Probability for recovery after cat disc surgery?

I've already done the MRI and will get the result tomorrow. I think it will probably be a ruptured disc, since she got her symptoms after a fall. What is the probability for recovery? She is now 10 years old, not that old for a cat, but not super young either.

  • Vetinfo

    By: Erika Raines El Segundo, CA

    Replied on 04/19/2011

    The probability for a good recovery after spinal surgery in a cat depends on many factors. One of the most important is how her symptoms are right now. If she is currently able to walk and continent, there is a good chance that she will be able to walk and continent after recovery. Often times animals that undergo spinal surgeries like these will be incontinent and unable to walk for several days after the surgery due to the spinal cord inflammation that the surgery causes. However, if they were continent and able to walk before surgery, these things usually return soon after the initial setback. Conditions requiring back surgery are much more common in dogs than in cats. Even dogs that have lost mobility in their hind legs and pain sensation in their back toes will many times return to being able to walk if the surgery is done within 24 hours of when they lost pain sensation. A major factor in the recovery process is post-surgical care.Part of this involves taking care of the surgical site. The site should be iced for 15 minutes 2 to 3 times daily for 2 to 3 weeks after surgery, and it should be kept clean and dry to speed healing. The other important thing is helping to retrain the nerves that were affected by the injury and the surgery. Physical therapy can be a big part of this. Your veterinarian should be able to provide you with physical therapy exercises to begin with your cat shortly after the surgery takes place. These are not usually difficult exercises. They usually involve taking affected legs through a bicycling motion and assisting your cat to stand after the surgery for short periods of time. These exercises help the nerves to relearn their jobs. Another big help in any disease involving nerves is acupuncture. Acupuncture can be very effective at stimulating nerves to help speed recovery times. If this service is not available at your clinic, your veterinarian should be able to refer you to a local veterinary acupuncturist.

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