to the cat, it's necessary to identify the type of back injury present during diagnosis. Pet owners should also make note of the symptoms that accompany back injuries to better enable the vet establish a correct diagnosis.
Common Types of Cat Back Injuries Include:
- Spinal cord fracture
- Intervertebral disc disease
- Spinal trauma
Spinal Cord Fracture
Spinal cord fractures are common in pets that have a fall, or cats that are involved in an accident. Certain underlying health conditions may also cause spinal cord fracture. Pets suffering from a fracture experience severe pain and discomfort. They may be unable to walk and may require emergency medical care if the fracture is accompanied by bleeding.
Intervertebral Disc Disease
This condition develops when certain discs present in the spinal cord begin to deteriorate. Since the condition can develop over a few months, pet owners should monitor cats that exhibit symptoms such as lameness or difficulty walking, pain in the back and reduced playfulness.
Spinal trauma often develops if the cat's been in an accident or if he's suffering from internal tumors that block proper blood flow. The type of symptoms present vary according to the cause of the trauma. Most cats exhibit symptoms of back pain, inability to stand or walk and lethargy.
Diagnosis of Cat Back Injury
The vet will perform a thorough physical examination of the cat and conduct X-rays to obtain radiographs of the spinal column. He'll perform other tests to rule out spinal swelling and neurological imbalance. Although MRI tests aren't necessary for all cats, the vet may conduct an MRI to detect the severity of spinal trauma present.
Treatment of Cat Back Injury
If the diagnosis reveals spinal cord fracture, the cat will undergo surgery when stable, and the spinal cord will be aligned together with screws and casts to repair damage. Cats severely debilitated by the condition require supportive care such as IV fluids and oxygen therapy, to help them survive. Intervertebral disc disease is also managed with surgical intervention. In addition to surgical procedures the vet will prescribe medications such as corticosteroids or anti-inflammatory medicines, to reduce swelling and internal inflammation. Cats suffering from spinal damage require plenty of attention and home care to help them recuperate.
Home Care and Treatment
Cats suffering from spinal cord fractures may be unable to move soon after surgery. Pet owners should administer prescribed medication on time and learn techniques to express the bladder to help cats urinate. Since the cat requires rest and limited movement to help the spinal cord heal, it's necessary to confine them in a limited space and keep others pets away.
Pet owners have to commit both time and money to help pets suffering from a back injury. Follow up vet checks are necessary to determine response to treatment. It's also important to learn techniques to manage cats with physical therapy post-surgery.