Neck and Back Pain in Cats

Neck and Back Pain in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
Neck and Back Pain in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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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zeus

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Local

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4 Months

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1 found helpful

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1 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Neck Pain

My four month old cat has been having problems with his neck. he isn't very vocal about it,but we've noticed it over the past two days.he has never acted this way before. he tilts his head to the right while walking and never keeps his head straight. sometimes he also touches the right side of his head to the floor and then goes into the belly rub position(belly facing up). on the first day, he refused to eat anything at all, but on the second day his hunger rocketed and asked for food every half hour. if we leave him alone in a different room, he meows like he's in great pain. we took him to the vet on the second day, but at the vet's office, he acted normal. as precaution the vet prescribed multivitamins and a de-worming medicine and multivitamins, and my cat is very reluctant to take it.he is mostly an indoor cat but we let him play in the garden everyday for 15 minutes, while keeping a strict watch on it. he has suffered no trauma that we know of, but at age 2 months, he had a slight case of ascaris worms which cleared up within a week. hope you can help.

July 29, 2018

zeus' Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Zeus's behavior sounds fairly normal for a 4 month old kitten, although I'm not sure what might be causing the head tilting. It may be a good idea to video these episodes and show your veterinarian, as they will be able to see whether he has a problem or if it is normal for him.

July 29, 2018

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Misty

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Persian

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2 Months

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Walk Unevenly

My cat, Misty, has been a sweet, silent cat. However, last Thursday I saw her writhing in pain as she was twisting her nek. As a result, she looks like a paralyzed cat with her head turned on her left side. I am very worried. Hope you can help me. Thank you!

July 9, 2018

Misty's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Without examining Misty it is can be difficult to determine a cause; a pinched nerve or other injury can cause problems with the spine. You should visit your Veterinarian for a thorough examination of the spine and possibly an x-ray to determine the specific cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 10, 2018

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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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