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Healthy (?) cat spine more prominent & losing hair...?

friarted
November 5th, 2008, 06:07 AM
My cat seems healthy, but I've noticed that his spine seems very bony and prominent. I have a lot of experience with cats and I've never seen a cat with such a pronounced spine. He weighs almost twelve pounds so he's fat and healthy, so it seems strange that his spine should protrude so much. I've worked with cats that were severely underweight and starving and they didn't seem to have a spine like this. It's been getting progressively stiffer and it cricks and creaks when he moves in certain ways. He also has been losing fur on his back. It starts off in small patches but now it's of a portion as big as my hand. I thought it might be excess shedding because it falls out very easily, but the color and structure of his hair is changing in these areas. Instead of being black, I am now noticing a lot of white bristly whisker-like hairs that I've never noticed before. He doesn't have these stiff bristly dead-looking hairs anywhere else. I've shaved his back and checked him carefully for mites but have found nothing. He seems to be losing flexibility and I don't notice him taking full-body stretches anymore. He's also subject to strange fits where he hisses and growls and becomes terrified for no apparent reason. My veterinarian has examined him and he said as long as the cat's body weight is adequate not to worry. I don't know how he can tell me not to worry. I've never seen a spine like this. I'm not sure if the two are connected but I'd greatly appreciate anything you could tell me.

badger
November 5th, 2008, 06:48 AM
How old is he? I've known cats who get bonier as they get older. But, together with his creakyness and his 'fits', it would be a good idea to have him examined by another vet and get some bloodwork done.
Also, that skin condition definitely needs checking out.
Is he eating well? His nutrition will also be reflected in his coat.

Love4himies
November 5th, 2008, 07:03 AM
Have you had a full blood panel done on him?

I wonder if he is loosing muscle mass? My senior Puddles was loosing muscle mass and her fur was thinning and greasy a year ago. When I would pat her I could feel her spine, she seemed very sickly. No problems with her bloodwork except for a slightly elevated blood calcium level. I changed her food to Wellness, grainfree and she developed her muscle mass back and her fur has thickened back up and is beautiful again. She is a much happier cat now.

chico2
November 5th, 2008, 08:26 AM
My Rocky too had a protruding spine and loss of muscle mass+hyper behaviour,after a blood-panel he was diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism.
I would go for a second opinion,weight alone cannot tell if a cat is ok,he needs a blood-panel done.:cat:
I should mention,he is now doing well,has put on weight and is his regular self,He is 13 yrs old.

Jim Hall
November 5th, 2008, 09:44 AM
strange fits where he hisses and growls and becomes terrified for no apparent reason. My veterinarian has examined him and he said as long as the cat's body weight is adequate not to worry

and your vet says not to worry? huh? i ever had a "vet" like that i would ask for my $$ back amd fond another one in about 2 seconds

kit is in pain when she hisses and acts rerrified thats because she probaly is in pain

please understand, this is not a slam on you friar but please find another vet, anyone aroung friar who can reccommend some one?

ownedbycats
November 5th, 2008, 10:51 AM
The seeming good health, prominent spine, and hair loss all sound like my cat Dusker:rip:. She seemed really healthy at first, full of energy, glossier coat, we merely thought she was getting more to eat (we changed her food) and then she started to lose weight, her bones all started to be easier to feel and her coat changed to dull and rough and started to fall out. When we took her to the vet, they diagnosed her as having a hyperthyroid. We had to give her pills daily, but she lived for another year and a half, and it wasn't the hyperthyroidism that killed her. (She was 14, so age didn't help).

friarted
November 13th, 2008, 03:50 AM
To answer some of the questions-
The cat belongs to my LD GF. She doesn't have Internet access, so I post for her & often forget to explain this. The rest below is her responses-

He is five years old, not an old cat at all. He seems reasonably active for an indoor cat. He weighs 12 lbs. and seems fat but when I feel him, his bones feel very prominent. I haven't felt bones like that even on malnourished cats.

He had a full blood panel done late last year and was given a clean bill of health. His had similar hair issues at the time. Also, his fits which were also an issue at the time have been very sporadic. He will often go months without having any problems at all, then will have stretches where he'll have one daily.


(FT comments: We attributed it to a form of epilepsy and did find ways to control it at times through medication and behavior. He doesn't seem to be in pain at all. But we'll follow up on it.

More later- Sorry it took a while to get back to the thread...)

friarted
November 19th, 2008, 09:29 PM
I appreciate everyone's response, but please re-read this as it may clarify things better. I wrote the original from an outline of notes my friend gave me & misstated some needed info.


Posted for my LD friend who does not have Internet access...

My five-year old cat seems healthy, but I've noticed that his spine seems very bony and prominent. I have a lot of experience with cats and I've never seen a cat with such a pronounced spine. He weighs ten to twelve pounds and is fat, so it seems strange that his spine should protrude so much. I've worked with cats that were severely underweight and starving and they didn't seem to have a spine like this. He also has been losing fur on his back. It started falling out in small patches but now it's an area as big as my hand. I thought it might be excess shedding because it falls out very easily, but the color and structure of his hair is changing in these areas. Instead of being black, I am now noticing a lot of white bristly whisker-like hairs that I've never noticed before. He doesn't have these stiff bristly dead-looking hairs anywhere else. I've shaved his back and checked him carefully for mites but have found nothing. He seems to be losing flexibility and I don't notice him taking full-body stretches anymore. His back cricks and creaks when he moves in certain ways.

Over the years, he has also been subject to strange fits where he hisses and growls and becomes terrified for no apparent reason. We attributed this to a kind of epilepsy or maybe trauma from before I found him. (He walked into my house one day & made himself at home.) This has sometimes seemed to improve with medication and even a teeth-cleaning. But it still occurs occasionally.

My veterinarian has examined him and he said as long as the cat's body weight is adequate not to worry. I don't know how he can tell me not to worry. I've never seen a spine like this. I'm not sure if the spine, the hair loss and the fits are connected but I'd greatly appreciate anything you could tell me.

He has had full blood work done and everything was fine. Also, early in the summer, he had a urinary blockage due to a magnesium imbalance in his diet. However, that was remedied with medication and diet changes, and he's doing fine & shows no effects from that.

I'm on a limited income, so I can't afford a lot of veterinary treatment. Thus, I'm seeking advice here.

badger
November 20th, 2008, 12:50 AM
I think the best place your friend could put her money is probably on a basic blood panel. It wouldn't tell her everything but if it was normal, it would go a long way to telling her that the cat isn't fading. I just don't see any other way.

friarted
November 24th, 2008, 01:07 AM
The GF says~

Why is everyone telling me to take this cat to a vet? If I wanted that advice I wouldn't have even bothered posting on line. My whole purpose here was to find out what his condition might besince the vets that have seen him can't tell me what is wrong. It was very clearly stated I haven't got the money & resources to keep taking him to the vet. When I took him to the vet a few months ago, he did have a full blood panel done. Nothing showed up in the blood panel or the mite test. Unless I know the direction to look in, it would be a waste of time and money, not to mention traumatizing a very neurotic cat. In the end, I will still have a cat with a spine like a Klingon. If anyone has any constructive ideas, I will greatly appreciate hearing them.

clm
November 24th, 2008, 06:41 AM
The GF says~

Why is everyone telling me to take this cat to a vet? If I wanted that advice I wouldn't have even bothered posting on line. My whole purpose here was to find out what his condition might besince the vets that have seen him can't tell me what is wrong.


Because that's the only place you're going to find out what's wrong with your cat! We are NOT vets here. Your vet needs to do more tests to find out what's wrong, WE CAN'T DO THAT ON-LINE!!!.

Cindy

NYAcademic
January 28th, 2012, 07:32 AM
If someone posts, notes that they've taken the cat to a vet and that the vet was not helpful and therefore asks for advice in this fashion, to advice the person to go to a vet is pretty blind. The condition described is a wasting condition. The animal is not getting nutrition from his/her food and is digesting his own muscle mass. At least that -- the fur loss indicates that as well.
Change the food to grain free, check out the products at Vitality Science and so on. I have been dealing with a related problem -- the trouble is that when a cat has trouble absorbing nutrients this is almost impossible to resolve and vets do not help. Wish they did, but they don't.