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What is Neck and Back Pain?

If you are able to notice significant change in your cat's behavior that can indicate neck and back pain, then you should immediately take your pet to see a professional to gain an accurate diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan.

When your cat is experiencing any sort of discomfort along the spine, it is feeling neck or back pain. Neck and back pain ranges in intensity and is sometimes not easy to discern from other pain. For example, pain originating from the abdomen can sometimes be confused for pain in the back and vice versa. Since animals cannot clearly communicate their discomfort, it can be difficult to figure out exactly where the pain is and what may be causing it.

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Neck and Back Pain Average Cost

From 547 quotes ranging from $300 - $4,000

Average Cost

$2,200

Symptoms of Neck and Back Pain in Cats

Cats can appear outwardly indifferent when something is irritating them, so signs of pain are not always apparent. Also, pain in one area can be mistaken for pain in another part of the body. It's important to pay close attention to how your cat behaves in order to determine if it is suffering from neck and back pain. Here are a few telltale signs to watch out for:

  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Arched back
  • Change in appetite
  • Vocalization (e.g. crying out when touched)
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Weakness in limbs
  • Change in posture/gait
  • Spine deformities
  • Inability or reluctance to turn head
  • Bruises around spine
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Causes of Neck and Back Pain in Cats

There are a few injuries, diseases, and other conditions that can cause neck and back pain. Common causes include:

  • Trauma (e.g. bite wounds, spinal fractures)
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Organ disorders near the back causing referred pain (e.g. kidneys)
  • Vertebral disk disorders
  • Dislocations
  • Cancer
  • Inflammation/infection of the meninges (membranes that surround the spine and brain)
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Diagnosis of Neck and Back Pain in Cats

To diagnosis the issue, your veterinarian will perform a complete examination as well as conduct a full medical history. If the cause isn't obvious, such as the case with an injury, then your vet will perform a variety of other diagnostic tests. To search for signs of infections as well as check on the state of vital organs, a Complete Blood Count (CBC), urinalysis, urine culture, and a biochemical profile will be taken.

Abdominal X-rays will show if there are any abnormalities in the organs, while spinal radiographs will check the spinal canal, vertebrae, and the disks. The latter is typically performed when your cat is under general anesthesia or heavy sedation. Other tests may include myelography, CT scan, or MRI to identify trauma or cancer and EMG to diagnose or rule out muscle disorders. If meningitis or inflammatory infectious diseases are suspected, your vet will recommend a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis, which requires a spinal tap.

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Treatment of Neck and Back Pain in Cats

The exact treatment plan to manage and correct your cat's neck and back pain will be determined both after discovering the root cause and determining the severity of the discomfort. In some cases, back and neck pain can be simple to treat. Other times, however, treatment can be difficult, and it may take some time to see results.

Medication

Both pain and anti-inflammatory medication is usually given to help manage and treat pain. If your vet has discovered an infection, the treatment will include a round of antibiotics. The risk of side effects and relapse, especially with antibiotics, is high, however. Because of this, you should always consult with your vet before administering any medication. If cancer has been detected, chemotherapy drugs may be administered.

Surgery

There are some situations in which your cat's neck and back pain will require far more invasive intervention, like a surgical procedure. Surgery goes hand-in-hand with medication as your cat will typically receive some medication to help cope with pain and prevent infection following the procedure. Operations are recommended if your cat is suffering from very difficult ailments. Conditions that usually require surgery are ones that deal with spinal injury, cancer, infections in the vertebrae and disks, and in the case of paralysis.

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Recovery of Neck and Back Pain in Cats

If your cat has undergone any procedure, or if therapy has been recommended, it is important to closely monitor your cat's activities. Try to keep movement to a minimum and only what is suggested by your vet. Never allow your cat to perform any exercise that has not been approved by a professional. The outlook for cats that suffer from neck and back pain vary with the nature of the underlying condition. Also, when giving medication, always continue it as long as the vet prescribes to prevent complications or recurrence or infection or other issues.

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Neck and Back Pain Average Cost

From 547 quotes ranging from $300 - $4,000

Average Cost

$2,200

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Neck and Back Pain Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Cat pet

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11 months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Making Unusual Noises

Our beautiful cat started to make strange noises today. She seems to show discomfort in her back legs. She was totally fine until about this afternoon. Researching online for possible symptoms to address this properly. We dont want to see her in pain. Thank you in advance.

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is feeling better. If they are still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 22, 2020

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Short haired

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2 and a half

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Hurts Along His Back At Bottom, Stools Were A Kitte Funnier Than Normal!

He doesn’t go out, I kept him a house cat, no one seen him get hurt. He’s always around me if not me then one of my children, (17yr & 18yr old) he is a bit over weight (killing him with kindness) & have been stopping giving in to his demands.. he likes to at times lay in the drawers under the divan beds, or in the cupboard.. other than that next to one of us..

Aug. 4, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If he is having GI issues, that may explain the area of pain that you are noticing. It is difficult for me to say what might be going on without being able to see him or know what his stools are like. If this continues, it would probably be best to have him seen by a veterinarian who can examine him, see what might be bothering him, and get any treatment for him that he might need. I hope that all goes well for him!

Aug. 4, 2020

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Neck and Back Pain Average Cost

From 547 quotes ranging from $300 - $4,000

Average Cost

$2,200

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

Compare plans
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