Questions and AnswersCategory: HealthCat dragging his back legs
bestvet Staff asked 2 years ago

Cat dragging his back legs

My cat is 13, he’s got diabetes and gets insulin shots twice a day. He was fine all day today and just now he started dragging his back legs and cries in pain when I try to pick him up. I don’t know if playing with my other cat he hurt himself, I can see he’s in pain but is midnight here so earliest I’ll get to the vet is tomorrow morning. What can I give him to help manage pain until tomorrow morning??

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1 Answers
bestvet Staff answered 2 years ago

The dysfunction of pancreatic beta cells results in diabetes mellitus. One of them of the most common complication is incapability to maintain blood glucose level. Diabetes may result in severe problems from either disorder (hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia) if not treated in a timely fashion. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels may lead to several other complications like renal disorders, neuropathies, enhanced risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, or cataracts.

One of the most common complications in felines is diabetic neuropathy. The progression to this condition may take several months but can be resolved with 6-12 months if treated correctly and on time. In this, the femoral nerve is most commonly affected.

The affected femoral nerve may lead to plantigrade gait. The plantigrade stance is walking on hocks in cats which may damage the tarsal joints and nerves of hind legs. Then eventually, pain, numbness, and weakness or paralysis appear.


  • Weak hind legs
  • Unable to stand on toes
  • Difficult to impossible jumping
  • Difficulty in walking


The treatment is reversible if diagnosed early and by regulating the blood glucose level. This regulation of blood glucose is the treatment of choice. However, supportive therapy in the form of Vitamin B12, methyl-cobalamin may aid in the recovery. However, a veterinarian should be consulted before using any treatment.

Saddle thrombus or ATE (Arterial Thrombo-embolus)

is among the devasting complication of heart ailment in cats. The heart disease may lead to trouble in the blood flow through the heart, which may result in the creation of blood clots. These blood clots may move through the blood and become lodged in the femoral arteries that deliver blood flow to the rear legs. By the occurrence of thrombus, there is damage to blood flow to the back legs thus causing pain, diminished pulses, cold limbs and paralysis.

The veterinarian would recommend the blood work and cardiac workup like x-rays, echocardiogram etc. Several anti-thrombotic medicines are available along with the option to remove the clots. A few anti-thrombotic drugs used to avoid recurrences in cats.

Lina, DVM

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