Motion, Balance and Vestibular Problems in Cats


Unexplained lameness in cats

Question: Dear Dr. Mike, I have been using your site as a fantastic resource during my work as a cat rescuer and adoption counselor. I finally suscribed because I can't imagine what people would do without it. Unfortunately I have hit a medical mystery and I need your specific help. I am actually getting ready to take my cat to Virginia Tech for consult with a specialist but don't like going in blind because then I can't be an effective advocate for him.

Cheddar is about two and half years old. He is an orange tabby male, but not the mellow laid back type. He is a bit tempermental (when he doesn't like something he pees on the couch or clothes on the floor (or even the bed). He also has a sensitive stomach, tentatively IBD, which I control with bland food (chicken and brown rice based and not a lot of ingredients). He also has freckles (not sure it matters).

The current problem developed in July shortly before we moved from Houston to Charlottesville. Cheddar began to favor his front left leg. My vet examined him twice and didn't find anything wrong with him and couldn't even get a pain response. We concluded that he had tweaked something and was still limping for more attention. (At the time I had more than a half dozen fosters). After moving to Charlottesville, he got worse and worse. (Now just him and his brother). Only on the third examination with the vet did Cheddar admit to being in pain. (Prior to that I could only tell what was going at home). It was his left leg that he couldn't bear weight on. The pad on his right paw was swollen and dry from caring all his weight all the time. X rays revealed nothing as well as blood panels. He did have a fecal which revealed roundworms. With the first dose of strongid he stopped limping. I thought maybe he had larvae migrans or perhaps the antiflammatory effect of strongid solved the problem. However, he began to limp again. This time favoring his right leg -- I assume because now he was focusing on healing the paw pad. However, the limping has grown worse. The second round of strongid did not have the same beneficial effect. I came home from a weekend trip Sunday to find him barely able to hobble around.

He was favoring his left leg more than the right, but clearly wished that he just could sit only on his back legs. He curls his paws in and then settles onto the floor when he huddles up. He yowled when I checked his paws. I began an aspirin regime suggested by my vet. 40mg every other day. It helped enough for him to put weight on the left leg. However even after his second dose last night he could not bear to have me touch his front paws to clip his nails. (He is not declawed.) My vet doesn't know what is causing him pain and I don't think that the aspirin is adequate for the pain control (and I don't really like using it because of all the other risks). We don't think it is a food allergy because his paw pads now actually look healthier than they did a month ago (less red and swollen).

Do you have any ideas of what might be going on? I am heart broken about his pain. I can't imagine his spending the rest of his life like this. I really feel like we have to find the root cause and heal it. As a result I am getting ready to make arrangements for us to go to Virginia Tech. Thank you for your time and attention. Aly

Answer: Aly- It is a good idea to have Cheddar examined at Virginia Tech. It is likely that there is someone at the university who is familiar with the likely diseases in both Houston and Virginia. Geographically important diseases, like fungal diseases which may occur in Texas but aren't common here are tough to diagnose when you haven't seen them before. Ehrlichiosis occurs here but is more likely to be a problem in Texas, as well. It doesn't seem to be as common in cats as it is in dogs but it probably should be considered in Cheddar's case.

These are various causes of front limb lameness in cats, which short notes about probability, just based on the experiences in our practice in Virginia:

1) Polyarthritis/polymyositis -- this is pain in multiple joints. We have probably seen less than ten cases of this but at least two of them had significantly more front limb pain than rear limb pain. This condition can be REALLY painful --- some cats just refuse to move at all except when absolutely necessary. In cats it is often progressive, getting gradually worse over time. It is most responsive to immunosuppressive medications so corticosteroids are the mainstay of therapy. Azathioprine seems to help but carries a significant risk of severe side effects in cats. Sometimes doxycycline helps, which may be due to mycoplasma or l-form bacterial infection mimicking the immune mediated disease.

2) Thromboembolic disease -- when cats have cardiomyopathy they will often have embolisms which can cause lameness when they lodge in the arterial blood supply to a limb. This can occur in front or rear legs and sometimes things like paleness of footpads or relative coolness of a limb can be recognized. This is hard to diagnose definitively by examining the legs but cardiac ultrasound examination is often diagnostic. Young male cats are at risk for cardiomyopathy.

3) Cats get ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and possibly other tick borne diseases. My best guess is that Lyme disease is unlikely in both Charlottesville and Houston, ehrlichiosis is common in Texas but not as common in Virginia and RMSF is uncommon in cats based on our practice experience. Doxycycline is a good choice for treatment of these diseases.

4) Cats with toxoplasmosis sometimes have shifting leg lameness as a primary sign. Running toxoplasmosis titers is reasonable if no other cause seems likely.

5) Calicivirus causes lameness in some older cats with feline leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus, although it is more likely as a cause of lameness in kittens.

6) Cancer is not an especially uncommon cause of odd lamenesses in cats and bone cancers in cats are much more subtle on X-rays than bone cancers in dogs, at least when I am trying to find them. Cheddar's age makes this less likely but not impossible.

7) There seems to be some correlation between food allergy/IBD and polyarthritis in cats based on a few clinical reports, but nothing has been proven. It is my understanding that this is also something that has been noted in people.

8) The l-form bacteria infections and mycoplasmal infections are pretty hard to diagnose but usually responsive to doxycycline. Our limited experience with l-form bacteria suggests that swellings and draining tract lesions are more likely when this is present.

9) Neurologic injuries to the front legs can occur in cats with brachial plexus avulsion --- stretching of the axillary (armpit) regions can do this and since cats tend to land on their feet, even though they may be spread-eagled, when they fall from high places brachial plexus avulsion has to be considered, although weakness rather than pain seems more common.

10) Traumatic injuries of other sorts are always possible, including things like cervical disc disease in the spine.

There are probably lots of other possibilities.

I think that it is important not to rely on the first set of X-rays. Taking another set several weeks after the initial ones (or even a series of X-rays) is almost always reasonable in chronic lameness.

It is a good idea to consider using doxycycline for three weeks in cats with unexplained lameness, since it works for several of the possible conditions. Doxycline has to be administered cautiously to cats. The capsules or tablets can be caught in the esophagus and cause severe esophagitis in some cases --- so always give at least 6cc of water after a doxycyline capsule or pill, or consider having a compounding pharmacy make a liquid or gel form to give.

Joint taps (withdrawing joint fluid) from multiple joints is the best way to try to rule in or rule out polyarthritis. Personally, I feel better about joint taps when some place like a vet school does them because they can do the analysis of the fluid on site better than we can. So this is another good reason for going to Tech. We will do this for clients who can't go to specialists and it is still helpful sometimes but I really think we get less information from joint taps than the vet schools do.

The roundworm thing is intriguing. You might want to consider a round of fenbendazole (Panacur Rx) as it seems to be better at killing the immature stages of roundworms. It seems like a long shot to be honest but it is an easy thing to do and it is sometimes helpful in IBD cases, too. Hope this helps some.

Mike Richards, DVM 11/14/2002

Sudden onset of weakness and/or paralysis of the rear limbs - Turkish Van kitten

Question: Dear Dr Richards, We have a kitten that is 6mths old. She is a Turkish Van kitten and was extremely active and for all outward purposes appeared to be in excellent health, until aprox 10 days ago. She behaved normally in the morning when we fed all the cats before going to work, but upon our return when weren't greeted in her usual canter over to say Hi. Thinking that she had just been disturbed from sleep we didn't pay too much attention other to walk over and give her a pat. It was then that we were alarmed to find that she had trouble standing up. Upon closer examination we found her back legs were very weak and when she did walk she had her back arched like she was in pain. She managed only about six or so steps before sitting down. We phoned our vet who thought she could have just hurt herself during vigorous play with the other cats. He suggested that if she was eating normally and looked alert, not to worry but to call him if she didn't improve in the next few days.We have had an outdoor cat a long time ago that had lost movement in his rear legs quite suddenly, and on examination we located a paralysis tick on him which we removed and he progressively made a full recovery. We checked our kitten over but found no ticks on her. Incidently all our cats are totally indoor cats. A couple of days later when she showed no improvement( she didn't deteriorate either) we took her in to the vet who did a blood test, which was normal,& checked up and down her spine for injuries, but could not find any abnormalities, & she didn't flinch in pain during the examination. He put her on a course of cortosone for ten days, after which we are to see him if she didn't improve. It's been a week now & there is no improvement,( hasn't deteriorated either) she still has her usual healthy apetite and looks alert and wants to join in the cat games but can't. Please help!!! we are at our wits end.

Regards, Carolyn & Roy

Answer: Carolyn and Roy-

I have been trying to figure out if there was a specific problem in Turkish Van cats that might be contributing to this problem and in researching that, I put the note aside and just found it again tonight. Sorry for the delay.

It was not possible to find much information on breed associated problems in Turkish Van cats, so I did not find anything useful in this search. There may be insufficient numbers of this breed to discern their problems at this point.

There are several possible problems that could lead to sudden onset of weakness and/or paralysis of the rear limbs. In a young cat the two that are probably most common are trauma, as your vet suspected, and blood clots affecting the rear limbs due to cardiomyopathy. This can cause pain and disuse of the rear legs but usually there are other signs, such as a lack of pulses in the limbs or the presence of a heart murmur, that allow a diagnosis of this condition. Sometimes the signs are pretty subtle and it is necessary to do more sophisticated testing, such as cardiac ultrasound examination, to discover the problem. When this problem is present there will sometimes be recovery from the clinical signs but they tend to recur later when that happens. Even though this is one of the two more common causes of rear limb weakness in young cats my guess is that your vet would have found signs of this on a physical examination so I am tending to discount it, some.

There are several possible forms of trauma that can lead to the signs you are seeing. The most common form of spinal trauma in cats, in our practice, has been a condition referred to as "tail jerk" for want of a better name. This occurs when the tail is pulled hard, or when the tail is held still and the cat continues to move forward, as might happen when the tail is caught in a door or under the rocker of a rocking chair. The traction on the tail leads to the spinal cord and the blood vessels around it being stretched. If they are stretched far enough to cause injury there are visible signs. In most cases cats gradually recover from this form of trauma but if the spinal cord is completely torn there may be no recovery, or only partial recovery. An injury to the spinal vertebrae or spinal discs may also occur. A blood clot in the spinal cord or around it can also lead to pressure on the cord that causes paralysis. Recovery from this is dependent on the amount of time the spinal cord is compressed or lacks blood supplies. Traumatic events sometimes respond to early therapy but there is rarely anything that can be done once the first few hours are past, except wait and see whether recovery will occur.

Less common causes of paralysis of the rear limbs include bleeding disorders (like hemophilia) leading to bleeding and problems similar to traumatic bleeding problems, fibrocartilagenous infarcts (rare in cats), cancer (lymphoma is possible in a young cat) and infections (bacterial or parasitic) that involve the spinal cord.

If generalized neurologic signs have developed since you wrote, feline infectious peritonitis would be possible and it may be necessary to consider something like a portosystemic liver shunt, as well.

These are the things that I can think of. Unfortunately, except for the infections, I don't know much that can be done to alter any of these conditions. Caring for the cat until it has a chance to recover or until it is clear that recovery isn't going to occur is obviously very helpful, though.

I have not seen tick paralysis in a cat, so I would not have thought of that possibility. With your experience, I am going to have to keep that one in mind, too.

I hope that your kitten has recovered from this problem and that it has not recurred. I wish that I had something better to offer other than a list of possible causes but most of these problems don't have treatment options that have proven to be consistently successful.

Mike Richards, DVM 5/15/2001

Lameness in more then one leg

Question: Dr. Mike,

I have a 15 year old male cat who is having some leg problems. About six months ago he had a problem with his front right leg. He could lift his leg and walk, but he did not hold the paw of his foot straight out as it should be. He would drag it. I immediately took the cat to the vet and the vet said that is what cats do if they were hit by a car. I explained that this could not have happened as he doesn't go outside. He is a strictly indoor cat. The vet gave him a shot and I don't recall what it was. Later that evening he was okay. For the last week the problem has returned. This time it is in his back left leg. He can lift the leg, but has no control of the paw and drags it. He is eating and using his litter box as he should and doesn't appear to be in any pain. The paw can be touched and he doesn't seem to mind. Do you have any ideas as to what is wrong with him? I checked your web site and couldn't find anything similar to this. I would appreciate any help you can give. Thanks, Vicky

Answer: Vicky-

Lameness problems in more than one leg in cats can have several possible causes. It is odd that you are seeing signs that seem to relate to a decrease in nerve function that is affecting more than one region of the body. I think that the first thing to worry about in this case is blood clotting (thromboembolic disease) leading to circulatory problems in the affected legs, because this could cause the loss of function that you are seeing. If this is the case in a cat in your cat's age range the most likely underlying causes would be cardiomyopathy (heart muscle weakness) or hyperthyroidism leading to heart disease.

Other possible causes of multiple leg lameness that I can think of include arthritis affecting more than one joint, spinal disc disease that is affecting more than one area of the spine, feline infectious peritonitis, fungal infections, systemic bacterial infections that have affected the joints, calicivirus infection (very unlikely), reaction to vaccinations with calicivirus as a component (not too common), Lyme disease and low serum potassium levels (usually there is a noticeable overall weakness with this, though).

To rule out heart problems leading to blood clotting and blockage of blood flow to portions of the legs it is sometimes necessary to have a cardiac ultrasound examination. Your vet can help you find a specialist who can do this, if he or she thinks it may be beneficial to rule out this condition after a physical examination. Sometimes there are visible hints of blood clotting problems like coolness (or even coldness) of the affected limb and paleness or a blue tinge of the foot pads or toenails.

I hope that no more episodes of this problem have occurred.

Mike Richards, DVM 4/4/2001

Vestibular problems for Mittens continue

Question: This is my third question to you on Mittens balance problem. If you want to charge me another fee I am happy to pay you. My 18 year old female cat's balance problems started about 2 months ago and haven't been normal since. Two and a half weeks ago her balance wasn't too bad but for the last two weeks her balance has been quite poor and she has to work pretty hard just to stay on her feet. I have noticed almost from the beginning that she often overbalances when shaking her head, however, only a few days ago, I realised that she shakes her head far more than normal. In a 5 minute period between eating food and settling down she might shake her head 10 to 20 times and definitely shakes her head a lot more than would be normal. When she shakes her head she takes a "stance" to avoid overbalancing but she still overbalances sometimes and it seems to be always to the left. On two occasions last week I noticed rhythmic eye movements and she vomited overnight one time. She has a slight hint of a head tilt to the left, especially when she looks up to me at head height from the floor. I guess her balance is possibly not quite as bad this week as last week.

The diagnosis is still uncertain and cardiovascular, ear infection and idiopathic vestibular all still seem to be possibilities.

She had her blood pressure measured yesterday with a Doppler machine and it was 160 which is apparently not significantly high. Today she had an anaesthetic to get an X-RAY and check her ears and nasopharynx etc. The intention was also to put a needle through her eardrum to get a sample for a culture to determine which antibiotic would be best. There was nothing abnormal found and no indication of a middle ear infection on the X-RAY so the vet decided not to put a needle through her eardrum. However, a blood test today indicated kidney and liver ok but a low potassium level, so now she is on a potassium supplement. I have noticed her limping occasionally in the last few months usually after she has been lying down for a while. We are also checking out Cryptococcus as her balance problems began with a week of sneezing.

The toxoplasmosis test I last reported to you turned out to be an IgG test as IgM isn't available in New Zealand so we didn't go ahead with a second blood test as this seemed to be not worthwhile. Ten days ago we reduced from 150 mg Clindamycin a day to 50 mg which I mix in with her food and she eats up happily - which is lucky because it is virtually impossible for me to give her tablets.

Do you think the head shaking leans the diagnosis in any particular direction? I have read that X-RAY can quite easily not show middle ear infection so I feel this is still a possibility. We are thinking of changing to an antibiotic called Rylexine in a few days. If the problem is an ear infection, should it be improving?

If she has another anaesthetic sometime, would it be a good or bad idea to put a needle through her eardrum for a culture sample. Her eardrums appeared normal except the right was slightly pinker than the left.

She coped with the anaesthetic (Isofluorane induction) fairly well but I found it pretty stressful. Is this a fairly safe procedure for an 18 year old cat.

Apparently MRI is available in Christchurch at a human's hospital but she can't be monitored properly and has to be drugged intravenously so I hope we don't end up doing this.

Sorry this is so long. GRAEME

Answer: Graeme-

We use isoflurane induction and maintenance of anesthesia very frequently in older cats in our practice. We have not lost a patient using this anesthetic alone, yet. We have been using it about 10 years. So I like it a lot.

There are reports of anesthetic deaths in veterinary MRI procedures for exactly the reason you discuss--- it is extremely hard to monitor the anesthesia and do the MRI and it is necessary to use an injectable anesthetic, which also increases the risk. We have had a number of patients have MRIs, though, and so far, there has not been an anesthetic death among our patients for this procedure, either. That may just be luck but when it seems necessary to have the results we are willing to risk the procedure.

You might want to monitor the blood pressure, because we really think there is a correlation between high blood pressure and head shaking, but it is based on observing our patients, so we are not certain we are correct. Checking the retinas for sign of retinal detachment can also help to determine if there have been episodes of high blood pressure.

This is a list of possible causes of vestibular signs --- middle ear infection, inner ear infection, peripheral vestibular syndrome, trauma and cancer affecting the petrous temporal bone, granulomatous menigoencephalomyelitis (GME -- may not occur in cats, but there are some suggestive case reports), feline polioencephalomyelitis, feline infectious peritonitis, toxoplasmosis, tumors of the brain stem or cerebellar regions, tumors affecting the middle or inner ear and possibly feline ischemic neuropathy.

Many of these differential diagnoses would be ruled in or ruled out by an MRI. There is a high probability of a tumor in a cat in this age range but overall, toxoplasmosis might be the most common cause of persistent neurologic signs in cats, so it is a good idea to continue treatment for this until something else surfaces or the problems cease. If there is no evidence of middle ear disease I would be hard pressed to try to do a culture but it would probably cause no long term problems to do that. Changing the antibiotic, or adding one that might be more useful for an inner ear problem seems like a reasonable thing to do, too.

The one thing about going ahead with an MRI that always makes me hesitant is the question of what I'm going to do differently after I get the results. With the testing and treatments done so far, the remaining possibilities are not too likely to be easily treated. It is often helpful to know what is going on even if there can not be treatment, but it is something to think over carefully, considering the risks and the stress to the patient.

Hope this helps some.

Mike Richards, DVM 10/2/2000

Balance problems

Questions: I recently wrote to you about my cat Mittens who has balance problems. She has had balance problems for about 6 weeks now. At the moment her balance is almost ok with just a little overbalancing when she shakes her head and her appetite is quite good. A week ago she had 2 blood tests 2 hours apart to try and rule out a liver problem and this showed her liver is fine, so now she is having normal cat food again instead of Hills A/D etc. The blood test was also used to check for toxoplasmosis and the lab report came back as 1:64 - with a note that greater than 1:64 is positive, 1:32 is weak positive and less than 1:32 is negative - and to test again in 2 weeks. My vet has put her on 150 mg per day of Clindamycin. My vets don't know whether the test was for IgG or IgM and the lab won't or can't give any information. I read on the internet that a better blood test for toxo has recently been developed. Do you know anything about these blood tests and does my cats test sound like an IgG test. I don't want her to have to go through 6 weeks of Clindamycin for nothing. If a second blood test shows a changed reading, how conclusive is that of toxoplasmosis. I'm not even keen for her to have a second blood test as she got a bit stressed by the last two.

Mittens balance has been "up and down" a little over the last 4 weeks and her hearing is still poor but her appetite and behaviour are normal.


Answer: Graeme-

I am just guessing, but based on the values reported as likely to be active infection, it seems most likely that the titer reported is an IgM titer. An IgM titer of 1:64 or greater is usually considered to be strongly suspect for an active Toxoplasma infection. IgG titers tend to run higher than this, although 1:64 is the point where toxoplasmosis IgG titers are considered to indicate that the cat has been infected with Toxoplasma. IgG titers rise after IgM titers but reach much higher levels, almost always greater than 1:1024 within a few weeks after the initiation of toxoplasmosis. I can't understand the lab's customer service people's reluctance to discuss the type of testing or meaning of the titers but everybody had bad days sometimes.

Testing again can be helpful, especially if both IgM and IgG titers are being run. If there is a rise in the titer, it makes it more likely that a recent infection with toxoplasmosis has occurred.

When there are questions about whether or not toxoplasmosis is recent, it can be helpful to check the titer in aqueous humor from the eye but if you do not wish to consider second blood tests due to stress, this procedure probably isn't something you want to consider. It is also possible to run titers on cerebrospinal fluid, which could be useful since neurologic signs are present but obtaining a sample of cerebrospinal fluids is also a more invasive procedure than drawing blood.

I use clindamycin long term in cats pretty frequently and we do not have much problem with doing this, although once in a while we do see inappetance, vomiting or diarrhea.

You may be referring to a test I am not aware of, but the newest testing that I know of for toxoplasmosis is polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. It is very sensitive at picking up the presence of the parasite but since a lot of cats have Toxoplasma organisms in their bodies, without having clinical disease from them, it isn't a very useful test from a clinical standpoint.

There is also a test for IgA specific to toxoplasmosis but I don't know much about it, except that cats with high IgA titers are more likely to have eye problems from the toxoplasmosis and that IgA titers rise very late compared to IgM and IgG titers.

Your vets can help you decide how to proceed, but it seems like a good idea to continue the clindamycin for the full course or run the lab work before deciding to stop it.

Mike Richards, DVM 9/19/2000

Balance problem

Q: Last Friday, our cat came staggering out to us unable to balance himself, with is turned to one side, and his eyes out of control wandering all over. He is a 1 1/2 year old neutered male, had been fine up to that point, I can't find anything ,which could have poisoned him. Cannot straighten his head to drink out of the bowl when he tries. My vet seems to think he got into poison, and now is brained damaged, but would he have recognized me today if he was brain damaged. Connie

A: A toxin is possible. It wouldn't be my first thought but that could just be my mindset.

I would worry about feline vestibular disorder (sudden onset of balance problems with abnormal eye movements). This usually lasts less than two to three weeks and clears up with or without medication. Trauma is possible (a head injury). Ear infections and ear tumors are possible (tumors do occur in young cats at times). Feline leukemia, feline infectious peritonitis and feline immunodeficiency virus can sometimes cause central nervous system problems, too.

Good luck with this. Hopefully you are already seeing improvement.

Mike Richards, DVM

Difficulty walking

Q: My two year-old female cat is experiencing increased difficulty in walking, with her hindquarters almost paralyzed. I lost her litter mate after a long fight with the feline leukemia virus last fall, but this one tested negative to the blood test. She had a bad upper respiratory infection last winter, and at the end of the treatment, our vet gave her a cortisone injection to help with some swelling in her airway. This was done on March 20, and since that time she has improved steadily and up until last week was doing great. Then she started having difficulty jumping up on furniture, and now she can't walk without a great deal of difficulty. The vet checked her temp and blood and found them both to be normal. She is taking one child's aspirin every four days, but we've seen no improvement. It breaks my heart to see her in such distress, but I'd hate to put her down without giving her every chance at a somewhat normal life again. Is there anyone else out there who has experienced something similar with their animal companions? Any ideas? Thanks, K.

A: You didn't say whether or not the feline leukemia test was repeated. It has become apparent over the last few years that cats can sequester the feline leukemia virus in the bone marrow or central nervous system where it will not show up on blood tests. Then at some time in the future, if the cat's immune system doesn't manage to kill the virus there, it recurs. This can happen a long time after the initial infection, perhaps as long as ten years or more in some cases. Anything that reduces immune competency can lead to the "break out" of the leukemia virus from its safe hiding place.

If this test wasn't repeated I think it would be a good idea to do so. If it was, and if potassium was normal on the labwork, the only other thing I can think of is a problem with cardiomyopathy and secondary thromboembolism (heart muscle weakness leading to blood clots in the arteries to the legs) or perhaps a CNS or spinal cancer. It is likely that your vet is considering all of these possibilities and may have ruled some or all of them out as possible causes.

Mike Richards, DVM

Loss of balance

Q: Hi Dr. Mike, I was wondering if you have ever heard of a cat losing her balance. Our 2 1/2 year old female cat recently fell off the otoman and and then could not regain her balance for a few seconds, she stumbled and struggled but seemed to have a real hard time finding her balance. I am working with our vet over here trying to find out what could be wrong but so far he has no idea. We are going in for blood tests tomorrow is there anything I should be looking for. Thanks for your time.

A: I am not sure that I can help much. Loss of balance can come from inner ear disease, trauma to the cerebellum and lack of blood flow to the cerebellum from an infarct (blood clot). All of these things seem unlikely with the quick recovery. Seizures can cause many differing syndromes and maybe that could be the problem. Any disorder leading to blood loss can have symptoms associated with fainting or periods of weakness. Toxoplasmosis and feline infectious peritonitis both cause neurologic signs in some cats.

These are the things I can think of but I have the impression that none of them are all that likely. Hopefully, your cat had a clumsy spell and injured herself only enough to cause temporary signs of problems.

Mike Richards, DVM

Last edited 07/01/05


Michael Richards, D.V.M. co-owns a small animal general veterinary practice in rural tidewater Virginia. Dr. Richards graduated from Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 1979, and has been in private practice ever since. Dr. Richards has been the director of the PetCare Forum...