Many cases of spinal issues seen in cats are in fact congenital malformations of the spine and vertebrae. Research has found that sacrococcygeal dysgenesis is a dominant trait whereas another called thoracic hemivertebra is a recessive trait that some breeds can pass on to their offspring. When kittens are born with a spinal defect, the problem is apparent at birth or it could take a few weeks for signs of there being problem to become noticeable. All too often it takes a few months for any symptoms associated with a spinal issue to develop, but then it’s important for a correct diagnosis to be made as soon as possible.
There are many reasons why a cat might develop or be born with spinal issues and this includes the following:
There are quite a few reasons why a cat might develop spinal malformations and this includes the following:
A vet would need to have a cat's full medical history and they would ideally also need to know a cat's ancestry. They would also need to know how the first signs of there being any wrong first manifested themselves as this helps confirm a diagnosis. Other tests a vet would typically recommend doing when a cat is suspected of having any sort of spinal problem could include the following:
Treatment depends on the type of spinal issues a cat might be suffering from. Should the spinal canal have narrowed or if a cat's spinal cord is compressed, a vet might recommend surgery, but only if the condition is caught early enough and no secondary damage has been done to a cat's spinal column. However, if the condition is not treated early enough, surgery may not be an option. Cats that show signs of any sort of neurological issues as a result of spinal malformations, should be given complete rest combined with supportive care while at the same time treating the underlying causes of their condition.
If a cat's treatment is successful, a vet would need to see them on a regular basis to check their progress. This means scheduling visits to the surgery every four months or so at which time the vet would take more X-rays of their spinal column to make sure things are still okay. When cats suffer any sort of spinal injury whether inherited or acquired, they often become incontinent, but at the other end of the scale, they can become constipated and they often develop urinary tract infections. As such, they need to be treated with antibiotics and fed food that is easily digestible.
It is essential that any cat that suffers from any sort of congenital spinal defect not be used for breeding purposes because that's the only way of preventing offspring from being born with spinal and vertebral malformations. Any cat known to suffer from hereditary spinal issues should be spayed or neutered when the time is right to prevent them from mating. When kittens are born with severe spinal defects, their condition is often untreatable and as such the kindest thing to do is put them to sleep to prevent unnecessary suffering.