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Lower back/tail pain? [Jun. 6th, 2008|12:15 pm]
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cathealth

[nectarette]
[Current Mood |worriedworried]

Hi, all.

I have a lovely 7 year old neutered male cat who I take excellent care of. However just recently I've noticed when I pet his lowerback he seems to react out of discomfort and/or pain. Basically, he meows differently than usual and moves out of my hand's reach. I have not yet found a new vet since I've been living in a new city, but I'm going to look for one this weekend.

Has anyone else experienced this with their cat? I am worried it might be his kidneys causing the pain? But he seems to be using the litterbox normally, and eating and drinking and playing normally too. When I first got him at 1 year old, I was feeding him urinary tract health catfood for two years (they said neutered male cats should have that,) then switched to hairball control food + indoor catfood (all dry.) In the past six months, I've been feeding him wet food in addition to his dry food.

Are neutered males supposed to be on a urinary tract diet their whole lives?

I'm just trying to give as much info as I can, in the hopes someone might have an idea of what's up or what other symptoms I should be on the lookout for.

Thanks so much!!
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: raenstorm
2008-06-06 04:29 pm (UTC)

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I've never heard that you're supposed to feed neutered males a urinary tract diet! My Gimpy is four years old and he's never had a urinary tract infection, and never been fed the diet for it. Have you tried holding him still and gently pressing on the area to see where exactly the discomfort is? (Obviously be very careful!) I think your best bet really is to take him to the vet for a check-up.
[User Picture]From: nectarette
2008-06-06 07:05 pm (UTC)

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Yes, I've been carefully pressing on him when I pet him to see if there's any pain anywhere else but it's only there.
[User Picture]From: crossbow1
2008-06-06 05:20 pm (UTC)

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Some cats are overly sensitive along the spine. Poke around and see where exactly he feels discomfort, whether it's along the bone or not. One of my cats has just always been like that, and I was worried but apparently it's pretty common in cats and dogs. Another one of mine likes his lower back petted or thumped but not scratched - he'll whip around and bite you.

The urinary tract thing: Some cats are more prone to it than others. None of my previous neutered males ever had a urinary problem, but my current one did (before I got him). Apparently it's the ash in cheap foods that aggravates it the most; I don't know why. Maybe someone else here does. Just to be safe, you should always feed them low-ash foods.
[User Picture]From: poisondove
2008-06-06 06:29 pm (UTC)

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I agree on the low ash.
I don't the mechanism but there are a few papers out there that say that high ash in diet may increase the risk of a cat developing urinary crystals, stones, and urethral plugs. I suspect it might be due to pH effects ash may have on the urine, perhaps alkalinizing the urine and creating an environment more suited to bacteria or crystal formation
[User Picture]From: nectarette
2008-06-06 07:07 pm (UTC)

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I think it might be his hip bones...? He does seem to be okay if I pet gently but not with any pressure at all! Yes, I heard about the ash too. I'm totally willing to spend a fortune on high-quality food so I might consult the vet about the very best kind for his digestive system.
[User Picture]From: poisondove
2008-06-06 06:22 pm (UTC)

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Male neutered cats are more prone to urinary crystals/stones, which is the purpose of urinary diet. If your cat had no history of issue with such before, or a breed/family predisposition, or if the area you lived in wasn't known to have a certain type of water (I think its hard water, but don't quote me on that...just some tap water can have a certain content that promotes crystals), then I can't really see a reason for him to be on the diet. Its probably fine to be on if he likes it, but probably not something he has to be on.

I have to ask:
How long has he been sore in his tail/back end?
Does he go outside?
Location:(Is it more spinal area, or more lateral/high on the flank-kidney)
Is he sick otherwise?

My first thought with these guys is whether there is any way they could have gotten into a scrap with another cat, as the tail bases are a popular place to get bit by other cats when the cat in question is running away from the other cat. Another concern with the outdoor cat is getting hit by cars.

But really its impossible to say from here. If he is painful, its best that he is checked out by a vet, so they can assess where the pain is, radiograph is necessary (ie. if they do think its spinal), and give him pain meds to make him more comfy or antibiotics if it does turn out to be a tail bite abscess.



[User Picture]From: nectarette
2008-06-06 07:10 pm (UTC)

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How long has he been sore in his tail/back end?
About two weeks ago I started noticing it.

Does he go outside?
Nope, never.

Location:(Is it more spinal area, or more lateral/high on the flank-kidney)
It's at his lower back on the top of his body, just before the tail.

Is he sick otherwise?
No, very healthy, happy and has normal cat-behavior!

A vet visit is definitely in order. Thanks for a very helpful response :)
[User Picture]From: ananda_ren
2008-06-06 06:59 pm (UTC)

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I think pain in that location is more likely to be due to injury or strain than to kidney problems. Lower back pain isn't really a symptom of urinary problems in cats.

My friend's cat sometimes is sensitive in that area. They haven't elected to do X-rays yet, but we suspect the cat has some strain or damage left over from when he was a stray. He's also a very acrobatic cat, who likes to high jump when playing, so that likely causes the problem to flare up.

If it is an injury or strain in that area, the vet can determine whether medications like arthritis meds, anti-inflammatories, pain meds, steroids, etc. would be appropriate.
[User Picture]From: nectarette
2008-06-06 07:12 pm (UTC)

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My cat was a stray before I got him, yes, but that was six years ago.
However, he is VERY "acrobatic" and jumps and runs a lot, and sometimes jumps up and down from very high places (I'm not sure how the hell he does it!! haha)
But I actually never attributed this to an injury.. that's a good suggestion and arthritis is always a possibility as well.


Thank you!!!