Diagnosing Seizures In Cats
To diagnose seizures in cats, the vet may need to do different tests. Blood and urine tests are often used to determine extracranial causes. More advanced procedures include x-rays or spinal fluid testing. For intracranial causes, your cat may need to see a vet specialist who will perform an MRI or CT scan, which can help identify brain tumors or other potential issues that led to the seizure. Tests may determine that the cause is unknown, but there are still treatment options for a cat who has seizures without known causes.
Seizure Copycats: What Else It Could Be
There are a few medical conditions that closely mimic the clinical signs of a seizure but are, in fact, something entirely different.
For instance, a number of different heart problems can cause your cat to suddenly faint and may resemble a petit mal seizure.
Additionally, vitamin B deficiencies can also lead to symptoms that closely resemble seizures.
Finally, female cats in heat often exhibit signs that pet owners can misunderstand and believe are seizures.
For this reason, an accurate diagnosis from a trained professional is imperative in making sure your cat receives the appropriate, needed treatment.
Why Is My Cat Still Having Seizures After Starting The Medication
Sometimes, treatment will appear to have failed, especially during the first month or two. In many cases, this is because the dosage and timing of the medication need adjustment. The first thing you should do in this case is to check that you are following the instructions on the medication label correctly. After your cat has been on medication for several weeks, your veterinarian may take a blood sample to ensure that your cat has enough medication circulating in the bloodstream. This will allow your veterinarian to determine the appropriate dose of medication.
Other causes of treatment failure include specific circumstances, such as stress and progression or worsening of the disease.
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What Causes Epileptic Seizures In Cats
Seizures in cats can be a symptom of many different health problems and the causes are often categorised as intracranial or extracranial .
Examples of intracranial causes include brain inflammation, tumours, and trauma. Extracranial causes can include the ingestion of toxins, kidney disease, liver disease, heart arrhythmias, and disrupted blood sugar regulation, among others. Compared to younger cats, older cats are more likely to have a concurrent health problem such as those listed above.
A seizure may otherwise be idiopathic. This is more commonly diagnosed in younger cats and this diagnosis is made when an underlying cause is not identified and the seizure occurs because of a brain malfunction affecting neurotransmission.
What To Do After Your Cat Has A Seizure
Your cat may be weak, clumsy, or confused after a seizure, so it can be difficult to tell when it is over. If the seizure appears to last longer than five minutes or your cat experiences repeated seizures over five minutes, take them to the vet immediately. Otherwise, check that your cat is stable, and make a call to see the vet as soon as possible. Even for one small seizure, its important to determine the possible cause and start treatments. Untreated seizures can lead to serious or even fatal brain damage.
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How Long Can A Cat Live With Seizures
We all know that a cat with epilepsy should not be left alone in the house. You must keep the home safe from serious injury, as well as to ensure the safety of your cat.
However, some questions have been raised as to how long a cat can live with seizures.
Seizures occur when the brain sends electrical signals throughthe skull and into the body. During an attack, seizures will usually occur.
The frequency of these attacks can vary from one cat to another.
Other behaviors that may indicate a cat may have epilepsy are changes in appetite, inability to sleep or eat, loss of hair, ear twitching, lack of appetite, changes in grooming, and so on.
Cats with epilepsy are usually much more active than normal cats. They also tend to show signs of pain rather than displaying typical joy.
These behaviors make it hard to determine if your cat is sick or simply experiencing seizures.
Seizures can be cured by medication. The medications areadministered by a veterinarian to help ease the attacks.
The treatments are to reduce the intensity of the attacks and to help control them.
Because of the frequency of the attacks, the medications are generally not taken for long periods of time, although some cases of severe illness may be treated with no change to regular life.
Seizures are not life threatening, but it is not healthy either.Cats that have this condition are generally diagnosed at an early age.
The cat has no other health problems to suggest the seizure may be caused by something else.
How To Treat Seizures In Cats
When your cat comes out of a seizure and is in a calm state, immediately take her to your veterinarian. If your vets office is closed, proceed to an emergency veterinary clinic.
Although the seizure has passed, your cat could have another one, Mears explains. To break a cycle of seizures often requires intravenous medications.
Your veterinarian will run diagnostic tests to determine whats causing the seizures. Tests include blood and urine samples and imaging tests like Xrays and MRI. What treatment your veterinarian recommends depends on the underlying cause of seizures.
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Cat Epilepsy Life Expectancy
Fortunately, most cats recover quite well after a seizure. In some rare and tragic cases, cats can die during a seizure. This is usually due to injuries that happen during the incident. Frequent, repeated seizures can put your cat at greater risk for getting hurt and possibly cause damage to the brain.
It’s important to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations to manage the condition and treat any underlying illness. With proper care, cats who have been diagnosed with epilepsy can live a long and happy life.
Keep Note Of Symptoms & Duration Of The Seizure
While you’re comforting your pet during the recovery from their seizure, try to take notes of symptoms and the duration of the episode. Giving your vet as much information can help your vet determine what type of seizure your cat is suffering from so they can find the best treatment.
If your cat has a seizure for longer than three minutes or continues to have seizures with or without recovery, seek veterinary care immediately. You might need to pick your cat up and take them to the vet as soon as possible to prevent brain damage, coma, and death.
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What Do You Do When An Outdated Cat Has A Seizure
If you recognize your cat obtaining a seizure but it stops just after a single to two minutes, then you really should get in touch with your vet and make an appointment to have your cat viewed as shortly as doable. If they are shorter but again-to-back again, or they have extra than 1, you must acquire your cat to the veterinarian immediately.
Available Treatment Options For Cat Seizures In Older Cats
The good news is that seizures can be treated better with modern medicine than in the past. The treatment varies on the cause.
Seizures caused by toxins will require treatment through helping to remove the toxin from your cats body, potentially through hospitalization and medications. Toxic causes can be suspected by your veterinarian from a thorough history and sometimes through blood and urine testing.
When a cat has seizures from diseases outside of the brain, such as liver disease or hyperthyroidism, these conditions will need to be treated to stop the seizures. These diseases are often diagnosed through blood and urine tests and sometimes imaging such as ultrasound and radiographs.
When toxins and extracranial causes are eliminated, then your veterinarian will suspect something in the brain. Diagnostic tests such as blood and urine tests will usually be performed before advanced imaging. To see inside the skull, CT or MRI is required.
This is usually only available at referral hospitals. When a cause in the brain is suspected or confirmed, then specific treatment can be started. For example, if a brain tumor is found, then radiation therapy might be considered.
Where an exact cause isnt found or if seizures cant be managed, there is medication to help prevent seizures. Two examples include phenobarbital and imepitoin. These medications are long-term treatments and should not be stopped without a veterinarians advice.
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Clinical Signs Of Epileptic Seizures
It is important to be aware of 4 characteristic stages of epileptic seizure as it is helpful to differentiate them from nonepileptic seizures. The 4 stages are the prodrome, aura, ictus, and postictal stages. The prodrome is the least consistent. It precedes seizure onset, lasts hours to days, and usually includes restless activity and attentionseeking or anxious behavior.4Aura is a subjective initial feeling of the ictal event and without EEG, it is impossible to differentiate it from the prodrome in animals. It should be emphasized that aura is an ictal phenomenon and can precede an observable seizure. It might contain information about the initial localization of the ED. The ictus is the seizure event itself and is followed by the postictal stage. Postictal changes are more consistent in their presentation than prodrome or auras and can frequently give indications of whether the seizure event was epileptic. Different features have been frequently reported in cats such as aggression, polyphagia, polydipsia, blindness/deafness, and ataxia.4, 7 Clinical signs in the aura, ictus, and postictal stages can have diagnostic value in localizing the origin of the seizure in the brain, although this point needs to be further analyzed in cats.
How To Prevent Cat Seizures
In the vast majority of cases, there is no real way for pet owners to 100% prevent the development of seizures.
However, cat owners can ensure their felines health and well-being by scheduling regular checkups with their vet, staying implicitly aware of any changes in their cats behavior that they notice, and acting efficiently and appropriately whenever they have growing concerns about their cats health.
Additionally, cat owners can make sure that their feline stays far away from human medications as well as medications formulated for canines.
When it comes to preventing future seizures, a cat will typically undergo one to two weeks of anticonvulsant therapy, which is discontinued if the cat has no more seizures during that time. Continuous anticonvulsant therapy is usually recommended if seizures occur every 30 days , or if seizures last for more than five minutes.
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Causes Of Cat Seizures
It’s not always possible to determine the cause of seizures in cats. However, some common reasons for cat seizures include:
- Trauma to the head, for instance, if a cat falls from a high window or gets hit by a car
- Brain tumor, infection, or parasites, such as toxoplasmosis
- Ingestion of human medications, such as Advil or Tylenol
- Exposure to flea or tick medicine made for dogs but not safe for cats
Causes Of Seizures In Cats
Multiple conditions can interrupt brain functioning and lead to seizures, including:
- Head trauma
- High fever and infections
- Neurologic conditions such as epilepsy
We often see seizures in cats with diabetes. Cats with the disease can develop low blood sugar that triggers seizures, Mears says. Other common drivers of seizures in cats are infections that cause inflammation in the spinal cord or brain as well as tumors, especially in older cats.
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What Is Causing Cat Seizures In Older Cats
Cat seizures can be a symptom of many different health problems and the causes are often categorised as intracranial or extracranial .
Examples of intracranial causes include brain inflammation, tumours and trauma. Extracranial causes can include ingestion of toxins, kidney disease, liver disease, heart arrhythmias, disrupted blood sugar regulation and more. Older cats are more likely than younger cats to have a concurrent health problem such as those listed here.
A seizure may otherwise be idiopathic. This is more commonly diagnosed in younger cats and is when an underlying cause is not identified with the seizure occurring due to a malfunction within the brain that affects neurotransmission.
What Information Can I Provide To My Veterinarian To Help Determine The Cause Of Seizures In My Cat
Information about your catâs lifestyle and history may also be important, including:
- What age did the seizures begin and are they getting worse?
- Are the seizures intermittent or do they occur at regular intervals?
- What is the frequency and duration of seizures?
- Have you noticed any association between the seizures and sleep, excitement, feeding, etc.?
- Are there any other signs of illness such poor appetite, excessive drinking, reduced exercise, etc.?
- Has the cat received any medications or supplements recently, including any flea control products or over-the-counter deworming medicine?
- What diet and nutritional supplements are given?
- Has there been any access or exposure to poisons or toxins?
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Dealing With A Seizing Cat
It’s heartrending and difficult to watch your cat have a seizure. There are things you can do for her while she is experiencing a seizure and to help her afterward, VetInfo advises. During the episode, don’t attempt to move your cat, but do move furniture and other objects away from her. Other pets in the home should be kept away from your kitty while she is seizing.
Your cat’s head and tongue might jerk about involuntarily, but you shouldn’t try to “help” by placing an object in her mouth, such as a spoon, as you could be injured. As the seizure is subsiding and once it is over, speak to your kitty in a calm, relaxed tone. She will be disoriented and need reassurance.
Keep your vet apprised of the frequency and severity of your older cat’s seizures he will ask you to bring her in for medical attention if he thinks it’s necessary. This will also make the doctor aware of any changes in her health, and he can adjust her medication accordingly.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pets diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vets opinion.
Treatment Of Hyperthermia In Older Cats
When an older cat has hyperthermia, they must be treated effectively by cooling down the body. We can do this by moistening cloths and applying cold compresses, as well as using fluids to hydrate and cool their body internally. In some cases, additional drugs such as antiemetics, gastric protectors or others will be necessary. In the worst cases of shock, your cat will need to be hospitalized.
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How Is The Cause Of Your Cats Seizures Identified
Sometimes the immediate history of an affected cat will point to the cause , but in most cases, a detailed workup is needed to discover the reason for the seizure.
This may involve blood tests , urine and cerebrospinal fluid sampling, ultrasound, radiographs , and advanced imaging such as computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging to check for issues such as brain tumors or signs of head trauma.
In cats with idiopathic epilepsy, no abnormality will be detected in these tests: this is known as a diagnosis of exclusion for this reason. An accurate diagnosis of the cause of seizures is essential when deciding on treatment.
What Causes Seizures In Older Cats
- Fact Checked
Just like people, some pets will suffer from seizures throughout their lives. Of household pets, dogs are the most likely to have seizures, as many suffer from Idiopathic Epilepsy. But cats can suffer from seizures too especially older cats.
While Idiopathic Epilepsy is generally a lifelong condition that appears young in dogs and cats up to about 4 years of age for cats it is far less common in cats than it is in dogs. Only about 25% of cat seizures are attributed to Idiopathic Epilepsy.
Most seizures in cats are caused by brain disease and brain damage. Brain damage, of course, sounds scary. But not all brain damage is serious or life-threatening. Minor brain damage may be almost impossible to detect in cats but it can also lead to seizures.
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What Do Vets Give Cats For Seizures
Treatment. If your cat seizures while at your veterinarians office, he will be given injectable diazepam or phenobarbital. If seizures are severe enough, general anesthesia may be needed. If something other than epilepsy is determined to be the cause of the seizure, that underlying cause will be treated.
What To Do While A Cat Is Having A Seizure
Although a seizure is a frightening experience for any cat owner, it is important to try to remain calm and not to interfere. Ensure that the cat is not at risk of injuring itself, for example by falling down stairs or off furniture. When the cat starts a seizure, make a note of the time. Most seizures will stop on their own within one to three minutes, although it may take a few minutes to a few hours for the cat to completely recover. If a seizure lasts for a very long period of time , or is followed by other seizures close together , veterinary assistance should be immediately considered.
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Petit Mal Seizure & Grand Mal Seizures
There are two general types of epileptic seizures in cats: petit mal and grand mal.
Petit mal seizures do not cause convulsions. Typically, the cat will suddenly collapse into an unconscious state.
Grand mal seizures cause the cat to fall on their side and experience muscle convulsions. Grand mal seizures are diagnosed much more frequently than petit mal seizures.
Neither petit mal or grand mal seizures will cause your feline to experience any pain. However, they will often be confused and disoriented once the seizure passes.