Common Neurological Disorders in Cats Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Feline Neurological Disorders

BY | January 04 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
Common Neurological Disorders in Cats

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Neurological disorders can take a toll on your catโ€™s quality of life and longevity. Learn more about the common illnesses that affect them and ways to prevent/treat them.

Cats are beloved companions and members of the family, but just like humans, they can suffer from various neurological disorders. These disorders can range from minor to severe and can have a significant impact on a cat's quality of life.

In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for these and other neurological disorders that can affect our feline friends. Understanding these conditions can help pet owners recognize the signs and seek timely medical treatment for their cats.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral disease that kills 1 in 100 to 300 cats. It is caused by the feline coronavirus, which is a common virus that affects cats and is usually benign. However, in some cases, the virus can mutate and cause FIP.

FIP usually affects younger cats and is more common in cats that are immunocompromised or have compromised immune systems due to other health conditions. The virus is typically spread through close contact with infected cats, such as through shared food and water bowls or through respiratory secretions.

Symptoms of FIP can vary, but common signs include fever, weight loss, loss of appetite, and abdominal swelling. Other symptoms may include eye discharge, jaundice, and difficulty breathing.

There is no specific treatment for FIP, and the disease is often fatal. However, supportive care, such as fluids and nutritional support, can help improve a cat's quality of life and may extend its lifespan. The vet may prescribe Prednisone for cats or other interferon-based medicines. Sometimes, they also prescribe additional immunosuppressive medicines. It is important to work closely with a veterinarian to manage the symptoms and provide the best possible care for an infected cat.

Feline Leukoencephalomyelitis (FLE)

Feline leukoencephalomyelitis (FLE) is a neurological disorder that affects the brain and spinal cord of cats. It is caused by a viral infection, most commonly by the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) or the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). These viruses are transmitted through close contact with infected cats, such as through shared food and water bowls or through respiratory secretions.

Symptoms of FLE can vary, but common signs include difficulty walking, weakness or paralysis in the hind legs, and tremors or seizures. Some cats may also experience changes in behavior, such as increased aggression or confusion.

Treatment for FLE typically involves supportive care, such as medications to control seizures and other symptoms, and physical therapy to help improve mobility. In some cases, cats may need to be hospitalized for intensive treatment. It is important to work closely with a veterinarian to manage the symptoms and provide the best possible care for a cat with FLE.

Preventing FLE is the best way to protect cats from this disorder. This can be done through vaccination against FeLV and FIV, as well as avoiding close contact with infected cats.

Feline Idiopathic Vestibular Disease

Feline idiopathic vestibular disease, also known as feline vestibular syndrome, is a neurological disorder that affects the vestibular system in cats. The vestibular system is responsible for maintaining balance and coordination and is located in the inner ear.

Feline idiopathic vestibular disease is a common condition in cats, and it can affect cats of any age. The cause of the disorder is often unknown, but it may be triggered by an infection or inflammation in the inner ear.

Symptoms of feline idiopathic vestibular disease can vary, but common signs include sudden onset of head tilt, difficulty walking or loss of balance, and rapid eye movements. Some cats may also experience nausea or vomiting.

Treatment for feline idiopathic vestibular disease typically involves supportive care, such as medications to control nausea and other symptoms, and physical therapy to help improve mobility. In some cases, cats may need to be hospitalized for intensive treatment. It is important to work closely with a veterinarian to manage the symptoms and provide the best possible care for a cat with this condition.

Most cats with feline idiopathic vestibular disease make a full recovery, although some may have permanent balance issues. It is important to provide a safe and supportive environment for a cat with this condition, as they may be more prone to falls or accidents.

Vertebral And Spinal Cord Tumors

Vertebral and spinal cord tumors are abnormal growths that can occur in the spine of cats. These tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), and they can occur at any age, although they are more common in older cats.

The cause of vertebral and spinal cord tumors in cats is often unknown, but they may be more common in certain breeds, such as Siamese and Persians.

Symptoms of vertebral and spinal cord tumors in cats can vary, depending on the location and size of the tumor. Common signs include difficulty walking or paralysis, loss of bladder or bowel control, and changes in behavior or personality. Some cats may also experience pain or discomfort.

Treatment for vertebral and spinal cord tumors typically involves surgery to remove the tumor, as well as chemotherapy or radiation therapy to kill any remaining cancer cells. It is important to work closely with a veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment for a cat with this condition.

Preventing vertebral and spinal cord tumors in cats is not possible, but early detection and treatment can improve a cat's chances of recovery. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian and monitoring for any changes in a cat's health can help identify any potential problems early on.

Intracranial Meningioma

Intracranial meningioma is a type of brain tumor that affects cats. Meningiomas are benign tumors that arise from the meninges, which are the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.

Intracranial meningiomas are more common in older cats, and they can occur in any breed. The cause of these tumors is often unknown, but they may be more common in certain breeds, such as Siamese and Persians.

Symptoms of intracranial meningioma in cats can vary, depending on the size and location of the tumor. Common signs include difficulty walking or balance issues, changes in behavior or personality, and seizures. Some cats may also experience vision changes or head tilt.

Treatment for intracranial meningioma typically involves surgery to remove the tumor, as well as follow-up care to monitor for any recurrence. 

In some cases, radiation therapy may be recommended to kill any remaining cancer cells. It is important to work closely with a veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment for a cat with this condition.

Preventing intracranial meningioma in cats is not possible, but early detection and treatment can improve a cat's chances of recovery. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian and monitoring for any changes in a cat's health can help identify any potential problems early on.

Feline Ischemic Encephalopathy (FIE)

Feline ischemic encephalopathy is a rare neurological disorder that affects cats and is caused by Cuterebra spp larva migrating to the cat’s brain. It is characterized by a lack of blood flow to the brain, which can lead to damage to brain tissue and neurological symptoms. The most common symptoms of feline ischemic encephalopathy include changes in behavior, such as lethargy, confusion, or disorientation; difficulty walking or standing; and seizures.

The cause of feline ischemic encephalopathy is often unknown, but it may be caused by a variety of factors, including blockages in the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain, inflammation of the blood vessels, or blood clotting disorders. It can also be a complication of other medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or heart disease.

Treatment for feline ischemic encephalopathy may involve medications to improve blood flow to the brain, as well as supportive care to manage symptoms and prevent further damage to the brain. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove blockages or repair damaged blood vessels. Some veterinarians may prescribe Ivermectin injection to kill the Cuterebra spp larva present in the brain. Killing the parasite in the brain might trigger an encephalitic reaction, so vets might administer Diphenhydramine and Dexamethasone injections together. 

It is important to consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible if you suspect that your cat may be suffering from feline ischemic encephalopathy, as early treatment can greatly improve the chances of a successful outcome.

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