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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 seizures.

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 seizure.

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.

WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"

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