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What are Brain Disorders?

Veterinarians classify brain disorders in cats as neurological conditions. When a neurological problem exists, your cat may have difficulty sensing the environment around him. These conditions can be acquired from traumatic injury, infections, or they can be present from birth.

Brain disorders in cats are neurological conditions that can have a variety of causes. Your cat’s nervous system is complex, consisting of the brain and spinal cord as well as the peripheral nervous system. There are a variety of neurological disorders that can affect your cat’s brain. While some disorders cause minor symptoms, others can have serious consequences to your cat’s health.

Brain Disorders Average Cost

From 362 quotes ranging from $200 - $4,000

Average Cost

$1,200

Symptoms of Brain Disorders in Cats

The symptoms experienced depend on the cause of the condition. The most common symptoms of brain disorders include:

  • Loss of balance
  • Weakness
  • Tremors
  • Stupor
  • Lack of coordination
  • Hyperactive reflexes
  • Blindness
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Walking in circles
  • Pacing
  • Loss of sense of smell

Types

There are several different types of neurological disorders that can occur in cats. Below are some of the most common that affect domestic cats: 

  • Infections caused by viruses or bacteria
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Tumors in the brain or nervous system
  • Epilepsy
  • Injury from chemical poisoning
  • Effects of insect bites, snake venom, and ticks 
  • Traumatic injuries such as being struck by a car
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Causes of Brain Disorders in Cats

The causes of neurological disorders can vary. Here are some of the most common:

  • Inflammation in the brain caused by infectious diseases such as meningitis or encephalitis
  • Viral infections such as rabies, a condition that is fatal
  • Birth Defects
  • Neoplastic disease causing tumors or growths in the brain
  • Progressive degenerative disorders caused by advancing age
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Diagnosis of Brain Disorders in Cats

In order to diagnose your cat’s brain disorder, your veterinarian may run a battery of tests. During the visit, it is important to relay as much information regarding your cat’s behavior to your doctor. After taking a brief history, your veterinarian will perform a physical examination. He will look at your cat’s gait, behavior, posture, and motor function. In addition, a neurological examination may be performed which examines your cat’s motor functions in detail. Nerve function, characteristics of your cat’s walk and tail motions are part of this exam.

The cranial nerves are also examined to determine the extent of your cat’s issues. Some things looked at during this examination are eye movements, control of facial muscles, balance, chewing, hearing and vocal sounds. 

Blood tests are typically ordered when a brain disorder is suspected. After a blood draw, your veterinarian will send the sample to a laboratory for evaluation. He is looking for signs of metabolic conditions, infections or autoimmune diseases. 

X-rays are usually the next step in the quest for a diagnosis. These can give the veterinarian a good look at the structure of the brain. He will be looking for tumors, fractures or signs of infection in the brain. Doctors may also order more detailed imaging tests such as a CT scan or an MRI. These provide a more in-depth view of your cat’s brain. A CT scan may be performed with contrast dye, which makes abnormalities easier to see.

Tests to examine the fluid around the spine are not the first to be performed, but they may be done if a diagnosis proves elusive. The fluid is collected during a needle puncture of the spine, known as a spinal tap. The extracted fluid is tested for cancer, infection, tumors, fungal infections and brain abscesses.

Electroencephalograms are not commonly used to diagnose brain disorders in cats. However, they may be used to record the electrical output of your cat’s brain. It can also reveal any damage done from seizures.

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Treatment of Brain Disorders in Cats

The treatment of brain disorders depends largely on the cause of symptoms. Here are some of the most common treatments used in veterinary medicine today:

Medications

Antibiotics are often given to cats suspected of having infections such as meningitis or MRSA. These drugs work to eliminate the source of the infection to relieve symptoms. Anticonvulsants are often used in cats with seizure disorders. These medications can greatly reduce the amount of seizure activity in some cats. 

Surgery

If your cat has a tumor, your veterinarian may perform surgery to remove it. Some veterinarians refer these cases to a specialty clinic for treatment. 

Comfort Measures

In some cases, cats have conditions that are potentially fatal and untreatable. In these instances, doctors administer IV fluids and medications to keep the cat comfortable. Severe cases may require euthanasia.

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Recovery of Brain Disorders in Cats

The recovery of cats being treated for brain disorders depends on the cause and severity of symptoms. It is important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions to the letter. Report any changes in behavior as soon as possible. This is especially important if your cat stops eating or urinating, or becomes lethargic.

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Brain Disorders Average Cost

From 362 quotes ranging from $200 - $4,000

Average Cost

$1,200

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Brain Disorders Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Lazarus

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Bengal

dog-age-icon

6 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Spasm

My 6 month old Bengal boy is suffering from head twitches, he looks stuck. also when he wakes up from sleeping he will stretch his legs and experiences stomach and leg spasms. He’s got a clean bill of health and doesn’t carry any genetic diseases. I had set up a appointment with a specialist. It seems to be getting worse. I do have a video too.

Sept. 26, 2018

Lazarus' Owner

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San

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Indian cat

dog-age-icon

6 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Lazy
Laying

My cat got injured with 25 kg box drop in its middle body...after two days I feed milk but he had a trouble to drink....my doc say he went to coma...6 days ago now my cat lifting his head and trying to stand...after my doc says only one side of his brain working...no how can I help my cat?

Sept. 24, 2018

San's Owner

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Feral

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tabby

dog-age-icon

8 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Neurological Symptoms. Flipping

Feral kitten found with head in the dirt unable to move. Now it's doing flips and can't keep her head steady. What could it be? She was fine yesterday. There are several feral cats on my grandma's property that she feeds. Curious if it could be poison or a parasite or other zoonotic disease that we need to be concerned about.

Sept. 11, 2018

Feral's Owner

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Shady

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tabby

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Not Eating

our cat suddenly had one eye dilated and the other not, unstable and unable to jump onto surfaces as usual. we added treatment to the dilated eye seemed to get much better but then loss of balance is getting worse. Seems more neurologocial? But with the rapid onset that I am questioning whether it is neurological?

Sept. 10, 2018

Shady's Owner

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Furbbie

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Cat

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9 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Balance
Loss Of Balance And Weight

I have a nine year old cat that has been steadily losing weight. She was on steroid shots for about two years for a skin disorder. A new vet put her on amatriptalyn for OCD. She stopped grooming herself as much and the skin condition improved 100%. Now she has trouble keeping her balance and has lost another 1lb. Blood work only shows that her red blood count is low. I’m at a loss. The vet said it could be cancer. No way to tell. She is always hungry. Can’t get satisfied. Any suggestions on helping my beautiful baby

Sept. 9, 2018

Furbbie's Owner

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Orange Kitten

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short hair

dog-age-icon

1 Year

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Incontinence
Loss Of Balance
Sleepiness

He was fine the night before, just being his crazy self. The next morning he was just sulking next to the couch. He was floppy, but aware. He was breathing rather quickly and shallow. We took home to our regular vet and was told he probably had asthma. He was given some steroids and brought home. He perked up when he had to pee, but when he stood to go to the litter box he fell over to his right side. He would cry out a bit too. He would barely make it to the litterbox, if at all. Once there he would pee a bit and make no attempts to cover. After noting the dizziness and incontinence we took him to an emergency aninal hospital. They admitted him and did some blood work. They were going to do an MRI and speak to a neurologist, but my poor Orange Kitten stopped breathing at 1:45am and they called while they were coming him for my guidance. He passed away before they could do the other tests, so I still don't even know what happened to my poor kitty. :(

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Joanie

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Stray.

dog-age-icon

8 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weakness
Stupor
Head Tremor
Not Reacting To Stimulli

This was overnight. Joanie is an indoor cat, no strange chemicals aroung (fluid freezer is inside the boot of the car). No flowers in the house. Treated for fleas and everything else.

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Ernie

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Yellow

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Neurological

My 6 year old male indoor cat got outside and we couldn’t find him, finally almost 2 months later a neighbor found him in her drive way, he had little life to him, unable to walk, stared straight ahead, had tons of ticks on him. Took him to the vet, they have been giving him fluids for 2 days now, we see little glimpses of the old cat but then goes back to staring. Starting to drink and eat slightly but still cannot walk, having trouble getting up, we ? Maybe he was hit by a car or somehow hit his head causing brain damage. Could this reverse once he has full nourishment back and he returns to more normal after fluids, food rest and his home surroundings, no broken bones, no MRI or head CT because we don’t want to spend that kind of money if the end result will be we have to put him down. If there is a chance he could recover we would but just not sure. What in your opinion would be the best course of action???

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Bruce

dog-breed-icon

Mix Domestic

dog-age-icon

9 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Weakness
Poor Appetite
Loss Of Balance
Dehydration
Pain When Lifted
Sleepiness
Poor Stool Control
Not Active

My 9 month old male cat- domestic breed is not feeling well. He was still active and doing fine 2-3 days ago. Yesterday we notice he has been sleeping in a lot (he likes to sleep in general) but he was not active at all. We noticed he has loss of balance when he walks. And he makes a painful cry when he jumps or walks too sometimes. He was pooping pallets. Today, we notice his mobility function decreased. He wants to get up but would fall over. Overall, he looks and seems weak. His breathing seem to be short. I’m not sure what’s happening to him but I’m really scared if it’s something serious! I would be devastated if anything happens to him.

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Mama or babygirl

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Siamese mix

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Disorientation
Aggression
Agg
Hearing Difficulty

My cat mama jus started acting strange ! She has always been very afraid of everything, when we got her knowing her previous owners i thought it was due to improper pet owning. So we took her in with her sister from a diffrent litter, now after having them 2 months mama started becoming social and even excepting the family dog. She started coming out of hidding, and coming to us and asking for lovins!! Then about 3 days ago i notice even tho she waa coming out into the main living areas she was be very vocal toward the dog growling and hising when the dog would walk by. The tonight she attacted her sister, the dog and came at me and other family members tryig to help calm and seperate the animals. After witch going to chack on her we realised she was under the bed, i got dowm and looked and she was being vocal (meowing) but walking in circles and it appeared to me like she disnt know where she was. We got her out from under the bed and her sister ran in and started to immediately take care of mama whutch she has never done prior to this ( they usually did their own thing all the time in different rooms) i started getting really worried as for the dog as well came straight to the room tryjng to check on her ( which we did not allow we gated her off from the room) and she jus stood and stared at her oddly. Then my daughter realised she was jumpimg to loud noises like she has always done, so i started calling her name like i always do to get her to come to me for lovins! That didnt worked so i got louder and she paid no attention she didnt even look over, that is until i tapped on the bed as a called her then she came straight to me. So we tried an experiment of noise comlared to vibrations and witch ones she was able to notice, and jus loud voices or loud music , even the dog barking did nothing to get her attion ( remember this cats has always jumped and ran from loud noises). So we trjed tapping the wall or table and ect. And all of theose things she responded to immediately!! Im scared i dont want to have to get rid of her or put her down cause my family has loved her even before she became ours and we have loved watching her becoming a real cat and starting to enjoy her family and not being so scared of everthing and everyone!! She has proggressed so much and she deserves to enjoy life now!! Any advice will greatly be appreciated!

Brain Disorders Average Cost

From 362 quotes ranging from $200 - $4,000

Average Cost

$1,200

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