Facial Nerve Paralysis Average Cost

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What are Facial Nerve Paralysis?

Facial nerve paralysis occurs when there is damage to the seventh cranial nerve. The damage causes the muscles of the eyelids, ears, nostrils and lips to become weak or paralyzed. The damage may even disturb the tear glands. This means your cat may have trouble with activities such as eating or changing their facial expression. Face nerve paralysis is also known as facial nerve paresis.

Symptoms of Facial Nerve Paralysis in Cats

Take your cat to the veterinarian if you notice any of the following symptoms, as this could be a sign of face nerve paralysis:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Problems with eating
  • Drooping of lips or ears
  • Nostril collapse
  • Asymmetry or spasms of the face
  • Tilting head towards affected side
  • Unusual eye movement or pupil size
  • Irritation or discharge of eyes
  • Unable to blink or close eyelids
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Weakness of muscle or muscle group


There are two types of face nerve paralysis in cats. Your cat may suffer from paralysis of one or both sides of the face.

  • One-sided facial nerve paralysis: Can barely move muscles that control facial expressions
  • Two-sided facial nerve paralysis: Cannot move lips, eyelids, nostril and ears

Causes of Facial Nerve Paralysis in Cats

There are several factors that cause facial nerve paralysis in cats. The causes of this condition are as follows: 

  • Idiopathic (undetermined)
  • Injury
  • Ear infection
  • Surgery
  • Cancer
  • Polyneuropathy
  • Neuromuscular disorder

Your cat may also suffer from face nerve paralysis due to an inflammation of the central nervous system. The inflammation causes an infectious or noninfectious disorder that plays a part in the facial nerve paralysis.

Diagnosis of Facial Nerve Paralysis in Cats

A visit to the veterinarian is essential to diagnosing and treating face nerve paralysis in your cat. It is best to write down the symptoms they are displaying and medical history that may contribute to this condition. A surgery or ear infection from the past may be the reason your cat is suffering from face nerve paralysis today. Your veterinarian will give your cat a physical exam and determine if the paralysis is on one or both sides of the face. You can also expect to discuss any past ailments, diseases or injuries that may have caused their current condition.

It may be difficult to find the underlying cause if your cat is not displaying any neurological symptoms. A complete blood count, urinalysis and biochemical profile may come back as normal even if your cat is suffering from facial paralysis. Your cat may have to undergo further tests to rule out other conditions, from a Schirmer tear test to an electromyography.

Your cat may need to be hospitalized to be tested and monitored by the staff. The symptoms, medical history and test results will help your veterinarian make an accurate diagnosis.

Treatment of Facial Nerve Paralysis in Cats

Your veterinarian will start taking the steps to treating your cat once they diagnose the one-sided or two-sided face nerve paralysis. The underlying cause must be treated rather than the actual condition, but the good news is most cases allow your cat to be treated as an outpatient.


Medication may be prescribed to treat the underlying cause of face nerve paralysis. You may also have to administer artificial tears if the underlying cause is an eye problem, such as not being able to produce their own tears.

Ear Surgery

Your cat may need to undergo ear surgery to remove the inflamed pieces or drain the middle ear.

Soothing The Weak Muscles

There are specific treatments that help sooth the weak muscles, such as an electroacupuncture. It is a form of acupuncture that uses a small electric current with the usual acupuncture needles.

Recovery of Facial Nerve Paralysis in Cats

Your veterinarian will give you instructions for the medication, artificial tears, or care required after surgery. It is important to follow the guidelines as directed so you can treat the underlying cause without damaging the cornea, ears or nerves.

Scheduling a follow-up appointment is an important part of the recovery process. Your veterinarian needs to make sure the underlying cause has been treated. They will also check the function of the facial muscles, such as the eyes and lips.

You may need to continue applying medication or artificial tears to your cat indefinitely. 

Ear cleaning may be recommended at home, care is needed to prevent damage the ear or cause an infection. If your cat is having trouble eating due to the weak muscles, switching them to soft food can make feeding time easier.

The prognosis depends on the underlying cause and condition of your cat. Early detection and treatment can result in a full recovery. Unfortunately, there is always a chance the face nerve paralysis will leave permanent damage.

Facial Nerve Paralysis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

3 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Head tilt wobbly gait when walking

Cat way sprayed 5/10/19 and came home paralyzed on the right side of her face. She loses her balance frequently and fall straight on her face and she is barely eating. What could have gone wrong during surgery. The Vet sent her home like this and she was very healthy prior to surgery.

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Short hair domestic
10 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

r sided facial paralysis

Alex started to be sleeping more the week before his r sided facial paralysis occurred, his facial paralysis includes r ear-poised lower than L ear and doesn’t move; r eye doesn’t close; r whiskers stay in one position. His pupils are equal and reactive to light. He is able to eat and drink -but slowly and with a little difficulty. He is able to walk around normally. His CT scan was normal, labs not done. The ER Vet thinks it could be a brain lesion. I was wondering if this is similar to Bell’s palsy in humans

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4 Months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Not eating and drinking

My cat is drooping her head towards right side she is unable to eat and drink her breathing has also become very low but she is able to move her head all around

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King DVM
1611 Recommendations
Without examinng Elle, I don't have any way to determine what might be going on with her, unfortunately. Kittens are prone to infectious disease, and she should be seen by a veterinarian who is able to see her, assess what might be going on with her, and give her any needed treatment.

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10 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Walking odd, disoriented

My cat's eye pupil is very small compared to the other. What can be causing this? She looks a bit disoriented. She ate well, but walks around a bit like if she is drunk. I am not sure what happened, she goes out at times and I came home from work and found her this way

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King DVM
1611 Recommendations
Thank you for your question. If Petina's eyes are different sizes, and she seems that she is walking and unstable, she should probably be seen by a veterinarian. Possible causes may be a head trauma, a toxin, systemic disease, or cancer. It would be best to have her seen, try and figure out the cause, and have her treated. I hope that she is okay.

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