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Odds symptoms in kitten

November 24th, 2011, 10:11 AM
Hello all,

I'd love to see if the vast knowledge on here can come up with any ideas as to what could be going on with my friend's kitten. To start off, this kitten is under the care of a wonderful vet, who is also stumped but asking around/researching, but I thought I'd check on here as well in case someone has experienced something similar.

Bella was born at my friend's place (mama was a preggo rescue, being fostered for the rescue I volunteer for, now spayed and rehomed :) ) - the litter was 3 "normal" kittens and two tailless kittens (although they do have little nubs)! Bella is one of the tailless ones. She and her tailless brother both had a bit of an illness at 3 weeks of age, had to go on antibiotics (amoxicillin) and be bottle fed, but both recovered. Her brother flourished but little Bella, while healthy, remained fairly petite.

Fast forward to 6 weeks ago, or so, and Bella is now 6 months old. All of a sudden she comes up lame on a front leg. My friend assumes there must have been an accident (she's very under-foot :) ) but nothing seems broken so just keeps an eye on her. Within a few days the leg becomes quite swollen, she won't eat, she gets the third-eyelid starting to cover her eye and those very sad "I'm sick" cat eyes, and she's just generally very uncomfortable. She's rushed to the vet - nothing's broken, can't even feel any soft tissue damage, vet guesses some sort of puncture (even though she can't feel that either). Bella is treated with antibiotics and steriods and pain meds. Over the next couple days she becomes a bit more comfortable but still doesn't have a great appetite. She then has an episode where she's purring uncontrollably, shaking, and VERY wobbly - vet thinks maybe a reaction to pain meds and takes her off them. Over the next few days her leg goes back to normal and she seems to improve. She then comes home and over the next weeks starts acting like a normal kitten again, although still picky about eating but I think that's just her being a princess ;)

Then, about 2-3 weeks later, she comes up lame in the hind end! The leg begins to swell and the same symptoms start appearing, except it's a hind leg, not the front one. This time we don't wait and rush her straight to the vet. The vet is baffled and decides to just observe her for a while, as she doesn't seem as uncomfortable this time. She's there for 2-3 days and recovers...this time with no meds! So she comes home and greatly improves, decides she likes food again, starts to gain some weight, and is bouncing off the walls.

THEN, just 3 days ago it begins again! The lameness/swelling is back in the front leg this time. She is currently at the vet's again but we're at a loss at what to do. The vet wondered if it was her spinal fluid swelling and causing all these symptoms, which makes sense as it definitely seems like something neuro and tailless cats are known for neuro issues, but what is making the spinal fluid swell, if that is what's happening?!

The poor thing can't live like this and will be euthanized if needed but we'd really like to figure out what's going on first so we can make an educated decision and save her if at all possible. She's such a sweetheart and a toughie.

Has anyone heard of anything like this or have any idea at all as to what could be going on with our girl?

Thanks so much!

November 24th, 2011, 01:00 PM
Not sure about cats, but if this were our dog, we'd suspect something tick-borne. Does this kitty get outside at all? Rotating lameness, painful joints, neurological symptoms, depression, lethargy, that icky feeling...that can all point to Lyme's, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or ehrlichiosis in my area. Not sure where you're located, but that might be something to discuss with kitty's vet.

Our kitty experts may have other suggestions. :fingerscr

I hope Bella recovers soon! :goodvibes:

November 24th, 2011, 01:40 PM
Thanks so much for your reply and crossing of fingers - everyone who meets this little darling falls in love with her and I hope more than anything we can fix her! :pray:

She does not go outside but there are two other cats and a dog that do go in and out that could have transferred a tick to her. The outdoor animals all get treated with Revolution but Bella never has as she was sickly, young, and never went outside so I'm sure my friend just never thought of it. Now that you mention the tick-related illnesses, those do make sense and Lyme fits just about all of her symptoms - I just never thought of it because she doesn't go outside! I can't believe I didn't think of this! I don't want to get my hopes up too much but :fingerscr you revealed the answer!!!

November 24th, 2011, 01:47 PM
Along with what HRP mentioned, I'd wonder about the possibility of Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in particular). It's rare in cats but the symptoms are rotating lameness, lethargy, anorexia and sometimes skin lesions. Unfortunately there isn't an actual test for it - diagnosis is based on the exclusion of other possible causes. Here's some more info:

Crossing my fingers that the vets can get to the bottom of this and that Bella makes a full recovery! Do let us know what you find out.....