Cats Can Also Suffer From Nervous System Disorders: An Overview Of Possible Neurological Diseases Of The Cat With The Most Common Symptoms.
Anyone who has chosen to adopt a cat knows how scary it can be to see your four-legged friend in the throes of convulsions or other symptoms of a neurological nature: diseases of the nervous system often have impressive manifestations and it is natural not to be indifferent when it happens. to assist you.
However, it is well known that cats can also get sick with neurological diseases just like humans: the feline central nervous system, in fact, is a complex network of nerves that send messages from the brain to every part of the body. Through the spinal cord, instructions from the brain reach the nerves, organs and muscles of the animal.
But what happens when something in the body interferes with the normal path of these signals? This is precisely the moment when a neurological problem occurs: in this article we deepen the neurological diseases in cats, with all the symptoms and possible treatments.
Neurological diseases in cats: what they are and how they are treated
Neurological disorders result from a disruption in the cat’s nervous system: if the problem is in the brain, it is possible that it manifests itself through fits of convulsions which can be very frightening for the caregiver. In other cases, however, milder symptoms may occur such as a somewhat uncertain and unstable gait or the malfunction of one or more legs.
Again, again depending on where the lesion is located, cats with neurological diseases can suffer from total or partial paralysis. But the symptoms of neurological problems are many: we analyze them in more detail in the following paragraph.
Symptoms of feline neurological diseases
As mentioned, the symptoms of a neurological disease in cats can vary depending on the location and cause of the injury. Obviously, the cat does not have the possibility of telling us if he feels dizzy, disoriented or depressed: for this reason it is essential to be able to recognize the physical signs of a nervous system disorder, in order to communicate them to the veterinarian for a faster and more precise diagnosis.
Some symptoms of feline neurological diseases are particularly evident, others may need more attention to be identified. Below is a list of the most common signals:
– seizures in cats,
– sudden blindness,
– inability to walk,
– ataxia (lopsided gait),
– partial or total paralysis,
– involuntary muscle contractions,
– the cat visibly trembles,
– the cat appears confused and disoriented,
– nystagmus (movements eyepieces),
– the cat tilts its head,
– the cat walks in a circle.
If you notice one or more of these symptoms in your cat, don’t hesitate to contact your vet immediately.
Diagnosis of neurological diseases
The vet is able to carry out a complete neurological evaluation: it all starts with a thorough medical history, in which the doctor will ask for in-depth information on the cat’s medical history and on the current situation and symptoms. A complete physical examination will follow, which includes measuring reflexes, inspecting the eyes, checking for signs of pain in the cat.
To deepen the diagnostic work, the veterinarian can perform other tests such as blood and urine tests, a thyroid test to rule out the presence of feline hyperthyroidism and other tests such as x- rays of the limbs and spine to highlight the presence of injuries. If necessary, the cat may be subjected to more complex imaging tests such as CT or MRI which could detect tumors or inflammation.
Ultimately, if your vet is trying to diagnose one of the possible neurological diseases in the cat, he or she may request a spinal brain fluid sample to detect any signs of infection, traces of blood, or other abnormal cells.
Care and treatment
Once the diagnosis of neurological disease has been obtained, it will be possible to work towards the cure and treatment of the specific problem. The possibilities are different based on the diagnosis, the causes, the physical symptoms that the disease entails. Let’s see which are the most suitable treatments based on possible common cases:
– If the cat suffers from epilepsy and convulsions, he will have real attacks during which he will lose control of his body. The most obvious symptoms are: spasms, convulsions, involuntary urination or defecation. Feline epilepsy can be managed with drugs: here are the tips for administering medicines to the cat.
– If the cat has meningitis or encephalitis, it is in both cases an inflammation: meningitis affects the membrane that lines the brain and spinal cord, encephalitis is inflammation of the brain. They can also occur simultaneously (meningoencephalitis). To reduce inflammation, the vet will prescribe cortisone medications or even antibiotics, antifungals, and antiparasitics depending on the nature of the inflammation.
– If the cat has vestibular disease, pressure occurs on the nerves that control the vestibular system in the ear canals. The cat will suffer from dizziness and will move as if drunk, also exhibiting a tilt of the head and rapid eye movements. This disease can result from a severe ear infection or tumor, and treatment depends on the cause: often the cat will need ear drops and oral medications.
– If the cat has cognitive dysfunction, one of the most common diseases in older cats, we may find it difficult to remember where the litter box, bowl or even the way home is. Cognitive dysfunction, similar to human senile dementia, is a disease with no cure and can be slowed down by some medications and dietary supplements.
– If the cat has a herniated disc, it is likely that he is in severe pain. In some cases, paralysis may occur that prevents the cat from walking. If in mild form, this spinal pathology can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants but in severe cases surgery will be required.
– If your cat has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, it may suffer from some neurological problems such as seizures, lack of coordination, blindness and behavioral changes. In this case, if the tumor is benign it is usually possible to remove it with surgery and the cat quickly returns to its normal life. If the tumor is malignant, unfortunately the prognosis is usually not good and the only option is palliative care to manage chronic pain in the cat.