Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Lameness: overview

Synonym(s): limping, musculoskeletal disease, gait abnormality

Contributor(s): David Godfrey, Sorrel Langley-Hobbs

Lameness and feline musculoskeletal disease

  • It is particularly important in cats that when considering lameness - the inability to move normally - that we do not get too focused on limping, as many cats show lameness in more subtle ways. This is less so when an acute-onset problem affects a single limb but certainly is the case when considering conditions with an insidious onset and when multiple limbs are affected.
  • There is a daunting list of possible causes of lameness in cats (see below) but many cases will be readily diagnosed just using history and examination. Trial treatment to allow some time for natural healing, often with analgesia being supplied, will allow many more cases to resolve, perhaps without a definitive diagnosis being made. Rest may also be helpful in some of these cases but this is usually impossible to impose on a cat without restriction to a cage - and this probably should be left for those cases with a definitive diagnosis where strict rest is known to be required.

History

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Examination

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Differential diagnosis

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Diagnostic tests

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Summary

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Corr S (2012) Complex and open fractures: a straightforward approach to management in the cat. J Feline Med Surg 14 (1), 55-65 PubMed.
  • Garosi L (2012) Neurological lameness in the cat: common causes and clinical approach. J Feline Med Surg 14 (1), 85-93 PubMed.
  • Grierson J (2012) Hips, elbows and stifles: common joint diseases in the cat. J Feline Med Surg 14 (1), 23-30 PubMed.
  • Helm J & Morris J (2012) Musculoskeletal neoplasia: an important differential for lumps or lameness in the cat. J Feline Med Surg 14 (1), 43-54 PubMed.
  • Kerwin S (2012) Orthopedic examination in the cat: clinical tips for ruling in/out common musculoskeletal disease. J Feline Med Surg 14 (1), 6-12 PubMed.
  • Langley-Hobbs S (2012) Musculoskeletal oddities in the cat: an overview of some curious causes of lameness. J Feline Med Surg 14 (1), 31-42 PubMed.
  • Mahoney P (2012) Musculoskeletal imaging in the cat: what's normal? What's abnormal? J Feline Med Surg 14 (1), 13-22 PubMed.
  • Godfrey D R (2011) Diagnosis and management of osteoarthritis in cats. In Practice 33 (8), 380-385 VetMedResource.

Other sources of information

  • Ruehlmann D S (2010) Myopathic disorders. In: Consultations in Feline Internal Medicine volume 6, editor JR August. St Louis: Saunders Elsevier pp 602-614.
  • Montavon P M, Voss K, Langley-Hobbs S (2009) Feline Orthopedic surgery and musculoskeletal disease. Edinburgh: Saunders Elsevier.


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