Epilepsy in cats: causes, symptoms, treatment

Like humans, cats can suffer from epilepsy. You can find out here what causes the convulsive seizures, what symptoms they are associated with and how they are treated. Epilepsy in cats: After the symptoms have subsided, the cat is weakened - Image: Shutterstock / OLOS

What exactly is epilepsy?

Epilepsy in cats, like humans, is also a disease in which the functions of the brain's nerve pathways are temporarily disrupted. This causes seizures and twitches, which are over after a few seconds or minutes, but can recur.

What causes epilepsy in cats?

The activity of the nerve cells in a cat is changed during an epileptic seizure. Why is that? There are a variety of possible causes for epilepsy in cats.

For one, epilepsy can be innate in animals. Then the disease is usually chronic, incurable and not due to external circumstances or other underlying diseases. We are talking about primary epilepsy.

On the other hand, changes in the brain caused by tumors, inflammation or injuries can also play a role. Epilepsy due to poisoning is also conceivable. In this case, one speaks of secondary epilepsy.

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Cat has epilepsy: what are symptoms?

Before the cat has an epileptic seizure, you may notice some abnormalities in its behavior. It may seem restless or crawl. If there is a seizure, the animal falls, stretches its paws far away from it, is not conscious and makes spasmodic, uncontrolled movements.

Many animals make running movements with their paws during the attack, salivate and deposit faeces or urine. The attack is usually over after a minute or two.

What to do if a cat has a seizure

While your cat is having a seizure, it is important that you stay calm. You can keep your house tiger safe by keeping items that could injure you out of reach. But don't touch them or hold them. Hustle and bustle can also aggravate the seizures and should therefore be avoided as much as possible.

Caution: If the attack lasts longer, a veterinarian should be called, because the brain could be permanently damaged in this case. The same applies to seizures that follow each other at very short intervals.

When the attack is over, the cat is exhausted and sometimes apathetic. Go to a veterinarian with her and tell him what you have observed. You can also film the seizure so that the doctor can better assess the symptoms. He will now clarify the causes and develop a treatment plan to help your cat.

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How is epilepsy treated in cats?

To make the diagnosis, the vet will ask you various questions and ask you to describe exactly what you have observed, how often and for how long the seizures have occurred, and whether you have noticed anything else. He will then first try to determine whether poisoning, infection or other factors have triggered the epileptic seizures.

If it is triggered by a certain factor, the veterinarian uses imaging methods such as computer tomography to help, draw blood or even spinal fluid from the animal. Based on this, the veterinarian tries to find out the cause and to combat it.

If, on the other hand, he does not find the causes of the seizures and the epileptic seizures occur more often, it is most likely a primary epilepsy that cannot be cured, but the symptoms of which can be alleviated by veterinary treatment, such as medication.

Treatment of cats with primary epilepsy

If the epileptic seizures are severe and frequent, the veterinarian will likely suggest treatment with medications that alleviate the symptoms.

Their type and dosage depend on the cat and the severity of their seizures. It can take a while to get the medication right, which is administered daily from there.