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ISU Student Experience

Case Report: "Boots" the Neuro Cat

Written by: Britney R. • 2016 Scholar

Boots came to Iowa Veterinary Specialties after her owners noticed she was not using her back legs.  A physical exam was performed and an open wound at the base of the tail was found.  Additionally, rear limb paresis (partial paralysis) was noted, and firm touch stimulation to the rear legs did not elicit a response and showed a loss of deep pain.  Lack of deep pain in Boots’ rear legs was indicative of a severe lesion that could likely be permanent.  It was recommended that Boots have diagnostic work done to determine the severity of the injuries and to find any other potential injuries or cause for her behavior that were not seen during the physical exam.

The owners consented to diagnostic work, so x-rays and bloodwork were started for Boots.  Results of the bloodwork showed leukocytosis (increases in white blood cells) and neutrophilia (increased neutrophils – a type of white blood cell), likely signifying infection from the exposed wound.  After diagnostics, Boots was started on IV Plasmalyte fluids to help rehydrate, along with antibiotics (Enrofloxacin and Unasyn) for potential infection in the blood, and pain medication (Simbadol).  The x-rays did not highlight any injury to the spinal column, internal organs, or bones.  Plans to send Boots to Iowa State for a detailed neurological exam later in the week were also discussed.

Throughout the first night, Boots was kept on fluids and medications, and was monitored by staff members hourly.  She was reluctant to eat and did not urinate by herself.  During the next day of treatment, Boot’s ability to move the back legs did not change.  However, she began eating small amounts again and was able to urinate on her own.  She also had her wound cleaned and continued to receive pain medication and antibiotics.  After two more days of monitoring and treatment, Boots began to show signs of improvement!  Her fever began to subside and she could move the rear legs slightly, if they were touched by staff members; deep pain slowly began to return as well.  Deep pain is a type of pain carried deep within the spinal cord.  It is the most protected in the spinal cord and is test for by pinching the toes.  Boots also continued to eat and drink well, and received another wound cleaning.

After five days of hospitalization, Boots showed enough improvement to be sent home! She continued to eat and drink well and had more signs of increased motor activity.  By day five, Boots could move both legs, and with some assistance was beginning to walk.  Boots showed enough improvement that the doctors felt she was able to forego her visit to Iowa State and continue recovery at home!

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