Seeing your pet cat suffering from seizures can be very upsetting. Feline epilepsy is a recurring disorder. A seizure is a serious health issue and needs proper medical care and attention. A complete and proper diagnosis can identify the causes and help determine the correct course of treatment, even though it may be slightly expensive. Once the underlying reason for seizures in cats is identified the vet can chart out the proper course of treatment.
Appropriate and correct information about the illness will help a number of cat owners to learn and understand the ailment that their feline friend is suffering from and aid in quick treatment.
What is a Seizure?
Seizures in cats happen when there is an unusual electrochemical activity occurring in the brain. Seizures can happen as a one off incident, a series of seizures over a period of time or even occur once every week or a few times in a month. A single seizure in cats can last for a short duration. The most visible signs of seizure are foaming near the mouth, champing and chewing, shaking of the legs and loss of stool and urine. The cat loses his consciousness for a shot period and slowly returns to normalcy.
Some seizures in cats can be very unusual and displays some very strange and extreme behavioral patterns like hysteria. Such a cat can bite, scratch and chew itself, its owner or even other pet animals. Acute poisoning is one of the main reasons for seizures in cats. A head injury due to an accident can also result in seizures in cats, but it appears several weeks after the incident caused due to the scaring of the brain tissue. Stroke and metabolic disorder is also known to trigger seizures.
Main cause of Seizure in cats
One of the prime reasons for seizures is head injury which may have caused longtime ago and your cat has already recovered from it without showing any symptoms. Outside influences like severe trauma, any defect or imbalance in the neurochemicals in the brain causes the nerves in the brain to function in an unusual manner leading to seizures. Some of the known causes of seizures are high blood glucose levels, congenital defects, less oxygen in the blood due to any underlying heart issue or anemia, liver disorder, kidney disorder, tumor of the brain, exposure to harmful toxins like chocolate, lead or antifreeze, high fever, hyperthermia, damage to the brain from severe head injury and harmful medications.
How to care for your cat when it is suffering from seizures?
If your cat is suffering from seizure, utmost care should be taken to ensure there is no injury. Usually a seizure in cats lasts for a short period. Make sure you are near your feline friend at that time. Take him to a vet immediately after the seizures and describe in detail all the visible signs. Be calm and do not panic. Your cat may be unconscious and you might get bitten or scratched in the process. Keep your cat away from harmful objects as there is always a possibility of them getting injured. If you have any other pets around, keep them away from your cat as they tend to be curious and can be pretty upset with the events.
Immediately after the seizure your cat may feel disoriented and will not recognize you. Cats may unknowingly attack or try to run away after the episode. If you notice that your cat’s seizure is not stopping or if he is suffering from cluster seizures, then you need to immediately take him to a vet for proper medical care.
If your cat is still experiencing seizures at the vets table, then he will be immediately administered diazepam or Phenobarbital to immediately end the seizure for a detailed examination. Diagnosis is fully based on your observation of the ailment and the information you provide to the vet. Keep a calendar of events to keep track of the seizures in a month as it will help in proper diagnosis. Your vet will want to know a number of things about your cat based on your observation like your pet’s behavior before, during and after the seizure.
Tests are conducted to identify the cause of the ailment and these include blood and urine tests and x-rays if required. Cerebrospinal fluid is tested to check the causes, sometimes a MRI or CT scan may also be done as a tool for diagnosis.
Treatment for Seizures in Cats
If your cat is suffering from a seizure, cover it with a blanket and stay close to the animal and observe the symptoms. Never put anything between the teeth of your cat. Cats are not in control of themselves during this time which will result in you getting bit. Once the cat is normal, take him to the vet immediately. Series of seizures lasting more than five minutes can be very dangerous for your cat, which can lead to severe brain damage. To stop this continuous seizure, your vet may have to administer Valium. A mild seizure does not require a long-term treatment, but you need to inform your vet about the incident, its duration and time.
Recurrent seizures or cluster seizures can be controlled by long-term medications, but idiopathic epilepsy has no cure. Drugs that are used to treat humans and dogs suffering from the same problem like valium and diazepam is used to treat seizures in cats. These medications should be given only under close supervision of your vet as they are toxic for cats. To reduce toxic effects, regular blood tests need to be done.
Preventing Seizures from occurring
Seizures cannot be completely prevented even if your cat is diagnosed with epilepsy and is undergoing treatment for the disorder. The best option would be to limit the severity by sticking to the predictable and safe schedule.
Is any particular breed of cat more vulnerable to seizures?
Seizures can occur to all breeds of cats and is not limited to a particular breed of cat. It can be passed on from one generation to another hence such cats are not preferred for the breeding program. Usually a seizure starts in cats of 1-4 months age.
Seizures in cats cannot be avoided, but with proper care and medication the severity can be controlled to a large extent to prevent any further damage. Your cat may be less active and depressed after the seizure and to minimize its pain you have to spend time with them. Make sure you provide good medical care and attention.