A seizure is a sudden, uncontrollable and often violent thrashing of the body. More specifically a seizure is the involuntary contraction of the muscles of the body. A seizure is a sign that something is very wrong in the body and if your cat has even just one seizure he/she should be taken to the vet immediately. If your vet doesn’t seem to be knowledgeable about seizures in felines you may want to find another vet or a vet who specializes in neurology.
Cats can have seizures for a variety of reasons including: injury to the head, disease, infection, tumor, allergy, epilepsy and poisoning. Thus it is important to get to the reason behind the seizure as most causes of seizures can and should be treated. Seizures are also dangerous in and of themselves as the animal can choke and hurt him/herself during the seizure.
There are many different types of seizures. You can help your vet to determine the type of seizure and thus better enable him/her to find the cause by telling him/her as much as you can about the seizure and your cat’s medical history. When your cat has a seizure make sure to take note of every detail including:
- how would you describe the body motion during the seizure
- was the body twisting at all (if so which limbs)
- were the muscles twitching (if so where)
- what body parts were moving
- how rigid were the limbs during the seizure
- were the eyes dilated and/or were they still moving
- was your cat salivating or foaming at the mouth
- how long did the seizure last
- was there a change in consciousness
- what were the cat’s breathing patterns during the seizure
- was there a loss of bladder or bowel control
Your vet should perform a full neurological exam as well as taking some blood to test for illness including FIP, FeLV, FIV, liver functionality, and toxoplasmosis. Your vet may also want to take some spinal fluid or perform at CT Scan or MRI. Seizure and epilepsy in cats is rare and thus many vets are not very familiar with it. If your vet doesn’t seem as if he/she knows a lot about seizures find another vet or a specialist to help you and your pet.
Based on the cause of the seizure your vet will treat the underlying reason appropriately. If the cause is idiopathic epilepsy (epilepsy of unknown origin) then your vet may prescribe anti-convulsant medications (many cats are prescribed phenobarbital).