A Curious Case of Thoracic Lordosis in a Cat

Lordosis, the excessive curvature of the vertebrae in the neck and back region, is not an uncommon condition in small animals. While the symptoms can vary from case to case, ranging from pain to myelopathy and spinal deformities, it is not always accompanied by neurological findings. In some instances, the condition is discovered by chance during a routine examination. In this article, we explore an interesting case of thoracic lordosis in a cat and highlight the approach taken to manage this congenital anomaly.

Case Description

A 7-month-old, 1.8 kg intact female mix-breed cat was brought to the OMU Animal Hospital Department of Internal Medicine with respiratory distress and weakness in the hind legs. The initial examination revealed abnormal lung auscultation, asymmetrical lymph nodules, and abdominal enlargement. The cat was immediately placed in an oxygenated chamber due to severe respiratory distress and dyspnea. Neurological examination showed signs of a T3-L3 lesion, with no deep pain perception in the hindlimbs. X-rays revealed a gross vertebral anomaly in addition to pectus excavatum. The patient also had neutropenic leukopenia. Despite the administration of various treatments, including Prednisolone and Clindamycin, the cat’s condition continued to worsen.


Thoracic lordosis is a common congenital spinal malformation in cats, and its symptoms can vary. In some cases, it may lead to dyspnea, right ventricular hypertrophy, pulmonary artery hypertension, and dysphagia due to thoracic compression. Partial paralysis of the hind legs is also a possible complication. Interestingly, certain cat breeds, such as Manx and Bengal cats, are more susceptible to thoracic anomalies [^3] [^4].

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In this particular case, the cat’s thoracic lordosis presented as an untreatable condition. Despite various interventions, including supportive care and pain management, the cat’s quality of life continued to decline. Ultimately, euthanasia was the only humane option to end the cat’s suffering.

As pet owners, it is crucial to understand that sometimes difficult decisions need to be made when faced with untreatable and inoperable conditions like thoracic lordosis. The welfare and quality of life of our furry companions should always guide our choices. If a pet’s suffering cannot be alleviated, making the compassionate decision to let them go is the right course of action.

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