My Declawed Cat Is Limping-Why?

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https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20150513143650AA9R55C

This is why…Felines—whether house cats or big cats—can suffer pain, post-operative complications, serious health problems, psychological trauma that manifests itself in negative behavioral changes, and even death because of being declawed. More details about the complications associated with declawing include the following:
Litter box problems.
Many declawed cats won’t use their litter boxes anymore. After the declaw surgery, the cat’s paws are very raw and when the cat goes to use the box, digging in the sand causes the cat a lot of pain. They begin to associate the box with that pain and may never use it again. Many cat experts know this and it has been confirmed in the veterinary literature. It is not uncommon for declawed cat owners to trade scratched furniture for urine-soaked carpeting. In one survey, 95% of calls about declawed cats related to litter box problems, while only 46% of clawed cats had such problems-and most of those were older cats, many with physical ailments that accounted for the behavior.
Biting.
Deprived of claws, which is their primary defense, a cat may turn to its only other line of defense—its teeth. Some experts believe that cats that are declawed are likely to become biters. Many veterinarians will recommend declawing to protect human beings from being scratched. This goes against what human health organizations recommend. Declawing the cat can give people a false sense of security because declawed cats bite more often after being declawed.
Pain.
James Gaynor, DVM, an expert in pain management at Colorado State University Veterinary Medical School, has written about chronic pain syndrome in cats that have been declawed. The article describes severe pain in cats that can last a lifetime.
Veterinary textbooks list the pain from declawing as “severe.”
Declawing is considered one of the most painful, routinely-performed surgeries in all of veterinary medicine and yet 30% or more of veterinarians don’t provide any pain medication whatsoever to their declaw patients. Another study showed that declawed cats were still in pain from the surgery at the end of the study, which was 12 days after the operation!
Declawing is so predictably painful that it is used in clinical trials by pharmaceutical companies to test new pain medications.
Determining pain in cats is much more difficult than determining pain in dogs. Cats are very often stoical and people will interpret a cat curled up in a ball and sleeping as normal, when in reality, the cat is in a lot of pain. Dogs are more demonstrative of their pain.
While the immediate post-surgical pain that the cats suffer is obviously severe, it is impossible to know how much chronic pain and suffering declawing causes. Declawing is ten (front toes only) or eighteen (there are only 8 toes on the back feet) separate amputations, so it is not unreasonable to believe that declawed cats experience phantom pain in one or more toes. (Many human amputees report life-long, painful “phantom” sensations from the amputated part.) Cats typically conceal pain or illness until it becomes unbearable. With chronic pain, it may be that they simply learn to live with it. Their behavior may appear normal, but a lack of overt signs of pain does not mean they are pain-free.
Post-surgical complications.
Lameness, abscesses, and paw pad atrophy can occur after surgery. In some cases where the veterinarian left part of the bone in the toe, the claw can begin to grow again. However, the claw grows abnormally under the skin and might eventually bust through the skin on top of the paw. In one report that studied cats for only five months after surgery, about 25% of cats developed complications from both declaw and tenectomy surgeries (digital tenectomy or tendonectomy is a procedure, sometimes promoted as an “alternative” to declawing, where the tendons that extend the toes are cut). Click here to see the section on Tendonectomy »
Joint Stiffness.
In declawed (and tendonectomizedized) cats, the tendons that control the toe joints retract after the surgery because they are no longer anchored to the bones, and over time these joints become essentially “frozen.” The toes can no longer be extended, but remain fully contracted for the lifetime of the cat. The toes become like hammer toes. Cats may continue to “scratch” after they are declawed, this is probably explained by the cat’s desperate desire to stretch those stiff, contracted joints and not evidence that the cat does not miss its claws.
Arthritis.
Researchers have shown that in the immediate post-operative period, newly declawed cats shift their body weight backward onto the large central pad (the three-lobed pad on the palm) of the front feet and off the toes. This effect was significant even when strong pain medication was given, and remained apparent for the duration of the study (up to 40 hours after surgery). This altered gait may persist over time, and can cause stress on the leg joints and spine, and could lead to damage and arthritic changes in multiple joints. X ray images of declawed cats confirm this theory.
Death due behavior problems, anesthetic complications or defenselessness.
Declawing that results in biting or litter box avoidance may result in the cat being dumped at a shelter or simply abandoned. If taken to shelters, such behaviors make them unadoptable, and they will be destroyed. Many cats are exiled to a life outdoors because of these unwanted behaviors, even though declawed cats should not be allowed outside—their ability to defend themselves, and to escape danger by climbing, is seriously impaired. They also risk injury or death by dogs, cars, coyotes, poison, and other hazards of outdoor life. There is always a small but real risk of death from any general anesthesia, as well as from hemorrhage or other surgical complications. Many veterinarians will say that they would rather declaw the cat than have it die—it seems that they don’t realize that declawing is often the cause of the cat’s death. Declawing is unnecessary when there are so many humane alternatives.    From The Paw Project.

NOTE-IF YOUR DECLAWED CAT IS IN PAIN, USE A VETERINARIAN THAT DOES NOT DECLAW FOR ASSESSMENT AND HEALING. SEE THE PAW PROJECT IF THEIR IS A PAW PROJECT VETERINARIAN IN YOUR AREA. THE PAW PROJECT HAS A VETERINARIAN IN ALMOST EVERY STATE. A VET WHO DOES DECLAW WILL DRAIN YOUR BANK ACCOUNT AND MAKE YOUR CAT SUFFER WITH ALL SORTS OF UNNEEDED TESTS.

The Paw Project Heals Declawed Cats

IS YOUR CAT IN PAIN…FROM PP-UTAH
Here is the pain guidelines we use for the study of declawed shelter cats, and that you can use for your own cat(s):
Loss of normal behavior
Decreased ambulation or activity
Lethargic attitude
Decreased appetite
Decreased grooming
Expression of abnormal behaviors
Inappropriate elimination
Vocalization
Aggression
Decreased interaction with other pets or family members
Altered facial expression
Altered posture
Restlessness
Hiding
Reaction to touch
Increased body tension or flinching in response to gentle palpation of declawed paws
Increased body tension or flinching in response to gentle palpation of non declawed paws
Physiologic parameters
Elevations in heart rate
Elevations in resp rate
Elevations of body temperature
Pupil dilation
*based on published AAFP and AAHA feline pain standards

We want to touch on the loss of normal behavior this week:
Pay attention to the level of activity your cat is showing. If they stop playing as much and are sleeping a lot more than normal, that could a sign that they are in pain.
If you start finding mats in their fur, when they normally don’t get many, that is a big indicator that your cat might need some medical attention.
Monitor their food and water intake. Decrease in appetite is a red flag that something is going on with your cat.
If your cat is showing any of these signs, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

PAW PROJECT-UTAH

We sometimes get messages from people who are in need of The Paw Project’s help, but they do not have a branch in their state. They own declawed cats that they would like examined to determine whether or not they need some medical attention from their declaw.

If you find yourself in this situation, here is what you can do:
Find a no declaw vet; The Paw Project is currently working on a comprehensive list of no declaw vets in each state, but you can call local vets, or reach out on social media to try and find one. You can see the list of the states that have PP branches here. If there isn’t a vet that doesn’t declaw close to your area, you can still go to a vet that you trust.
Give the vet the checklist Dr Doub uses when she evaluates declawed cats; you can copy and paste it to an email to your vet or print it out:

Age at present and gender and BCS:

Indoor vs outdoor (if known):

Age at declaw:

Type of declaw performed:

Previous health issues:

A.Physical Exam:

Temperature: Pulse: RR: Weight:
EENT:
Dental:
H/L:
Abdominal:
Musculoskeletal:
Integument/Hair/coat:
B. Picture of declawed paw pads zoomed in if not perfect ovals, examine for erythema, abscesses and calluses as well as any other irregular wear.

C. Video:
Batting feather toy
Landing from a 3 foot high jump
Running
Reaction to toes being touched, declawed versus not
Reaction to toes being gently squeezed, declawed versus not
Reaches out with paw to touch human when caged
Observed “making muffins” or trying to extend paws on horizontal surface
Reaction to dorsal spine being palpated
Overall demeanor around humans
**document normal gait of feline to document presence/absence plantigrade stance

D. Signs of pain-please circle ones observed during study/video/at home:

1. Loss of normal behavior
Decreased ambulation or activity
Lethargic attitude
Decreased appetite
Decreased grooming
2. Expression of abnormal behaviors
Inappropriate elimination
Vocalization
Aggression
Decreased interaction with other pets or family members
Altered facial expression
Altered posture
Restlessness
Hiding
3. Reaction to touch
Increased body tension or flinching in response to gentle palpation of declawed paws
Increased body tension or flinching in response to gentle palpation of non declawed paws
4. Physiologic parameters
Elevations in heart rate
Elevations in resp rate
Elevations of body temperature
Pupil dilation
E. Radiographs of all 4 feet including lateral and cc views of declawed paws with carpi and tarsi, please label xrays with marker before sending to server. The radiologist will answer these questions for each paw declawed and nondeclawed for each patient provided using nonsedated lateral and dorsopalmar views:

1. Does this patient exhibit radiographic evidence of partial P3 regrowth or improperly removed bony fragments?
Presence or absence of at least one fragment
Number of fragments per foot
Fragment size
2. Does this patient exhibit radiographic evidence of chronic draining tracts or abscess/excessive lucency around P2?
3. Does this patient exhibit radiographic evidence of distal paw pad callouses/soft tissue swelling?
4. Does this patient exhibit radiographic evidence of P2 remodeling?
5. Does this patient exhibit radiographic evidence of subchondral sclerosis on distal P2? If so, please grade severity (mild, moderate, severe)
6. Does this patient exhibit radiographic signs of P1/P2 joint space pathology (osteoarthritis of the interphalangeal joint)?
7. Does this patient exhibit radiographic evidence of new bone formation on P2 including osteophytosis or periosteal proliferation?
8. Does this patient exhibit radiographic evidence of acute angle hyperflexion of P1/P2? If unable to evaluate, please indicate N/A
9. Does this patient exhibit radiographic signs of plantigrade/palmigrade stance or carpal/tarsal pathology? If unable to evaluate, please indicate N/A

Other things to look out for and make note of:

Non radiographic complications include: radial neuropraxia or paralysis secondary to tourniquet use, infection, wound dehiscence, protrusion of the second phalanx, tissue necrosis from improper bandaging, and palmigrade stance. The source of a declaw related lameness is a detailed orthopedic and neurologic examination assessing the presence of infected wounds with or without protruding bone, pain on palpation of specific portions of the manus, and neurologic deficits. Claw regrowth may be managed by careful excision. Chronic draining tracts may be explored and necrotic bone or embedded cyanoacrylate tissue glue may be excised. Neuropraxia is often, but not always, reversible.

F. Class IV therapeutic Laser-on contact small ball, contact Dr. Doub for settings.

If the vet is not familiar with what treatment to follow, Dr Doub can look at the findings and determine the proper medical plan for the cat.

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