The cat 's spine is composed of seven cervical vertebrae in the neck, thirteen thoracic vertebrae in the upper back, seven lumbar vertebrae in the lower back and three sacral/coccygeal vertebrae in the pelvis and tail region. Each of the 30 vertebrae has discs in-between one another, which absorb shock, hold the spine together and act as a joint in order to help the spine move. The spinal or vertebral canal is located in the vertebra, protecting the cord from injury. When this vertebral canal narrows, a neurological condition known as lumbosacral stenosis or cauda equina syndrome results.
Lumbosacral stenosis puts pressure on the nerves in the spinal canal between the lumbar and sacral vertebrae, damaging them. The condition is rare in cats but can cause pain and lameness in cats who are affected.
Symptoms of Narrowing of Vertebral Canal in Cats
Symptoms typically develop slowly as the vertebral canal narrows. These symptoms include:
Tail paralysis (tail drags on ground behind cat and is no longer able to be lifted)
Abnormal tail carriage
Hind lumb lameness
Pain in the lower back in the lumbar and sacral spinal regions
Pelvic limb weakness
Fecal elimnation problems
Reluctance to jump or climb
There are two types of lumbosacral stenosis:
Acquired, where the condition develops on its own
Congenital, where the condition develops during fetal development