What Are The Symptoms Of A Feline Stroke
Symptoms of stroke in cats are not the same as those that you would see in a similarly affected person, and so it is important to know what to be on the lookout for. Any or all of the following can be indicative of a stroke, and so it is important to get your cat to the vet quickly if they begin displaying some of these signs:
- Generalised or partial seizures
- Head slightly tilted to one side
- Problems with balance
- Reduced facial movement and/or partial facial paralysis
- Behavioural changes
- Dilated or unresponsive pupils
Diagnosing stroke in cats can be difficult, and none of the above symptoms should be taken as a definitive diagnosis. However much as is the case with people, the faster you can address the issues caused by a suspected stroke, the better the chance of your cat making a full and fast recovery.
The Worst Type Of Stroke Your Cat Could Suffer
This isnt to alarm you as strokes are fairly rare, but the worst type your kitty could suffer is a saddle thrombus. This is when a blood clot forms in the heart, dislodges, then gets stuck in one one of the arteries supplying the legs. The resulting stroke can be excruciatingly painful for a cat.
Depending on the clot and if any further ones have formed, your vet may suggest surgery. In elderly cats this can be very risky, but if successful can save the cats life. Euthenasia should always be a last resort as cats do make very good recovery from strokes.
What Causes Strokes In Cats
While we think of strokes occurring primarily in older people, a small study published in 2011 showed that the median age for affected cats was around 9 years.
Several underlying health problems seem to increase the risk that a cat might have a stroke. Some that are more commonly cited include cancer within or spreading to the brain, heart disease, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, conditions that make the blood clot more easily, liver disease, diabetes, migrating parasites, lung disease, infections, and trauma. However, in many cases no cause for the stroke can be identified.
You May Like: Cats Age Vs Human
How Can I Tell If My Pet Has Had A Stroke
Can my dog or cat have a stroke?
Cats and dogs can have strokes, but they seem to occur less frequently in pets than in people. Pet owners often dont notice signs of a mild stroke in their companions since animals cant tell you when they feel dizzy, lose sight in one eye, or have memory problems. Unfortunately, pets usually experience strokes on a grander scale than people and require immediate veterinary attention.
What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel becomes blocked or narrows so blood and oxygen no longer are carried to the brain, causing brain cells to die. Dogs will exhibit different neurological signs depending on damage severity and the part of the brain affected.
What causes strokes in dogs?
Most strokes involve blood clots, but some are caused by tumor cells, bacteria, and parasites. This material can become lodged in a blood vessel, preventing blood and oxygen flow, which causes the tissue around the blood vessel to die. Other situations, such as trauma, disease, or clotting disorders, can cause vessels to rupture and blood to leak into the brain.
Can clots lodge in blood vessels outside the brain?
Yes. Blood clots can block vessels in any part of the body. A common and dramatic condition in cats called feline aortic thromboembolism, or a saddle thrombus, is caused by a blood clot that lodges in the aorta right before it splits to provide blood to the rear legs, causing the cat to become suddenly and painfully paralyzed.
Can A Dog Recover From Heat Stroke
Dogs with mild signs of heat stroke often recovery very well.
Unfortunately, comatose Dogs, or those with liver or kidney failure or unresponsive bleeding, are very difficult to save.
Heat stroke can occur in any dog, but there are certain medical conditions and breeds that make it more likely to occur.
Read Also: Animals In Little Alchemy
What Kind Of Stroke Does A Cat Have
In the absence of blood and oxygen, brain cells start dying. Stroke in cats or any mammals for that matter is of two types, ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic stroke occurs when the artery supplying blood to the brain gets clogged, narrowed or completely blocked. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when blood vessels in the brain leak out blood or burst.
Symptoms Of A Cat Stroke
Identification of stroke symptoms is the most vital part of its treatment. You can provide treatment only when you understand its symptoms. These symptoms largely depend on the part of the brain that gets affected by stroke. Some of the acute symptoms that appear all of a sudden are as follows:
- Unsteady movement due to lack of coordination of voluntary muscles
- Abnormal tilt of the head suggesting that the cat has difficulty in moving the head
- Eating difficulty as foods may fall off their mouth as they cannot chew if the facial muscles are affected
- Frequent choking which means that the throat muscles are affected
- Frequent choking which means that the throat muscles are affected
- Sudden change in cat behavior
- Difficult bowel movements
Recommended Reading: Why Do Cats Knead The Bed
What Are The Chances Of Recovery
Strokes in cats are rare compared to those in dogs and humans, but can be alarming for the owner. Most feline strokes arent benign though, with underlying causes. Cats fare far worse than people and can experience extreme pain and distress. The first 24 hours are critical and sadly, too many cats are euthenased to prevent further suffering.
Your kitty may never have another stroke and make a full recovery but, as most have an underlying cause, your vet will need to make further tests. This is well worth the cost as you could be saving your cats life.
Just as in people, theres no way of knowing how your cat will recover following a stroke. A lot more research needs to be done, as its still early days in acknowledging this condition in cats. As you can see in the video below, this cat has made an amazing recovery just 12 days following a stroke! So, never give up, whether youre a human or cat!!
What Are Symptoms Of Strokes In Cats
Symptoms of strokes in cats will typically occur very quickly and will be similar, regardless of whether your cat is having a hemorrhagic or ischaemic stroke. The size of the bleed or blockage, and how much of the surrounding brain tissue has been impacted will determine the severity of these symptoms.
If your cat is experiencing a stroke, you may notice one or more of these symptoms occurring suddenly:
- Unequal pupil sizes
While these symptoms often indicate that a cat may be having a stroke, they can also be associated with other neurological diseases. It can be challenging to decide whether to start or continue treatment after a cat has experienced a stroke.
Generally, most vets believe that cats who are otherwise relatively healthy and display less severe symptoms or stroke have the best chance at recovery. Unfortunately, not enough research has been completed into the prognosis for cats following strokes.
Keep in mind that symptoms will be at their worst approximately 24 hours after the stroke has occurred.
Read Also: What Was Gargamel’s Cat’s Name
Primary Prevention Of A Cat Stroke
The best method to keep your cat safe from blood clots, heart issues and ultimately, avoiding a stroke is prevention. Keeping your cat in tiptop shape mitigates the chances of stroke-creating medical conditions to arise.
Your cats overall health and overall wellbeing can be maintained using a multi-pronged strategy:
While many cats will recover to a solid quality of life in about two weeks following a minor stroke, a cat stroke should be avoided as much as possible. The chances of developing secondary epilepsy after a stroke are greatly increased and no pet parent wants to hear that news!
Keep your paw on the pulse of your kittys overall health through regular veterinary check-ups, seeking medical attention in case of any abnormalities involving his physical/behavioral condition. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your kitty goes a long way toward greatly decreasing the chances that he will develop any untimely life-threatening issues, especially a stroke.
What Can Cause A Cat To Have A Stroke
Strokes are most often diagnosed in cats that are about nine years old, but they can occur due to an underlying illness such as cancer that metastasizes to or within the brain, kidney disease, heart disease, hyperthyroidism or parasites. However, it may be impossible to pinpoint a cause in many cases.
Cats are at risk for two different types of stroke. Each type differs in cause:
If blood supply to a cats brain stops or is suddenly interrupted, a stroke can occur. The condition can also happen due to underlying illnesses which cause an artery to narrow or become clogged.
A hemorrhagic stroke can happen when an artery bursts or is damaged, resulting in bleeding in a cats brain. The bleeding causes blood to press against the brain tissue, leading to brain damage.
Don’t Miss: When It Lands Rainbow Kitten Surprise Lyrics
Possible Causes Of A Feline Stroke
- Anything that interferes with the clotting ability of the blood
- Blood clot
- Kidney Disease
In my experience, the most common cause is feline heart disease of some type. It may be feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or it may be the type of cat heart problems that accompany hyperthyroidism in cats. Feline hyperthyroidism causes high blood pressure and also causes cat heart disease. Both can lead to strokes, especially if the hyperthyroidism hasnt been diagnosed or treated or isnt being managed well.
Caring For A Cat That Has Suffered A Stroke
Recommended Reading: How To Make Poop In Little Alchemy
What Causes A Stroke
Anything that can block an artery supplying the brain can cause a stroke. Some causes include a blood clot such as a thrombus or embolus that lodges in a blood vessel in the brain . This is also known as a thromboembolism or an embolism.
Cerebral bleeding from trauma or as a result of thrombocytopenia or low blood platelet count can also cause strokes.
The cause of most strokes is unknown.
What Is A Stroke
While stroke is a popular term, you may not fully understand exactly what a stroke is. A stroke is clinically referred to as a cerebrovascular accident. The brain depends on a constant blood supply to deliver oxygen, remove waste products and supply nutrients. When the blood flow to the brain is reduced, a stroke can occur.
Read Also: Smurfs Cat Name
What Can Cause Strokes In Cats
Strokes are most commonly diagnosed in cats that are about nine years old and can happen due to an underlying illness such as cancer within or spreading to the brain, parasites, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism or heart disease. However, in many cases identifying a cause may prove impossible.
In cats, there are two different types of stroke and each has a different cause.
When an artery is damaged or bursts, this can lead to bleeding in a cats brain, which causes a hemorrhagic stroke. The bleeding results in blood pressing on the brain tissue, causing damage to that part of the brain.
Ischaemic stroke can occur when blood supply to the cats brain suddenly stops. This can happen as a result of underlying illnesses that cause an artery to narrow or become clogged.
Types & Causes Of A Cat Stroke
A stroke is caused by an obstruction of blood flow that comes in three variations:
Abnormalities to blood flow are generally considered indications of an underlying issue. The reason your cat can seem fine one minute and in a dire emergency the next is because while the underlying issue causing the blood clot may have been brewing unbeknownst to you, the obstruction itself can manifest quickly.
Here are some main causes of blood clots/blood vessel ruptures:
High blood pressure is a common culprit because it causes cumulative damage to the arteries. Left untreated, over time it can weaken them and also create an environment where blood clots are more easily formed.
Read Also: What Did The Cat Do In Rick And Morty
Diagnosis And Treatment For Feline Stroke
In order to definitively diagnose a stroke in your cat, your vet will need to run some imaging tests to get a good look at your cats brain. MRI imaging and CT scans are sometimes used, as is blood sampling and collecting a small amount of spinal fluid to check for inflammation.In terms of treating a stroke, there is no one definitive treatment protocol to be followed in cats. IF the cat suffers from seizures as part of the stroke or goes on to develop epilepsy your vet may treat these immediate conditions. Generally, treatment for stroke involves careful observation and managing your cats lifestyle to accommodate for the problems caused by the stroke while they make their recovery. In a small proportion of cases, brain damage may occur or the ongoing treatment of stroke symptoms can prove unmanageable, and unfortunately, a small proportion of cats that suffer from stroke do not recover.Cats do generally recover from a stroke fully and within a few weeks, a much better prognosis than is generally expected for people. How your cat responds during the first two weeks after a stroke has occurred is vital- if your cat begin to show signs of recovery, even slowly, the chances of a full recovery in time are very good.As always, if you are concerned about any aspect of your cats health, wellbeing or behaviour, consult your veterinary surgeon as soon as possible to give your cat the best chances of recovery.
How Do You Know If Your Cat Had A Stroke
Last week, we talked about causes of acute strokes or things that look similar in dogs. In dogs, some causes of acute stroke are actually benign causes like old dog vestibular disease. In severe cases, it may be due to malignant causes like a brain tumor. This week, well cover cats and what causes their acute strokes. Unfortunately, the causes of acute stroke in cats are not often benign as compared to dogs, and are often due to underlying disease.
Its scary to see your cat suddenly not be able to walk, look drunk, fall over to his or her side, have a head tilt, or act neurologically inappropriate . Other signs that look like acute strokes in cats include:
- sudden imbalance
- falling over to the side
- not being able to walk
- rolling or circling to one side
When this happens, there are four primary causes:
- an ischemic event secondary to hypertension
- a life-threatening blood clot called a “saddle thrombus”
- vestibular disease
- a brain tumor
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian — they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Don’t Miss: How To Move Litter Box Location
If Cat Has Had A Stroke Go To Emergency Clinic Asap
If you think your cat has had a stroke, go to the vet or emergency clinic immediately.
The veterinarian most likely will take a blood sample for a complete blood count, serum biochemistry profile, urinalysis, or x-rays to reveal what caused the stroke.
The best way to accurately diagnose a stroke in cats is through a computed tomography scan and/or a magnetic resonance imaging scan, which may only be available at larger emergency veterinarian clinics or teaching hospitals.
That may require you to transport the cat to another facility for the best prognosis. These imaging tests will determine what area of the brain was affected allowing the veterinarian to prescribe the best physical therapy to help the cat get back to himself as soon as possible.
The goals of therapy include:
- Minimizing brain swelling and associated tissue damage
- Treating the underlying cause of the stroke
- And rehabilitating the cats cognitive and physical abilities
Most cats will return to normal within two to three-weeks, but it may take longer.
While a recurrence is rare, it can happen.
And while most cats make a full recovery, permanent disability is a possibility.
I for one know a number of people who have had strokes, and the road to recovery can be brutal, gaining from zero to 100 percent of the abilities they had prior to the stroke. Its distressing to learn that cats can have strokes, as well.