Pet Health: Neuropathy   Cat has weak hind legs



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HELP! My Cat Has Weak Back Legs!

Feline diabetes often causes weakness in the hind legs of cats. Rather than walking normaly, the cat will walk on his hocks (see image below). This condition, neuropathy, is nerve damage caused by high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia). If your cat has weak hind legs, you should see a vet to discuss treatment options.

Nerves, cells in the eye, and kidney cells are particularly sensitive to damage since these cells do not require insulin in order to take up glucose from the blood. Where blood glucose is very high in poorly regulated diabetics these cells take up lots of glucose which causes internal damage. Keeping blood glucose levels as near normal as possible and avoiding large fluctuations in the levels helps to prevent this type of cellular damage in diabetics

In the case of leg problems, many cats will improve tremendously when their blood sugars come under control. In these cases, the hind leg weakness may be caused by electrolyte imbalances (e.g. low potassium levels) related to excessive urination. There is some evidence that methyl-B12, a vitamin, also known as methylcobalamin, may be a beneficial supplement. Also, diabetes that is not under control causes muscle wasting (diabetes is a CATABOLIC or "breaking down" disease) and your cat's back leg problems may be due to extreme muscle weakness.

This is a common problem and a heartbreaking one. If the problem seems to come on rapidly, check your cat's blood glucose level (or several levels) to make sure her blood sugar is under control. An alternative is to have your vet draw blood for a fructosamine test to check for longer term control. Your vet can do an examination and check a potassium level, also.

And make your cat exercise! Physical therapy can do wonders for improvement.

More on Methyl-B12:

Methyl-B12, also known as methylcobalamin, has worked wonders on many cats with neuropathy. It is important that you use METHYL-B12. Other forms of vitamin B-12 will not work. You may obtain this supplement at many health food stores. Most users will give their cat 3-5 mg per day to treat neuropathy.

Cat with neuropathy
Cat walking on his hocks.
Methyl-B12 reversed the neuropathy!
Courtesy of Karen and Rambo

Last updated 03/21/2006.

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