image of Lameness
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Cats have a tendency to roam, climb and jump; this meansthat they are prone to acquiring traumatic injuries such as fractures and dislocations. Fighting between cats, as they defend their territory, commonly results in bite injuries, which can lead to cellulitis, abscesses and acute septic arthritis; these are important differential diagnoses for lameness in cats. This chapter considers initial investigation, differential diagnoses, further investigations and management.

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5.23.1 A 2-year-old female cat was presented with bilateral pelvic limb lameness and difficulty in jumping. On examination she exhibited signs of pain on hip extension. This ventrodorsal radiograph shows bilateral hip dysplasia with femoral head subluxation but minimal signs of degenerative joint disease. In such a case, conservative treatment should be tried initially; if unsuccessful, femoral head and neck excision could then be considered.
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5.23.2 An 18-year-old male neutered DSH cat with severe bilateral stifle and hock arthritis and mild elbow arthritis. This cat was overweight and was dieted successfully to lose weight. Meloxicam was given (after blood screening to check that there were no contraindications to NSAID treatment) and the cat’s lameness improved and his mobility increased.
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5.23.3 This 3-year-old male neutered 5 kg cat had a complete avulsion of his right triceps tendon, resulting in a dropped elbow. In the absence of a functional triceps muscle the elbow could not be extended. The cat had surgical repair of the avulsed tendon and postoperative external coaptation with a spica splint for 4 weeks to protect the repair during the initial phase of healing.
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5.23.4 This 8-week-old kitten has premature closure of its left distal radial growth plate, resulting in carpal varus. This condition can be treated with ulnar and radial osteotomies and distraction osteogenesis to increase limb length, though in this case the owners opted not to treat.
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5.23.5 The 18-year-old male neutered cat with bilateral stifle arthritis shown in Figure 5.23.2 has a hunched stance as he shifts his weight on to his thoracic limbs while trying to rise.
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5.23.6 This 10-year-old male neutered cat with pelvic limb ataxia has a wide-based hindlimb stance. He was considered to have a neurological problem (diagnosis undetermined), although a bilateral stifle problem could also give a similarly abnormal stance.
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5.23.7 This cat has developed quadriceps contracture, leading to rigid extension of the right hindlimb subsequent to a femoral fracture of that leg. The cat had a mechanical lameness associated with the extended stifle but the leg was still considered functional. Treatment can be attempted in the early stages of quadriceps contracture; numerous different methods of treatment have been tried but the prognosis for recovery or reversal is guarded.
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5.23.8 Scuffed nails are a common finding in cats after a road traffic accident.
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5.23.12 This 14-year-old cat was presented with a one-month history of lameness affecting several limbs. There was enlargement of multiple digits and radiographic evidence of bone lysis in the first phalanx of digit II and the third phalanx of digit IV. Thoracic radiography showed a pulmonary mass in the dorsocaudal lung fields and the presumptive diagnosis was bronchial carcinoma with metastasis to the digits.
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