Causes, Signs and Treatment of Epilepsy in Cats.
Seeing your beloved cat go through epilepsy and have seizures can be nerve-wrecking and disturbing for the owner. I will never forget how my cat suffered from this disorder, it was a very, very heartbreaking thing to watch. Fortunately, feline seizure disorders are very uncommon, whereas epilepsy affects up to 3% of the feline population. If your cat has a seizure and lasts for more than an hour, call your nearest emergency veterinary clinic.
Seizures in cats can be caused by underlying causes to the brain such as, infection, trauma, tumours and metabolic disorders like kidney and liver failure and sometimes are inherited.
The cause of epilepsy is not known, but whether the cause is trauma or unknown, it results in uncoordinated firing of the neurons in the brain. During an episode of an epileptic seizure the neurons in the brain misfire and cause the cat to become unconscious and have rapid, uncontrollable body movements.
Seizures vary in intensity and are put into three groups: Petit Mal, Grand Mal and Status Epilepticus.
Petit Mal is the mildest form of epileptic seizure the symptoms include:
- Cat may develop a blank stare,
- Shake one leg
- Cry out in pain.
- Lasts less than one minute
Grand Mal are the most common, these symptoms include:
- Falling to one side and losing control of bodily functions
- Paddling the feet like swimming
- Foaming at the mouth
- Crying out
- Lasts less than five minutes
Status Epilepticus is the most severe form, symptoms are:
- Appears like a grand mal seizure
- Can last up to several hours
- As soon as the cat recovers, it immediately goes back into a seizure
Status Epilepticus is the most dangerous states and can result in death.
A through history, physical and neurologic exam can be done to all cats with a history of seizures. If neurologic deficits are determined in the exams, a CSF tap and advanced imaging tests, like CT scans or MRI, will be preformed.
In most cases, epilepsy is not life threatening until Status Epilepticus develops. There are anticonvulsant drugs, like Phenobarbital, is the first choice of symptomatic therapy to control the condition, but does not cure it. Phenobarbital is a sedative and will help sedate the action of the neurons of the brain. The response to anticonvulsant therapy will always be unpredictable.
Published in: Pets