Limb Deformities in Cats

By March 26 | See Comments

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The term limb deformity is used to describe bone shape deviation from what is regarded as normal. It can be either developmental or congenital in cats. The congenital deformity is present from birth while the developmental deformity could happen anytime during the growth period of the feline from four months to eight months old. The deformities occur due to growth plate irregularities. The growth plate is responsible for the growth of bones in the cat. These plates are soft. They cannot fuse until the kitten reaches one year age. It means nutritional deficiencies or trauma may lead to limb deformities.

Appearance and pain

The limb deformities take the shape of crooked or irregular limbs. Most affected are the forelimbs in a cat as the limbs are made of two long bones. The rear limbs are vulnerable too. The cat will have a bow foot which could be either inward or outward. A few cats suffering from limb deformities may not face complications. Others could experience limping, inability to complete a few tasks, and pain.

There will be clinical signs if a cat suffers from limb deformity. The bones of the concerned limb will bow towards the midline of the cat. It commonly affects the radius and the ulna. Cat owners may see this abnormality when they are in front of the animal. The cat's standing stance will show abnormality. A few cats may not show pain whereas other felines could experience limited mobility and acute pain. The complication will show up in a radiograph. The cat will show pain and limp while it works. It will also suffer from reduced joint motion range and cannot perform a few activities like running and jumping. Affected cats generally develop arthritis later in life.

Causes of deformity

Deformities in the limbs could be caused due to many reasons. The most common is trauma. A genetic disorder is yet another important cause. When it comes to trauma, the list of events that can cause an abnormal bone structure includes the kitten falling from a height or getting hit by any vehicle. It may also happen if someone steps on the kitten. Deformities start from the kitten stage, and thus there are fewer chances of any medical review to be established as per rules of diagnostic procedure. As a cat owner, you can provide your veterinarian essential information which can be relevant to the condition of the cat. Inform the medical professional about the cat's past trauma or any cat family disorders. There could be a physical examination of the affected cat. The examination includes moving affected limbs to find out the range of motion. The veterinarian will use x-rays to investigate the deformity of the bone.

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