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My Cat is Having a Seizure

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There are few issues extra distressing than witnessing a cat within the throes of a seizure. Happily, feline seizure issues are a lot much less widespread in comparison with the canine inhabitants, however once they do happen, remedy could also be difficult.

What’s a seizure?

The terminology concerning seizures could be complicated. Seizures (generally referred to as convulsions or suits) outcome from a sudden, uncontrolled surge within the electrical exercise of the mind.

If we will discover no discernible purpose for the seizure, we name this main or idiopathic epilepsy. Idiopathic epilepsy is a typical inherited dysfunction in canine however is never identified in cats.

Secondary epilepsy is characterised by seizures which have some identifiable, underlying trigger, akin to irritation, trauma or most cancers. Secondary epilepsy is extra widespread in cats in comparison with canine.

Attempting to show that a cat has main (idiopathic) epilepsy could be troublesome. Affected cats will check regular on bodily and neurological examination, together with subtle assessments akin to CT scan and/or MRI. The analysis is reached by excluding all different causes of seizures. Metabolic issues (liver illness, for instance), toxicities (likelead or pesticides), infectious ailments (akin to feline leukemia virus, feline immunodeficiency virus, feline infectious peritonitis and toxoplasmosis), mind tumors and parasitic issues of the mind are all potential causes of seizures in cats.

Seizures can be characterised by sort.

Generalized seizures have an effect on your entire physique and are what we sometimes image once we take into consideration epilepsy: the cat falling on her aspect, shedding consciousness, gnashing her tooth, salivating, paddling all 4 limbs and generally urinating and/or defecating. That is sometimes called a grand mal seizure. Partial or focal seizures come up from a extra localized space ofthe mind and will have an effect on an remoted physique half or components.

Analysis and remedy of feline seizures

To differentiate whether or not a cat has main versus secondary epilepsy, your veterinarian will take an intensive historical past and carry out a complete bodily examination and neurologic examination, together with a funduscopic examination (analysis of each retinas). An entire blood rely, serum biochemistry panel, urinalysis and analysis for infectious illness must be carried out. If the neurologic examination reveals any deficits, further procedures, akin to a spinal faucet and superior imaging assessments (CT scan or MRI) are suggested. Session with a board-certified veterinary neurologist could also be warranted, as many of those assessments will must be carried out at a referral middle.

Therapy of seizure issues must be aimed on the underlying trigger, if doable. For instance, if liver illness has led to seizures, remedy of the liver illness might scale back or get rid of the seizures. Normally, nonetheless, both an underlying trigger can’t be recognized (main epilepsy), or the trigger might not be treatable (for instance, some mind tumors). In these instances, anticonvulsant drugs could also be warranted. The overall consensus concerning anticonvulsant remedy is that it must be administered if seizures happen extra incessantly than as soon as a month, if the cat begins to have cluster seizures (a couple of seizures inside a brief time period) or if the proprietor strongly needs to deal with the seizures whatever the frequency.

Full elimination of the seizures shouldn’t be a sensible objective. The objective is to lower the frequency of the seizures, scale back their severity and enhance the standard of life for each the cat and the proprietor. Phenobarbital stays the first-choice anticonvulsant in cats. It’s efficient and usually thought of protected; nonetheless, cats might often expertise adversarial results akin to sedation, elevated urge for food (leading to weight achieve), or extreme thirst and urination.

For cats who don’t tolerate or reply properly to phenobarbital, diazepam (Valium) is normally the second selection of most veterinarians. In contrast to epileptic canine that turn into refractory to remedy with diazepam over time, epileptic cats stay conscious of the drug, and seizures turn into pretty well-controlled. Antagonistic results in some cats embody unacceptable sedation and elevated urge for food and weight achieve. A number of studies have additionally documented extreme liver toxicity in a couple of cats receiving diazepam.

Though most cats reply to phenobarbital and/or diazepam, a couple of cats present a poor response, necessitating using different drugs. Levetiracetam (model identify Keppra) and zonisamide (model identify Zonegran) are newer anticonvulsants which have proven optimistic results in treating feline seizures. I’ve personally handled a number of cats with these newer medication, and all have responded properly. Usually, these drugs are given along with the phenobarbital and/or diazepam. As soon as the seizures come beneath management, it could be doable to slowly and thoroughly wean the cat off of the preliminary drugs, sustaining management solely with the brand new drug. Therapy with anticonvulsant medication is a lifelong dedication.

Seizure issues in cats stay a problem for many veterinarians and cat house owners. Happily, most cats reply properly to treatment, and newer drugs have elevated our choices for remedy of this irritating situation.


In the event you witness your cat having a seizure, don’t panic. Do the next:

Pay attention to the time the seizure started. The length of most seizures is 30 seconds to 2 minutes (though it’s going to really feel as if it’s lasting eternally).
Clear away any objects that the cat would possibly hit through the seizure, akin to furnishings, if doable. Defend her from stairs and water.
Airway obstruction by the tongue hardly ever happens; due to this fact,
don’t try to carry the cat’s mouth open or closed through the seizure — you’ll absolutely lose a finger that method.
Seize a lightweight blanket or towel and maintain it over the cat, offering mild restraint. It’s common for cats to vocalize or stumble after a seizure, so don’t be alarmed when you see this.
If a cat experiences a single, quick seizure, she ought to see a veterinarian as quickly as sensible.
If, nonetheless, the seizure lasts longer than three or 4 minutes, or the cat has had a number of seizures in a 24-hour interval, the cat must be taken to an emergency clinic for instant analysis.


  • Adam Johanson

    Adam Johanson is an animal lover and a blogger at Panelpets. He writes regularly regarding pets and how to take care of them, as well as general news stories about animals. When he isn't writing, Adam can usually be found playing with his two dogs or cuddling his cat.