Dysautonomia is a condition that causes a malfunction in the autonomic nervous system. Dysautonomia affects both dogs and cats, but it is more common in dogs than in cats.
Dysautonomia is a condition that causes a malfunction in the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system controls involuntary body functions, such as breathing and sweating. Dysautonomia can cause dysfunction in these body functions, resulting in sweating that is either excessive or not, extreme fatigue or weakness, headaches, dizziness, and fainting spells. Pet medications like bethanechol are generally used, with a dosage of 1–2.5 mg, PO, two to three times a day to treat the condition.
The Autonomic Nervous System
The autonomic nervous system controls involuntary body functions. It is a subdivision of the peripheral nervous system and includes neurons that respond to internal and external stimuli.
The autonomic nervous system can be divided into two parts: sympathetic and parasympathetic. When you are stressed out or in danger, your sympathetic nervous system gets activated and triggers the fight or flight response, which causes your heart rate to increase so that you can run away from danger quickly.
The Types Of Dysautonomia
The most common types of dysautonomia are:
? Cholinergic dysautonomia, also known as paraneoplastic autonomic neuropathy. It damages the nerves that control the sweat glands and blood vessels. The symptoms can include a dry mouth, an inability to swallow correctly, abnormal third eyelid movement, and constipation.
? Sympathetic dysautonomia (also called neurally mediated syncope). This type of disorder affects the part of the nervous system that controls blood pressure and heart rate. Symptoms include lightheadedness caused by standing up quickly or coughing, fainting, nausea or vomiting, sweating without exertion, difficulty urinating, and slow heart rate when lying down.
Cats With Dysautonomia
Cats with dysautonomia develop signs when they are young, usually between 4 to 6 months of age. A genetic mutation causes it in the gene coding for an enzyme called adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-sensitive potassium channel (KCNH2), which controls the action potentials of neurons in the autonomic nervous system.
The first sign of feline dysautonomia in cats is often an increase in body temperature during exercise or excitement; however, some cats do not become symptomatic until adulthood because they may inherit two normal copies of KCNH2 instead one mutated copy with no effect on its function until later years.
The Common Symptom Of Dysautonomia
The most common symptom of dysautonomia is abnormal third eyelid movement. The third eyelid is a membrane that covers the eye, and it usually moves up and down to protect the eye from injury or irritation.
In someone with dysautonomia, however, the third eyelid stays closed all the time because of abnormally low levels of norepinephrine in the brain. Vets may prescribe eye drops for cats and dogs to help with the movement of the lid with extra lubrication and reduce dryness.
Another Common Symptom Of Dysautonomia
The inability to swallow correctly is a common symptom of dysautonomia. This can be caused by an inability to coordinate the muscles involved in swallowing, which can result from damage to the cranial nerve that controls these functions.
The resulting condition is called dysphagia and may cause food or liquid to go down the airway instead of your esophagus. This can lead to coughing and choking episodes. Pet medications like Theophylline for dogs can help relieve the symptoms.
Some Other Symptoms
Other symptoms include anorexia, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, and weight loss. Vomiting and anorexia are caused by dysautonomia because it disturbs the coordination between the brain and stomach muscles, resulting in a loss of appetite. Apart from other treatments, there are several pet medications like Cerenia for dogs and cats or Diphenhydramine for dogs to help with symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.
Constipation can occur when there’s too much fluid in the body or if your pet has low levels of electrolytes. You can consult your vet to prescribe diets like Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach to help your pet with stomach issues.
In conclusion, dysautonomia is a condition that causes a malfunction in the autonomic nervous system. The most common symptom of dysautonomia is abnormal third eyelid movement. Other symptoms include anorexia, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, and dehydration. Constipation is caused by feline dysautonomia because it disturbs the coordination between colon muscle contractions and the brain resulting in prolonged transit time.