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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.

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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

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Alaska

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Domestic long hair

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One Month

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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

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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0 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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Lil Bit

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tabby

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4 Weeks

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Lathargic
Lathargic, Fluid From Wound.

I have a 4 week old kitten that was bitten by her mother last night in the head. She was barely alive when I found her this morning. We have her laying with a heat pad and dropper feeding every 2 hours. But she now has a brownish fluid draining from the wound. What is this fluid. It doesn't seem to be blood. What can I do for her?

Aug. 1, 2018

Lil Bit's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Severe trauma like a bite wound to the head should be seen by a Veterinarian immediately, without examining Lil Bit I cannot determine the severity or an appropriate treatment plan; plus if she was barely alive when found there is little you can do at home. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 2, 2018

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Brain Injury Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$1,100

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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