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Lame back legs

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Q.    My 18 year old cat is slightly lame on her back legs.  I wondered if this is the beginning of arthritis.  Can I use human medication such as aspirin or paracetamol to help with this?


A.    Using human medication in animals is not a good idea except on the explicit advice of a vet.   Medication such as aspirin / paracetamol are poisonous to cats and should not be used.  They can easily damage the liver or kidney in cats and may cause gastric irritation. 

In your case, we highly recommend that you make an appointment for your cat to be examined by your vet.  In an animal of this age your vet is likely to consider running a general blood profile to check on liver and kidney function before starting on any medication.  Also at this age it is very worthwhile taking your cat to the vet two or three times a year rather than just once a year for a vaccination.  As you may imagine, at this age we commonly find a number of “senior” ailments starting up which, if caught early, we can treat and thereby help to extend the cat’s lifespan. 

Dependent on what your vet finds after examination, it may be necessary to take x-rays of the back legs to see if there is any cause other than arthritis.

If the cause is arthritis, your vet will be able to advise you on suitable treatment and a diet for your cat to help ease the pain.

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