Epileptic Seizures in Cats

Even though epileptic seizures are not lethal, they represent a very serious health problem that requires immediate treatment. Seizures have a wide range of causes, so a correct identification of the symptoms may help both in the diagnosis process and in the treatment administration.

Symptoms of Epileptic Seizures

During a seizure, the cat will lose the control over her or his body, either partially or totally. In the first situation, there may be an underlying disease, other than epilepsy, that is causing the seizures. On the other hand, total loss of control is typically a sign of primary epilepsy, case in which the involvement of other health condition is totally excluded.

Symptoms that can be noticed during epileptic seizures include:

  • Body twisting
  • Dilated pupil
  • Excessive salivation
  • Muscle twitching
  • Rigid limbs
  • Uncontrolled eye movement

The seizures do not occur periodically, so it is very improbable that your cat will have one while visiting the veterinarian. This is why you have to take note of every sign of the seizure, so you can describe it later. An accurate description of the epileptic seizures will help the veterinarian to perform the diagnosis more correctly.

Diagnosis of Seizures in Cats

Diagnosis tests need to be performed in order to make sure that the seizures are caused by epilepsy and not some other health condition. Knowing the nature of the seizures is essential for finding the best available treatment. Besides epilepsy, some of the other possible causes of seizures include:

  • Infections
  • Toxic chemicals
  • Tumors

If you notice that your cat manifests any of the symptoms of epileptic seizures, you need to take him or her to the veterinarian. The diagnosis is based on a complete physical and neurological examination. Blood tests are mandatory as they can reveal the underlying disease that causes the seizures. Several tests that are performed as part of the seizures diagnosis are:

The spinal fluid needs to be analyzed in order to exclude encephalitis from the possible causes of the seizures. On the other hand, the tests based on imaging techniques are used for discovering any tumors that might cause the problem.

Treatment of Epileptic Seizures

If the veterinarian concludes that the seizures are in fact related to epilepsy, a proper treatment to address this problem will be prescribed. Phenobarbital represents one of the most popular choices for epileptic seizures treatment. Other anticonvulsant medication may also be effective. In some situations, phenobarbital may be contraindicated because of liver problems or ineffectiveness. A viable alternative to this drug is represented by potassium bromide.

Diazepam may also be able to relieve the symptoms, but caution is necessary, as this drug may lead to liver disorders. In order to prevent such side effects, the veterinarian will adjust the dosage according to the size and needs of your cat. Even though decreased, the dosage needs to still be able to control the seizures. Dosage adjustment may also be necessary in the case of other drugs. Potassium bromide may have side effects, too, but they can be avoided when a lower dose is administered.