Cat Seizures

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Tess Thompson



Seizures in animals are a neurological problem that is mostly caused by epilepsy or a brain tumor. Feline epilepsy is the most common cause of seizures in cats. The cat can get confused or bewildered due to the seizures, but occurrences of such convulsions do not cause any pain, despite the dramatic signs that are displayed. However, if a seizure continues for more than a few minutes, it can lead to hyperthermia (abnormally high body temperature) and trigger another set of problems.

Cats are more susceptible to Complex Partial Seizures (CPS) than generalized convulsions. Complex Partial Seizures are epileptic attacks that involve greater damage to awareness and consciousness than simple convulsions.

During the period immediately preceding a seizure, the cat is likely to appear nervous, hide, or look for the owner. This normally lasts for a few seconds. During the actual seizure (which may last from a couple of seconds to about five minutes), all the muscles in the cat’s body contract. It is likely that the cat will fall by his side with the head drawn backwards, and appear as if a paralytic attack has occurred. Involuntary urination and defecation is common during seizures. If a feline seizure does not pass within five minutes, it is indicative of prolonged epilepsy, which is characterized by continuing attacks without intervals of consciousness. This can lead to brain damage and ultimately death.

Cats continue to behave abnormally even after the seizure is over. During the post-seizure period there may be confusion, disorientation, salivation, restlessness or temporary loss of vision. However, the severity of the seizure and the duration of post-seizure symptoms are not related to each other.

If the cat is at ground level, there is little chance of the cat hurting himself. Cats, however, like to perch themselves on higher platforms. If you perceive a pre-seizure stage, it is important that preventative measures are taken to avoid the cat falling down and becoming injured.

In most cases, there is an underlying cause behind feline seizures. Proper diagnosis is expensive and may take some time before any medicine can be prescribed. When you present a cat that has suffered a seizure to a veterinarian, a battery of tests along with a physical and neurological examination is likely to ensue. The laboratory tests may include one or all of the following to help in understanding whether the episode was actually a seizure and to establish a cause, if one exists:

  • Complete blood count
  • Serum chemistry profile
  • Urinalysis
  • Bile tests
  • Thyroid function tests

The veterinarian may also ask you to keep a record of future seizures, if any, and note the severity, timing, length and recovery of each seizure, along with any changes that may have occurred in the cat’s diet or environment. Despite this, feline seizures continue to baffle most veterinarians. Many episodes of seizures are due to epilepsy, and anticonvulsant drugs provide only symptomatic treatment without addressing the underlying cause.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epilepsy_in_animals http://www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/seizures.html http://www.thedogbowl.com/PPF/category_ID/0_135/dogbowl.asp http://home.howstuffworks.com/how-to-treat-a-cats-convulsions-seizure.htm

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