Facial nerve paralysis in cats: causes, symptoms, treatment

Facial nerve paralysis in cats: a pathology that can affect our furry friend. Here are the causes and symptoms that should not be underestimated.

Taking care of a four-legged friend also means observing the physical and behavioral changes that the feline can suddenly present, in order to understand when our furry friend is not well.

There are many diseases that can affect felines, among these we can also find a paralysis of the facial nerve in the cat . In this article we will see what are the causes, symptoms and treatment of this disorder.

Facial nerve paralysis in cats: causes and symptoms

The paralysis of the facial nerve , i.e of the seventh cranial nerve, occurs when there is damage to the latter. The seventh cranial nerve has the function of moving the eyes, eyelids, ears and snout of our four-legged friend.

When this nerve presents a paralysis , which can be unilateral (affects only one side) or bilateral (affects the right and left side), the Cat will have difficulty carrying out the various movements and performing daily actions, such as eating.

But how can we understand that our four-legged friend was suffering from facial nerve palsy? The main symptoms to observe to understand if Micio has this pathology are the following:

  • Difficulty eating
  • Lowering of the ears
  • Head tilted towards the affected side
  • Unusual size of the cat’s pupils 
  • Ocular discharge
  • Inability to blink
  • Spasms of the face

In the event that the cat presents such symptoms, it would be advisable to take the feline to the veterinarian , who with the necessary tests will be able to accept the presence of this pathology and will be able to investigate the possible cause that caused it.

The main causes of facial nerve palsy in cats are:

  • Polyneuropathy in the feline 
  • Central nervous system inflammation
  • Neuromuscular disorder
  • Ear infection
  • Injuries
  • Cancer
  • Surgical intervention
  • Idiopathic (causeless)

Facial nerve paralysis in cats: diagnosis and treatment

Veterinary examination is essential to diagnose facial nerve palsy in cats .

Through a careful physical examination and an excellent medical history, the specialist will be able to make an accurate diagnosis. In addition, the vet will also subject the small hairball to other tests such as:

  • Complete neurological examination;
  • Urine analysis;
  • X-rays;
  • CT scan;
  • Complete blood count
  • Biochemical examination;
  • Otoscopic examination;
  • Schirmer’s tear test;
  • Electromyography.

Finally, our four-legged friend could also be hospitalized to be monitored carefully. Once the disease has been diagnosed, the vet will think about its treatment , which will depend exclusively on the cause that caused it.

Depending on the cause, the specialist will prescribe medications , artificial tears , an ear operation or electroacupuncture (useful for soothing weak muscles).

If the cause of the paralysis is not determined, then it is an idiopathic paralysis, unfortunately there is no therapy that can treat it.

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