Seizures in Cats: Causes and Treatments
There are a number of conditions that, while not true seizures, can easily
be mistaken for them. Bee stings, for example, can cause shock and collapse.
Fainting spells associated with advanced heart or lung disease may look like
A cat who has suffered from a seizure should have a complete veterinary
workup, including blood chemistries, a neurological exam, and, if available, an
MRI or CT scan.
Treatment: If your cat is having a classic seizure, cover the cat with a
blanket and stand aside until the animal quiets down. Do not put your fingers
in the cat’s mouth or try to wedge something between the teeth. Cats cannot
swallow their tongues while having a seizure, and this will simply result in
you being badly bitten. Then take your cat to the veterinarian so they can
determine the cause of the seizure.
Seizures lasting over five minutes (continuous seizures or status
epilepticus) are very dangerous. They must be stopped to prevent permanent
brain damage. Valium is given by your veterinarian to stop a continuous
Recurrent seizure disorders can often be controlled with medications.
Although there is no cure for idiopathic epilepsy, seizures can generally be
controlled medically. For acquired epilepsy or seizures of other causes, the
inciting cause must be treated.
The same drugs used in treating seizures in people and dogs, such as
potassium bromide, phenobarbital, and diazepam (Valium) may be tried for
treating a cat with seizures. However, in cats, all of these medications can be
quite toxic and require close veterinary supervision. Potassium bromide has
been connected to respiratory problems in about 35 percent of the cats who have
taken it. Blood tests should be done periodically to guard against toxic
effects. Families should keep track of any seizure activity on a calendar so
they can look for any pattern to the seizures.
With a comatose cat, the most important thing to observe is the level of
consciousness. This cat cannot be aroused.