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What is Brain Injury?

If you notice anything unusual about your cat's behavior and brain injury is suspected, make an appointment with the veterinarian as soon as possible. Immediate evaluation is critical to ensure the best outcome for your pet.

A brain injury in cats can be caused by a wide variety of events -- from falls to automobile accidents. Other events include blunt trauma such as being struck or stepped on, gunshot wounds and animal fights. You may observe bleeding from your cat's ear or nostrils or an altered state of consciousness.

Brain Injury Average Cost

From 591 quotes ranging from $800 - $6,000

Average Cost

$1,100

Symptoms of Brain Injury in Cats

Cats will exhibit a certain set of symptoms when suffering from a brain injury. Keep in mind that some of these symptoms may be indicative of another problem. Proper diagnosis is important to ensure the correct treatment plan. Symptoms of head trauma include the following:

  • Bleeding ears or nostrils
  • An altered state of consciousness
  • Head tilt
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Causes of Brain Injury in Cats

Brain injury can occur from a wide variety of events. These include the following:

  • Severe hypothermia or hyperthermia
  • Brain tumors or brain parasites
  • Toxicity
  • Severe hypoglycemia
  • Hypertension
  • Nervous system infections

If your cat has suffered from any of these conditions and is no longer behaving normally, a visit to the veterinarian may be in order. If at any point you begin to feel concerned about your pet's behavior, contact your veterinarian for advice.

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Diagnosis of Brain Injury in Cats

In order to give your cat the best chances of recovery, you will need to provide a thorough history of your cat's medical condition to your veterinarian. This history should include the time the symptoms were manifested and any possible circumstances that may have led to the problem. Your veterinarian will then perform a complete physical examination, a biochemistry profile, a urine test and a complete blood count. Although the findings of these tests will depend on the reason for the brain injury, the biochemistry profile can indicate any abnormalities in blood glucose levels. These tests can also detect O2 deficiency.

If skull fractures are suspected, your veterinarian will recommend X-rays, CT scans or MRIs to assist in diagnosing the problem. These diagnostic tools are also invaluable for determining the severity of the brain injury and detecting the presence of internal bleeding, foreign objects, tumors and other brain abnormalities. The veterinarian may also recommend an ECG to evaluate heart function and rhythm. 

Nervous system infections affect the spinal cord and the brain. Your veterinarian will take a sample of cerebrospinal fluid for testing to rule out such infections. A cat infected by the feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIP) will sometimes experience brain damage. This condition is not treatable. Bacterial infections of the middle-ear and the inner-ear cavities that break through the skull can also infect the brain and lead to infections of the brain. In this case, if the infection is caught early enough, the cat should recover completely. 

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Treatment of Brain Injury in Cats

Treatment of head injury for your cat will depend on the severity of the injury. Your veterinarian will recommend repeat neurological examinations to gauge the progress of the healing process. Even if your cat seems to be displaying normal behavior, your vet will probably recommend a 24-hour observation period. Abnormalities may develop as the brain swells or bleeding occurs. 

If brain swelling is apparent, specific drugs will be administered to treat the condition. Some solutions are designed to draw fluid from the tissues or to decrease the production of spinal fluid. These include hyperosmotic solutions and mannitol. Your veterinarian may also recommend oxygen therapy. Coughing and sneezing reflexes should be avoided at all costs. These actions increase intracranial pressure and can cause deterioration of the cat's condition.

If dehydration is suspected, an intravenous line may be inserted to give your pet much-needed fluids. Painkillers may also be administered if necessary. Some brain injuries can cause seizures in cats. Your veterinarian may prescribe Diazepam or Phenobarbital to help control any seizures your cat may be experiencing.

Skull fractures require special attention. Non-displaced fractures can be treated without surgery, but fractures that are displaced inwards may require surgical removal.

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Recovery of Brain Injury in Cats

In order to ensure that your cat's recovery is going according to plan, be sure to keep all follow-up appointments. Follow-up appointments give the veterinarian the chance to see how the injury is healing and whether additional treatments are required. You may be told to keep your cat quiet during the healing process. 

If no deterioration is observed in the cat within 48 hours after the head injury, your pet has a good chance of a full recovery. Recovery time can take up to six months and will depend on the age of the cat and the extent of the injury. 

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Brain Injury Average Cost

From 591 quotes ranging from $800 - $6,000

Average Cost

$1,100

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Brain Injury Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Booger

dog-breed-icon

Tuxedo cat

dog-age-icon

12 Years

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

Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Hearing Loss

We have a twelve year old cat that disappeared for three days. When he showed up he was very thin and almost crazed. We caught him and took him to vet which found he had probably been rolled by a car. He had a broken canine tooth, so we had that removed and brought him home. He has a full brother here and since then they do not like each other. He is also not the same cat. He does seem to recognize some things, but know longer knows his name and his eating habits have changed. It also looks like he has grown back his testicles. We are still trying to figure out if it’s the same cat.

Sept. 24, 2018

Booger's Owner

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Felicity

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short hair

dog-age-icon

4 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

Bloody Nose

We have a kitten that is 4 months old she was playing with our dog and got hurt. She had a bloody nose. We got her nose to stop bleeding but when she wasn't feelomg better in the morning we took to the vet. She is there now they said she has fluid on the brain just wondering what her recovery chance is?

Aug. 25, 2018

Felicity's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Prognosis would depend on Felicity’s response to treatment, without examining her myself I cannot say specifically what here ‘chances’ are; in these cases it is important to monitor for improvement and wait for a response. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 26, 2018

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Kitty

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stray

dog-age-icon

12 Weeks

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

Won'T Drink Or Eat, Only Sleeping

My kitten is 2 months old and she had a head trauma. She started bleeding from her left ear and her left eye didn't close and was swollen. Now the bulging is reduced and she is able to close her eye partially with the help of eye drops the vet prescribed and she is also on IV everyday. She still haven't recovered from the trauma yet and she would getup suddenly from her sleep and start crawling around screaming. I'm not sure what's wrong. The vet told that it was not a serious trauma and that chances are more for her to recover

Aug. 20, 2018

Kitty's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Brain injury is difficult to predict and needs to be managed to ensure that the brain doesn’t swell or have any complications; without examining Kitty I cannot say what the prognosis would be but you should follow any instructions from your Veterinarian and monitor for improvement. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 20, 2018

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Grey

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mixed

dog-age-icon

4 Months

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

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Neck Strain
Small Eyes
There Was Blood Coming Out Of Nose
Responsive When Being Touched

Ladder fell on my 4 months kitten head. Already took her to the vet, and the vet told me that there is definitely brain injury. Her heart rate and blood pressure is okay. But there is no progress after a 12 hour supervision at the animal hospital. Her eyes are still very small and she turns her head and neck lot when her blood pressure is checked or if she is getting check ups. Should I prepare myself for the worst? What is the recovery or survival rate at this point? Please help because I would like to know what will happen at this point. Can we continue the treatment at home.

Aug. 17, 2018

Grey's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Head injuries are very difficult to predict especially if I haven’t examined Grey; there is no specific chance or statistic I can give you as I don’t have enough information to base a prognosis on and even with an examination it would be more guesswork than anything else. You should follow your Veterinarian’s instructions and give any medication prescribed, monitor for any changes and follow up with your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 17, 2018

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Alaska

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Domestic long hair

dog-age-icon

One Month

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

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Bleeding Ear

Hello I have a month and two week old kitten and she got her head stuck in the chair we didn’t no and she had little bleeding from the ear and a 40 sec seizer. I am planing on taking her to the vet in about an hour but she is kinda favoring one side of her body when walking but she dosnt walk far and she won’t eat or drink

Aug. 15, 2018

Alaska's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

It has been a few hours since you wrote your question so I am assuming you took Alaska to your Veterinarian already, without examining her I cannot determine the severity or give you any specific advice. In these cases of head injury a visit to a Veterinarian is always recommended. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 15, 2018

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Gray Kitty

dog-breed-icon

Nebelung

dog-age-icon

1 Year

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

I recently found a stray cat in our front yard bleeding heavily from his eyes, nose and mouth. I rushed him to the emergency vet and he had some form of blunt trauma to the head. He has a small skull fracture and had to have his jaw wired back together. They cannot tell how it happened, but the community came together to raise the funds to save the cat. We are caring for him and I am so discouraged. He loves to be held and purrs when I pet him, but his pupils are fully dilated and do not respond to light. The vet thinks this will be permanent, but I am hoping there are cases where it does improve. I also notice that his sense of smell must not be working either. He cannot locate the food bowl. I have to put the food in to his mouth in order to let him know it is there. He is kept in an enclosure for now while he is recovering and he does appear to have figured out the litter box vs. bed finally. It has only been about a week. He is also very tired. He just sleeps the majority of the day. What are the chances he will regain his sight or sense of smell?

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Lily

dog-breed-icon

dsh

dog-age-icon

9 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

Inability To Stand Up,
Inability To Walk.
Inability To Use The Box.
Inability To Feed Self.
Head Trauma.

I adopted a kitten at four months old who had damage to its right path and who had survived pan leukemia. When we first got her we noticed that she was a clumsy kitten and often ran more like a rabbit and had problems with depth perception and falling off of furniture. This worsened and she even jumped off of my children’s top bunk bed. We noticed after this incident That she started tilting her head to the left and her third eyelid started coming up more and her eyes seemed different. She also had problems running and playing, was wagging her tail a lot, and was falling over on her left side. She started to have problems making it to the bathroom and has the symptoms worsened she would just walk into corners and sit there not knowing how to get out of the corner. She became an able to feed herself and now I have to put diapers on her and feed her and give her water. She is unable to get up on her own and walk. My vet has already given her a round of antibiotics and also several treatments of prednisone and her condition has only worsened. Her gums are a light color and achieve she’s very stiff in her limbs. He wants me to go to an emergency vet hospital and get x-rays and an ultrasound done. But I am hesitant to go because if she is only getting worse how are x-rays and an ultrasound going to help her get better if she has permanent brain damage?

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Mittens

dog-breed-icon

Cat

dog-age-icon

5 Months

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

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Walk Unevenly

He was hit by something, swollen between eyes and nose, and can’t breathe trough nostrils. Vet said head injury and will be ok, But he doesn’t seem to be able to eat and he won’t drink water on his own much and now he’s been walking in circles a lot.

dog-name-icon

Blue

dog-breed-icon

white

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Head Swelling

My 5yr+can feel better the waterheater and wall. Not sure how long he was there but once we found hhim he was upside down all twisted up.. not sure if I should take him to the vet or not. As of now he is just laying down not really doing much. He let's up pet him and even purrs...what should I do. I'm hoping he is just really sore and scared so not wanting to move very much.

dog-name-icon

Bubbles

dog-breed-icon

tabby

dog-age-icon

5 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

Rolled Eye

My 5 months old kitten was playing this morning. He was running fast and banged his head on the glass door. He rolled his eyes then started playing normally. Is it serious?

Brain Injury Average Cost

From 591 quotes ranging from $800 - $6,000

Average Cost

$1,100

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