We had a little bit of a health scare with Layla last week. It was a three-headed monster type day on Tuesday, with Layla's asthma and digestive problems both acting up, and also the addition of a third problem, favoring one of her front legs. This all came only one day after Marge battled some sort of digestive upset that she quickly got over with the help of a bland diet.
I wasted no time and got her in to the vet Wednesday afternoon. The limp really wasn't that bad and Layla was showing no hesitance jumping or moving around, but I figured that we had had a pretty good streak, having not gone to the vet since November, and that I may as well ease my mind and get her checked out.
The vet examined her leg and concluded that her range of motion was quite good and that although she probably has some arthritis, there really weren't any anti-inflammatories that he could prescribe. I expected to walk away with Rimadyl or Metacam, just like I've gotten for Marge in the past, but apparently, they are not marketed for use in cats in the USA.
Over all, he didn't think her limp was very worrisome nor very severe. He said it was likely either arthritis or perhaps some kind of soft-tissue injury that, if given time, would go away. He sent me home, told me to beef up her steroid dosage for two weeks, and check in with him then. If the limp wasn't gone, then we'd pursue X-Rays and blood work.
We also weighed her (she dropped a bit to 7 pounds 10 ounces from 8 pounds 3 ounces), and checked her heart, which he said sounded good.
After only a couple of days on an increased dose, Layla's leg problem disappeared. However, I absolutely hate that she is on steroids. Her maintenance dose is quite low, and even this increased dose is low, too. But, I've never really thought of steroids as a long term solution, and it scares me to think that she has been on them for a year now.
My vet is adamant that cats deal with Prednisone remarkably well and that her liver supplement, Denosyl, will protect her liver, but I am still uneasy about it. I know many cats who take a long-term low dose of Pred, but I really wish I didn't have to.
Over all, she's doing really well considering she's 13 and has several chronic-type conditions. Hope her relatively good luck continues.