Feline Epilepsy is as common in the animal as epilepsy is in humans, and may have the same symptoms and causes. It can be a frightening experience to see your beloved cat acting strangely or thrashing about on the floor, but understanding the condition can help, and your pet healthcare provider can possibly alleviate the symptoms. There are no definitive answers as to why cats acquire epilepsy, but there are conditions that the animal may have that can trigger such an epileptic fit.
Here is a list of common medical issues that may contribute to feline epilepsy:
•Cat Fever, hyperthermia, or fever caused by infection
• Poisoning from toxins such as antifreeze or lead
• Cat Diabetes or possible tumor on the pancreas
• Anemia or blood disorders contributing to lack of oxygen to the brain
• Cat Allergies and allergic reactions to medication, or the medications themselves
• Congenital defects or even a diagnosis of primary epilepsy
Types of Seizures
There are different classifications of seizure in cats, and each type can be caused by a certain condition. A partial seizure can be the result of lesions on the brain, in which only part of the body’s musculature is affected. One half of the animal may twitch, or become useless, during the activity. This type of seizure is unsettling to witness, especially when the pet was fine for years. Strange behavior such as eyes wandering or legs not working on one side of the body is evident of this kind of paroxysm.
Grand Mal vs. Petit Mal
A whole body experience is more common in general seizure activity, such as grand mal or petit mal convulsions. In grand mal, the animal may wander around aimlessly at first, eyes not focusing and making strange noises. Sudden onset can follow, with the whole body falling over and limbs beginning to twitch or paddle. In petit mal, the cat may stop whatever it was doing and lower its head, eyes looking strange and distant, followed by the cat collapsing in unconsciousness. Petit mal normally has no spasms, but the animal may stay asleep for several hours.
During a grand mal epileptic convulsion, there is not much you can do to stop it. It can be rather frightening to see your pet paddling its legs and spitting while lying on its side. The eyes might be tightly shut or open and rolling, but be assured, the animal is not really conscious during the seizure, so it feels no pain or discomfort.
First Aid and Treatment
For first aid during the convulsions, NEVER put anything in your cat’s mouth. Cats will not “swallow” their tongue, and you may just end up with a nasty bite. Make sure your cat is comfortable, putting a towel or other soft item under its head to prevent bumping. If the fit goes on for more than thirty minutes, you should call your pet healthcare provider and see about bringing your cat into the emergency room.
Epilepsy in felines is indeed an unsettling condition to witness, but it does not have to mean your pet is “damaged” or unfit for love. The convulsions may have been the result of the conditions touched on above, and may only be temporary. Proper diagnoses and even medications may help alleviate further symptoms and attacks. Talking with your veterinarian can help shed light upon your beloved cat’s condition, and help relieve you of worry.