What does a cat seizure look like?

Seeing a cat convulsing is frightening for pet owners. Due to the brain’s abnormal electrical activity, seizures can trigger disturbing behaviours such as throwing foreign objects, drooling, and chewing teeth. But fortunately, although it may seem scary, it’s not always a medical emergency. Read on to find out why cats have seizures and what to do if they do.

Causes of cat seizure

Feline seizures fall into two categories. There are intracranial seizures, which are caused by something inside the skull, and extracranial seizures, which occur outside the skull.

Causes of intracranial attacks include:

  • brain tumour
  • brain infection
  • brain damage and inflammation
  • Brain parasites such as toxoplasmosis

Extracranial seizures can be caused by:

  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Exposure to flea or tick products that are not intended for cats
  • swallowing human medicine
  • heatstroke
  • Epidemic
  • Hypertension

Cats may have seizures due to epilepsy. This means that the cause of the seizure is unknown.

Signs & Symptoms of a Cat Seizure

Cat seizures can take many forms. Generalized or grand mal seizures can include convulsions, limb rigidity or paddling, loss of consciousness, abnormal vocalization and loss of urinary or bowel control. Grand mal seizures can occur alone or in clusters and typically last a minute or two. If a seizure lasts longer than five to 10 minutes then it`s called “status epilepticus,” and is a medical emergency; you should take your cat for emergency veterinary care immediately. However, you should take your cat to see your vet following any seizure just to get a full checkup and diagnosis.

Other types of seizures, such as absence seizures or partial seizures, in which cats may show tail tracking, aggression, shadow tracking in orbit, are very rare.

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What should I do if my cat has seizures?

Seizures are rarely a medical emergency unless your cat has epilepsy, so you don’t need to go to an emergency centre right away. If your cat has seizures but stops after a minute or two, you should contact your veterinarian to make an appointment with your cat as soon as possible. Short but close to each other or if there are multiple cats you should take your cat to the veterinarian immediately.

Cat Seizure Treatment

If your cat has an epilepsy condition, the veterinary team will provide emergency care. This may include inserting a vein catheter, administering anticonvulsants, and collecting blood and urine samples for analysis.

If seizures are rare, your cat may not need medication, but if seizures occur more frequently than every 6 to 8 weeks, treatment may be necessary to prevent further brain damage.

If the cause of seizures is unknown, cats may be treated with medications to control the frequency and severity of seizures. Single short-term seizures may not require treatment, but seizures that recur at frequent intervals are usually treated with long-term anticonvulsants. For seizures that rarely occur, long-term drugs are usually not prescribed because these drugs have side effects.

If your seizures are due to toxicity, you need to clear the toxin from your body. This may include bathing the cat if topical flea remedies containing pyrethrin have been used, making the cat vomit if ingested with the toxin, and administering certain medications to neutralize the effects of the toxin.

The relationship between cat seizure and diet

If your cat has seizure problems, your veterinarian or veterinary dietitian should evaluate their diet. If your cat suffers from a physical illness that can cause seizures, such as liver or kidney disease, proper nutrition can help reduce the effects these diseases have on the brain.

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All cats, including those with seizures or neurological symptoms, can benefit from a complete, balanced diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids unless your veterinarian tells you otherwise.

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