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  #1  
Old August 16th, 2016, 04:04 AM
andreairvin andreairvin is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Bangkok
Posts: 2
Questions about nerve damage in cat's rear leg

I live in Bangkok, Thailand and am caring for a former street cat, Mimi, with a couple of friends. Mimi had a serious accident that ripped open her back right leg. The leg has now healed but she has nerve damage and cannot use her paw correctly – it folds under when she walks. The accident happened about 3 months ago. On our last visit to the vet, they advised that since the accident was already 3 months ago and her nerve had not healed, that it would not come back. We were doing physical therapy (range of motion exercises) twice a day – though unclear whether this was to keep her muscles flexible or to encourage nerve regrowth or both. One vet told us to keep doing the physical therapy and another told us, no reason to keep doing them and we could stop. These vets are not specialists in rehabilitation and unfortunately, we have not been able to find and there aren’t any in Thailand. We are unsure about the advice we were given and therefore are seeking clarification on the following:

1. Can a cat’s nerve still grow back if 3 months have passed since it was injured or is it definitely not coming back?
2. Does the cat still need the physical therapy/range of motion exercises? If so, does she need those for life or up to what point?
3. Are the range of motion exercises for her muscles or the nerves? Her muscles in that leg are already very atrophied, by the way, since she was in a cage at the vet’s for 2 months.
4. Can acupuncture help with the nerve regrowth at this point?
5. We are thinking of getting her a splint to keep her paw in the right position when she walks. Would this help her back leg muscles to re-develop some?
6. Are there any splints for cats that you recommend?

Thanks so much for any advice and assistance!
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  #2  
Old August 16th, 2016, 11:01 AM
rhynes rhynes is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: edmonton - canada
Posts: 183
Can't speak for an animal, but i've got a neuroma on my hand below the index finger. One of those doh moments, drunk and got into a fight with frozen baloney and a large sharp knife went to the bone and sliced a nerve completely.

It was stitched together at the hospital but the nerve wasn't stitched if that makes sense, that would take surgery with a scope. Long story short, the nerve I assume grew back together and a lump (neuroma) formed. I was told that it's likely I wouldn't get the feeling back in the finger. I do have pretty good use of my index finger, but I'm always using my hands, my own physio I guess. For about 2 years, there was no sensation on one side of the index finger, even now it's very limited sensation 30 years later. I wouldn't expect the nerve to regain function in the cat.

You can get 3D printed prosthetics and supports made up for pretty much anything now, may be something to look into. A simple foot support with a wrap maybe?

When you say the muscles have atrophied, is the leg now naturally deformed? Can you post a picture?
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  #3  
Old August 19th, 2016, 02:34 AM
andreairvin andreairvin is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Bangkok
Posts: 2
Thanks for your reply. I am not too hopeful but will continue with the physical therapy for awhile still. Apparently, if the nerve sheath is not damaged, the nerve can grow back (so I read) but I think in all likelihood it was damaged. Her leg was just stitched up - no microsurgery (I am told, I was not involved in that part of her care). We have just ordered a leg splint with the hope that it will help her to walk more normally and enable the leg muscle to build up some. (Not sure how much 3D printing is available in Thailand). I am trying to attach two photos of the leg with the atrophied muscle - it might be a bit hard to see, but the leg is kind of caved in rather than full and muscular like her other leg.
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  #4  
Old August 19th, 2016, 09:36 PM
rhynes rhynes is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: edmonton - canada
Posts: 183
Whew, not sure what to say to that, looks like most of the muscle has atrophied.

Maybe try a splint. Padded pipecleaners might work, form them to the leg and wrap it. See if she'll accept it for now. Hard to say with a cat.
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acupuncture, nerve damage, physical therapy, splints

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