Paralysis in Cats: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnostics

Partial or complete immobilization of a cat due to paralysis is a serious test for both the animal and its owner. Meanwhile, paralysis is not a sentence at all, so you can and should fight for the life of a pet.

Causes of the disease

There are a lot of factors that cause restriction or lack of functioning of a certain organ, so it is impossible to make a diagnosis based on external signs only.

The causes that can cause paralysis include the following:

  • spinal injuries with damage, rupture, or contusion of the spinal cord (being run over by a car, falling from a height, etc.);
  • inflammatory processes of the spinal cord that developed against the background of poisoning, infections;
  • the bites of parasites, toxins;
  • poisoning with toxic substances;
  • dislocation and infringement of intervertebral discs;
  • fatty or fibro-cartilaginous embolism;
  • cardiovascular diseases;
  • rabies and other deadly viral infections.

Paralysis in a cat can be complete or partial, affecting both hind legs (paraplegia) or one side, for example, the left hind and front legs (hemiplegia), all four limbs (tetraplegia) , and so on. In addition, there is a gradation in the affected area — paralysis of the facial nerve, larynx, spinal, injury to the radial nerve.

The main symptoms

Paralysis may have a pronounced or blurred clinical picture. As the disease progresses, the symptoms will increase. At first, the owner may pay attention to the fact that the pet has become more sluggish, sleepy, moves uncertainly, tries to crawl away to a secluded corner where no one will bother him.

Sometimes he shows aggression if someone tries to pet him or lift him up.

It is difficult for a cat to keep its head in the usual state, swallow, lap, food falls out of its mouth, so the appetite is usually reduced. He stops washing, looks unkempt. Such phenomena as hypersalivation, involuntary excretion of feces and urine become common.

If the cat was bitten by a parasite, his pupils dilate greatly, and there are no reactions to external stimuli.

In case of injuries, thrombosis, hernias, the damaged limbs become cold, blue, and the pulse rate decreases to a critical level.

Facial paralysis is characterized by an asymmetry of the muzzle: one of the corners of the mouth and eye falls down, blinking and movement of the facial muscles is absent. If the paralysis is bilateral, both corners of the mouth seem to slide down, which makes the expression of the muzzle become dull.

If you notice suspicious signs, you should immediately take the animal to the veterinary clinic. If the animal was helped at the initial stage, there is a chance to save it.

Diagnostics in the veterinary clinic

Diagnostics is carried out comprehensively. First, the veterinarian examines the animal, performs tests for tendon and neurological reflexes, and feels the paralyzed limbs. It is necessary to understand whether the cat feels touch, feels pain, or is no longer able to respond to stimuli.

The necessary diagnostic methods for paralysis include blood tests, urine tests, ultrasound of internal organs, MRI of the brain, x-rays, and dopplerography. If an infection is suspected, a bacteriological analysis is performed.

Treatment method and prognosis

Many pet owners are convinced that if a cat is paralyzed, the only humane way to save it from suffering is euthanasia. This is only partially true. Indeed, if the condition is severe, then in order not to torment the cat, it is wiser to put it to sleep. However, this measure is considered extreme.

If it was possible to identify the cause that provoked the paralysis, treatment is aimed at eliminating it, and it is possible to cure the pet even without consequences. You may need one or more operations in the veterinary clinic, which will be followed by a long recovery period.

Surgery is required for hernias and some injuries, such as when bone fragments protrude from the wound.

In addition, depending on the etiology of paralysis, the veterinarian prescribes soothing, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Rimadil, Carprodil, Flexoprofen), anticoagulants (Clopidogrel, Heparin, Aspirin), and antibiotics to relieve pain. If the animal is experiencing severe pain, it is possible to use opioid drugs (Fentanyl, hydromorphone),

For inflammatory processes, injuries, steroid anti-inflammatory drugs are indicated. Metipred, which is administered drip, has proven itself well. For tick bites, treatment is etiotropic.

Strengthening therapy includes the use of vitamins, in particular group B, which help restore damaged peripheral nerve endings.

In case of dehydration, dehydration is performed using a saline dropper. If the animal has difficulty breathing, oxygen therapy is necessary.

The prognosis for complete or partial paralysis is variable, depending on many reasons — the age and condition of the animal, the degree of damage, and so on.

What to do at home

If the owner wants to cure his four-legged pet, he must follow all the instructions of the veterinarian. You can not change medications, reduce or increase the dosage at your own discretion! You need to understand that some medications your pet will have to take for a long period.

Physiotherapy is of great importance in the recovery process. The cat will be very useful swimming with support, gymnastics (exercise “walking”, flexion and extension of the limbs, etc.), light, but quite intense massage for 10 minutes three times a day. It is necessary to train the limbs, otherwise the muscles will atrophy.

Veterinarians recommend swimming with support, but only if the cat is not afraid of water. It should be taken into account that even the slightest stress is an unacceptable factor.

To make the limbs more sensitive, you can scratch and tickle the paws.


If, despite all efforts, mobility does not return to the cat, it is advisable to purchase a special wheelchair so that the patient can move without dragging lifeless limbs. As a rule, Pets quickly get used to such devices-just a couple of weeks. Thus, even if the cat remains disabled, it may well lead a normal life.

As for nutrition, it should be light, but nutritious and balanced in composition-broths, purees, pates, mashed porridge.

Prevention measures

Preventive measures include the prevention of infectious and viral diseases, timely vaccination and deworming, and routine check-UPS in the veterinary clinic.