About Feline Neuropathy

Written by rena sherwood
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About Feline Neuropathy
(Image by StockXChng)

Peripheral neuropathy is a severe medical problem of your nervous system that can happen for a variety of reasons. In cats, neuropathy is often brought on by diabetes. It isn't fatal, but does need to be treated by a veterinarian. Feline neuropathy does not go away on its own. This can bring about severe pain and even a loss of toes or limbs.


Cats with feline neuropathy have trouble walking, often dragging a limb or having their paws curl oddly under them. They can also suddenly lose control of their bladder or bowels. Trying to walk or even stand up gets progressively worse. In cats, the hind legs are usually the ones affected first.


People with neuropathy report their limbs, finders or toes feeling numb, tingly or feeling sudden shocks. The brain is trying to communicate with the nerves and the muscles, but the communication is damaged. In cats, this damage is usually due to problems with blood sugar levels. It can also be the result from injury, birth defect or problems with the cat's thyroid.


The most common type of feline neuropathy is called diabetic neuropathy. In both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, there are problems with the body's circulation system so that not enough blood can get to the limbs. The nerves are damaged from lack of blood. Eventually, the limbs can go dead and gangrene sets in. This can happen to both cats and people. Another common type is from hyperthyroidism, where the thyroid is working overtime and the cat is always hungry but has difficulty putting on weight. Sometimes symptoms can include not only trouble walking and increased hunger, the cat wandering around in circles or seizures. Another common type is a complication arising from feline vestibular disease ("dizzy kitty syndrome"), which is a problem of the cat not being able to find a centre of balance, usually due to an inner ear infection.


Neuropathy responds really well to modern veterinary medicines and changes in diet. In diabetic neuropathy, treating the diabetes is a primary concern. A common specialised supplement is given is called Methyl-B12 (methylcobalamin). A brand name for this is Xobaline (which also works for humans). This is a form of regular vitamin B-12 that helps the nervous system. This can be given as a shot or in pill form. It's water-soluble, so the cat will urinate out any Meythl-B12 that they body doesn't need.


You cannot substitute any pill that claims it's a B-12 vitamin. Never give your cat human vitamins. That can get your cat even sicker that she already is.

Time Frame

It can take a few months for the symptoms of feline neuropathy to develop to a point where the cat really can't walk anymore. Treatment lasts at least half a year to one year and is often successful.

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