Spina bifida in cats

Living with a cat not only means giving him food and water, but also worrying about his health. Every time we suspect that he is not feeling well, the first thing we have to do is take him to the vet to examine him and treat him, since if we let him pass it is usual that the problem worsens. And there is one of those problems that can be deadly.

I’m talking about spina bifida in cats, a congenital anomaly (that is, from birth) that causes the spine to not develop normally , which means that the feline does not have the quality of life it needs.

How is it produced?

Spina bifida in cats occurs, as we said, when it is still in the placenta, in the body of its mother. Depending on the severity, it will affect you one way or another. Thus, while in the mildest cases only one vertebra is usually involved, in the most serious cases, several are affected.

If the case is really severe, which is when the spinal cord is exposed at birth, the furry is predisposed to suffer an inflammation of the spinal cord covering or meningitis. In these situations the vet usually advises euthanasia since the prognosis is not good.

It is particularly common in the Manx breed of cats , but those born without a tail (or with only part of it) do not usually have problems walking and leading a normal life.

What are the symptoms?

The sick kitten will show symptoms when it begins to take its first steps.These are as follows :

  • Staggers when walking
  • Has hind leg weakness
  • Little (or no) tenderness or pain in the affected areas
  • Paralysis
  • Difficulty controlling your bowel movements

If he has any of these signs, he should be taken to the vet for tests to help confirm the diagnosis, such as X-rays, MRIs, or myelograms.

How is it treated and / or prevented?


When the case is mild, the professional will perform a repair surgery , but it should be noted that there is little chance that the animal will fully recover from this problem.

On the other hand, being a congenital malformation it cannot be prevented . The only thing that can be done is to carry out genetic studies of the cats that want to be crossed to ensure that the kittens will be born healthy.



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