Most felines have exceptional balance and grace. If a pet owner, however, notices that her cat is experiencing weight gain and weakness in the hind legs, this could be an indication that the cat may be suffering from a medical condition and is in need of veterinary care. There are many possible explanations for weak hind legs in a fat cat that can sometimes be recognised by pet owners. Veterinary diagnosis, however, always is recommended.
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Diabetes and Neuropathy
Many overweight cats are prone to developing diabetes. If discovered in earlier stages, the pet may be able to overcome the affliction by being put on a regulated diet and, in some cases, receiving controlled insulin injections. Diabetic cats that have been hyperglycaemic for extended periods of time sometimes develop a related condition called neuropathy (nerve damage). A common symptom of neuropathy is weakness in the hind legs. Cat owners who notice a weight increase associated with weak hind legs should have their pet tested for diabetes and neuropathy.
Osteoarthritis is a common affliction that causes weakness in the hind legs of overweight cats. This condition is found in slim and fit cats as well, but is more common in fat cats. Osteoarthritis is a serious and painful condition and must be treated by a veterinarian. If you are certain that your overweight cat is not diabetic and is experiencing pain or weakness in his hind legs, it could be an indication that your pet is suffering from arthritis.
An overweight cat that suddenly becomes weak or even immobile in the hind quarters--yet shows no signs of suffering--may have suffered a stroke. These symptoms are sometimes accompanied by the inability to control urination. The cat may soil herself where she lays and be completely unaware of it. Cats have a tendency to recuperate from strokes much faster than humans. In many cases, an overweight cat that has had a stroke can make a full recovery with the proper treatment, diet and exercise regimen.
Feline Urinary Syndrome
Feline urinary syndrome (FUS) is a serious and potentially fatal condition that, if not recognised, can cause a fast and painful death. Slightly more common in obese cats, FUS can affect trim and fit cats as well. When a blockage is formed in the urinary tract, it may render the cat unable to urinate. As the urine accumulates in the bladder, the cat will become engorged and heavy with fluid. This is sometimes mistaken for sudden weight gain when in reality the animal is filling with toxic fluid (urine) and is at risk of a fatal bladder rupture. The cat's hind legs are weakened due to severe lower body discomfort and the animal may have difficulty standing or walking.
Warning: Blue Claw
If your pet is experiencing weak hind legs, one of the more serious afflictions he may be suffering from is dilated cardiomyopathy, otherwise known as "Blue Claw." Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition that begins as a blot clot in the cat's heart. The clot passes through the arteries until it reaches the narrow points near the animals hind legs and lodges in the arteries, preventing blood flow and creating numbness in the hind legs. This condition is known as "saddle thrombus" or thromboembolism. A common indication of dilated cardiomyopathy is the cat's hind legs will feel cool to the touch in comparison to the rest of the body. The claws also will have a bluish tinge. Pet owners who suspect this condition should seek veterinary assistance immediately.
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