Head Tilt Average Cost

From 449 quotes ranging from $200 - 2,000

Average Cost

$1,300

First Walk is on Us!

✓ GPS tracked walks
✓ Activity reports
✓ On-demand walkers
Book FREE Walk

Jump to Section

What is Head Tilt?

Vestibular syndrome is not a specific disease but a collection of neurological symptoms and behaviors that are caused by a disruption or dysfunction in the vestibular system. This intricate and complicated system of nerves and anatomical elements is responsible for your cat’s sense of balance. The vestibular system also coordinates the movements of your cat's eyes, neck, head and limbs. If vestibular disease is suspected, your veterinarian will need to pinpoint the location of the problem and determine whether the symptoms are originating from the inner ear (peripheral) or the brain stem (central).

If your cat is holding its head on an angle and having trouble keeping its balance, it may be suffering from vestibular syndrome. Vestibular syndrome is a condition that occurs suddenly. It can cause your cat to stumble, fall, list to one side, or tilt its head. You may notice your cats’ eyes moving erratically from one side to another as it struggles to keep its balance. Head tilt is usually one of the first obvious signs of vestibular syndrome.

Symptoms of Head Tilt in Cats

The most obvious symptom of head tilt or vestibular syndrome in cats is the odd slant at which your cat holds its head upright. This head tilt occurs in both inner ear and brain stem disorders. Other symptoms may include the following:

  • Lack of balance (ataxia)
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Stumbling
  • Walking in a circle
  • Falling down
  • Facial drooping
  • Facial paralysis
  • Strabismus (crossed eyes)
  • Nystagmus (eyes moving up and down or back and forth)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Causes of Head Tilt in Cats

In many cases, your cat’s head tilt may be a symptom of a benign transitory anomaly. However, it may also indicate a serious underlying health condition. Your cat needs immediate medical evaluation to ensure the best and quickest way to resolve the issue. Here are the most common reasons for head tilt in cats:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Inflammatory disease
  • Reaction to drugs
  • Polyps
  • Tumors
  • Cysts
  • Cancer
  • Idiopathic vestibular syndrome (no known reason)

Diagnosis of Head Tilt in Cats

Your cat’s obvious head tilt will be a major symptom your veterinarian will consider when diagnosing the systemic reason for your cat’s health issue. Other diagnostic tests, observations and evaluations may include:

Complete Medical History 

Your veterinarian will want a complete history of your cat’s health including any unusual behaviors or symptoms noticed prior to the head tilt.

Physical Examination

A thorough physical examination is necessary for your veterinarian to determine the cause of the head tilt. This examination may include watching your cat walk around the examination room, taking vital signs and performing both an otoscopic (ear) and neurological exam. 

Blood Tests

Blood tests will help your veterinarian diagnose infections and inflammation that may be causing the head tilt. Test results that register as abnormal help your veterinarian decide what may be the underlying cause of your cat’s vestibular condition. 

Urinalysis

By examining your cat’s urine, the veterinarian can see if there is anything abnormal in the test results that would aid in diagnosing the cause of the head tilt.

Advanced Testing

In some cases, specialized scans that offer advanced imaging such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) may be necessary to make an accurate diagnosis, especially when the problem appears to be located deep within your cat’s ear or skull.

Treatment of Head Tilt in Cats

Idiopathic Vestibular Syndrome

A wait-and-see approach is often used when idiopathic vestibular syndrome is suspected. Your cat’s head tilt will usually disappear on its own, and it seldom returns.

Infections and Inflammation

Your veterinarian will choose appropriate medications depending upon the underlying cause of your cat’s head tilt. Some medicines, like ear drops, may be prescribed as well as oral medications.

Polyps or Tumors

Depending upon the location and size of the polyp or tumor, your veterinarian may recommend surgery to remove the cause of the head tilt.

Drug Reactions

If your cat is having a toxic reaction to a drug, your veterinarian will change medicines and evaluate your cat to see if it needs additional hydration, especially if vomiting has occurred.

Recovery of Head Tilt in Cats

Your cat’s recovery period will depend upon your veterinarian’s diagnosis of the underlying cause of the head tilt. Even a simple ear infection will need follow-up appointments to ensure the infection is under control and that no additional damage has occurred within the cat’s ear. 

Cats who have had surgical intervention to repair the cause of the head tilt need extra care while recuperating. Your veterinarian will want to see your cat on a routine basis until it is completely healed.

If your cat experienced severe vomiting along with the head tilt, your veterinarian may need to keep your cat on IV medications until the vomiting resolves.

Head Tilt Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Cleo
dsh
17 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Head tilted to one side,can’t walk

Medication Used

Methimazole 5mg. 1/2 am 1/2 pm

I took my 17 year old cat to vet for a possible ear infection and my vet ran a blood test and next day results say no ear infection but slight thyroid and prescribed Methimazole 5mg. Tablet 1/2 in am, 1/2 in pm.
My cat still is favoring one side of head tilted to floor, now so bad will not move, hiding in closet, howling scared. She was eating and drinking till this morning very little to nothing and tonight nothing at all .. she couldn’t even figure out how to get herself turned right side up in her bed .. I was terrified if I wasn’t home to see she would’ve suffocated or something. Please, thyroid does not do this that I’ve seen in one of my cats years ago. My next appointment is January for blood draw thyroid check .... new vet and I’m so afraid

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations
A head tilt can be caused by numerous causes especially in a geriatric cat, vestibular disorders may occur for a variety of reasons and causes a cat to lose their sense of up and down; sometimes the head tilt will self resolve after a week or two and other times there is a specific underlying cause like a tumour or something else which leads to the head tilt. I cannot give you much advice to go on if there is no infection apart from offering supportive and symptomatic care. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Hi Dr. Turner, my cat was perfectly fine one day and suddenly began pulling on one ear and I checked her ear no foul smell like ear infection I’ve seen in my dog. But she kept on with that one ear and I brought her to my vet with possible ear infection. She at that time was not tilted or falling over ... but something was wrong with her ear. Same Vet group but my vet has left this practice so a new vet was being assigned Cleo, doctor listen to me and decided to run bloods tests. Next day doctor calls and tells me Cleo has a slight thyroid problem we caught this in time, come pick up meds and we’ll schedule a blood draw in 6 weeks. Ok
But what is with the ear still? Now even worse ... this was a very active 17 year old 14-16 pound cat ... out of nowhere started with one ear favoring and hiding ... but my vet says it is her thyroid? Thank you Dr. Turner

Add a comment to Cleo's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Muffin
Persian
1.5 month
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

My 1.5.month old female persian cat suddenly started to move in circles falling n stumbling along with a bloated stomach n respiratory distress. .i took her to d vet but her health is not improving. ...wot is exactly happened to her

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations
Without examining Muffin I cannot say for certain, but a bloated stomach may be just be some worms; however the circling may be attributable to number different conditions including infections, cerebellar hypoplasia, head trauma, developmental abnormalities, liver shunt among other issues. Further testing is required to determine an underlying cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Muffin's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Thomas
tabby
6 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Head Tilt

Hi my cat suddenly developed a head tilt and at first couldn’t walk without falling over it leaning against furniture. He was also shaking his head and we took him to the vet and they said his ear was wet too. They gave him a steroid injection and antibiotic. A week later he was better balanced although still falls over if he shakes his head. The vet suggested X-ray and mri which we can’t afford but said he’d give us ear drops in case it was an ear infection. Since then it’s now 4 weeks later he continues to eat and go outside but he can’t jump, still tilts his head and his eye is also squinted on that side? Any ideas?

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations
There are various causes for a head tilt in cats including ear infections, vestibular disease, head trauma, tumours among other issues; without performing a CT scan or an MRI, only a presumptive diagnosis can be made regarding any tumours after eliminating all other possible causes. Without examining Thomas, it is difficult to determine a specific cause and even then without further imaging studies we can only make a good guess if any; I would recommend you visit another Veterinarian in your area for a second opinion to see their thoughts. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Thomas's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Sara
Persian
2 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

My 2 year old persian cat is keeping her head tilt.. she couldn't move and stopping eating food but then after some medication she started eating again.. she sleeps all day long with her head pressing down or keeping her head tilt.she's having liquid diet now and doesn't move as she used to... What's the cure for it?

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations
There is no simple cure for this, it depends on what the underlying condition is which may include vestibular disease, ear infections, head trauma, tumours, poisoning, congenital disorders among other causes. Without examining Sara, I cannot say what the specific treatment is; you should return to your Veterinarian for another examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Sara's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Gonna
Country
2 years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Tilted head preferring rest

My cat suddenly developed head tilt and she is preferring to lie down with her head tilted left side wise. She is, however,taking plenty of water and also taking little food. Her movement is ok, but she is preferring to remain in rest most of the time. Please suggest your valued advice what to do. Thanks. - Pranay Banerjee

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations
There are various causes of head tilt in a cat which include vestibular disorders, ear infections, head trauma, poisoning, liver disease among other causes; if Gonna is otherwise herself (eating and drinking), just keep an eye on her but if this continues more than a day you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Gonna's experience

Was this experience helpful?

George
Persian
11 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

My 11 years old Persian about 10 days ago suddenly unbalanced and head tilted. He could not walk straight at all. But he was eating at this time. Then in few days, he could walk and run fine though his head was still tilted. Still eating at this stage also. Then 4 days ago, he stopped eating and drinking all together and vomited his sliver. For 3 days he did not eat and drink but walking ok. Then today, he started eating and drinking but still his head tilted. What is going on? It is not ear infection?? Please advice and what to do.

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations
Whilst ear infections are a possibility, in a cat George’s age it is more likely that he has vestibular disease or another condition affecting his vestibular apparatus causing this head tilt and other symptoms. Many times this cannot be attributed to a particular cause but you should take him into your Veterinarian for a general examination to make sure it isn’t something more serious. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to George's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Maverick
Maine Coon
4 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

I have bring my kitten to the vet for the tilt head. How long will it cure? Now my other cat have the same issue out of the blue. My 1st time encounter this. Should i bring them to the pet hospital or change vet? Please help

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations
There are a few different causes for head tilting but more commonly it is caused by infection in young cats or vestibular disease in older cats; if both of your cats are affected you should visit your Veterinarian (or another Veterinarian) for another examination to determine an underlying cause and to see if treatment is necessary. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Maverick's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Frodo
American Shorthair
1 Year
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Loss of Balance
anorexia
Somnolence
Adipsia
Head Tilt

Our one year-old cat has head tilt. No ear complications have been discovered. Now the tips of his ears are floppy and limp. No strange eye movements, definite balance issues especially when trying to jump up or down, anorexia, little drinking, much sleeping. No longer plays, definite loss of personality. No fever. No diarrhea or vomiting. No apparent pain. Vet is stumped. Could it be idiopathic vestibular syndrome? What can we do?

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations
Whilst vestibular disease is a possibility, we would normally see nystagmus of the eyes along with the other symptoms; however a diagnosis of vestibular disease would only be made once all other possible conditions are ruled out first. If a blood test hasn’t been done already, I would recommend that you do so to look for issues with liver and kidneys as well as any other anomalies which may be pointing to an underlying cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Frodo's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Opus
Shorthair
3 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Head Tilt

I just adopted a cat from the animal shelter and when filling out the paperwork they informed me that he has head tilt. I had never heard if that and asked if he was healthy and what that might mean and the lady told me it was fine but may mean he mind just be a little off. Upon looking up to understand I now know it could actually be an infection or something that means he is not healthy. I am due to have my first kid in 3 days and am really hoping he isn't sick. Do u have any advice? We're planning on taking him to the vet but at this point any extra expenses could be difficult. Can cats just have head tilts or is there something causing it? He is about 3 years old and like I said the adoption lady acted like it was just how he was.

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations
A head tilt may be caused by a few different disorders which includes inner or middle ear infections, vestibular disorders, cerebellar hypoplasia (very mild), head trauma among other causes. If Opus is otherwise in good spirits, keep an eye on him but I would suggest getting a Veterinarian to give him a once over to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Opus's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Calico
calicoo
16 Days
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

My cat had a little bout with fleas. I had sprayed some vinegar and water on her. I rubbed it into her coat. I don't have a lot of money. I noticed yesterday she stayed in my bed all day. She didn't come out and ask for food and normally she is talking away to get some. She is 16. I was just noticing that she kind of is flicking her head.It is liks she is trying to sleep but than does a quick flick.I am concerned.

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations
There are a few possible issues which may be affecting Calico especially given her age; she may be just having an off day or it may be an indication of something more serious. I would watch her until Monday morning, if there is no improvement you should visit your Veterinarian regardless of cost. Poisoning, infections, tumours, vestibular disorders, liver or kidney disease among other issues may be present. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Calico's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Snow angel
mixed
Six Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

My white kitten is walking with her head tilted to the left and she is not walking straight she did have some weird liquid oozing out of her ear she has been vomiting and having constant diarrhea

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations
There are a few possible causes for head tilting in cats which may be caused by infections, head trauma, parasites, tumours (probably a bit too young), poisoning among other causes; if there have been signs of ear discharge then an ear infection is possible, check with your Veterinarian to make sure it isn’t anything more serious. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Ok thank you i think she has ear mits I'm more worried about her balance being off in everything she does

Add a comment to Snow angel's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Shadow
Shorthaired domestic
4-5
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Eye Movement
Irritable
Head Tilt

To whom it may concern,
Our cat, Shadow, has become ill. He is normally a pretty social and fiery can with lots of energy. Over the last couple of days he has become anti social and if anyone would come up to him he would lay there and not move. We live in south east QLD so we have been checking him for ticks but he doesnt go outside and doesnt have any contact with any other animals. He has a slight head tilt, moving slowly. He is still urinating normally and still eating dry food, but only in small quantities. We originally thought it could be stress as the house has just been repainted and he doesnt like change. He hasnt touched any of the paint so it cant be poison. If his condition doesnt improve we are getting him to a vet on Monday (Saturday today).

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations

Were you affected at all by Cyclone Debbie? I know it affected around Townsville and Mackay but I am not sure how far down it went, collateral damage and all. Water, soil and other contaminates can affect your surrounding environment and a curious Shadow may have picked something up. Whilst Shadow hasn’t physically touched the paint, fumes may affect him still especially if the area wasn’t well ventilated. Liver disease, kidney disease, poisoning, dietary problems, tumours, hormonal disease, ear infections, other infections etc… are all causes which may display with these symptoms. It is good that he is still drinking and eating (if only a little), if you see no improvement over the weekend visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

hello Doctor..my cat is in very critical situation her neck is moved to left side and her eyes also moves right left..kindly tell me what can i do

Hi Dr. Turner,

Luckly we werent affected by the Cyclone and only had alot of rain over a 48 hour period. Shadow is an indoors cat and doesnt go outside. Shadows symptoms have changed. He has lost his head tilt but this eyes are squinted and his third eyelids are showing slightly. He is still lethargic and will only stay in dark places. Seems to be light sensitive. He is sneezing now was well but it sounds different. My family and I think it could be a cold. Our Doberman has recently had a small cold and we think that Shadow could have caught it off her. The dont touch each other but they come very close at a screen door. Could this be a possiblility? If his condition doesnt improve we are taking him to a vet tomorrow. Thanks for your help.

Add a comment to Shadow's experience

Was this experience helpful?

prines
Black and white
8 Weeks
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Neck Pain

Medication Used

No medications were prescribed

what to do ifmy kitten has tilt head 8 weeks kitten started only today but know when i touched it dident meww but first time i did it it hurt him please help

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations

Head tilt and neck pain may be due to atlantoaxial subluxation, trauma, vestibular problems, infections, congenital disorders etc… Due to the varied possible causes, it would be best to have Prines checked by her Veterinarian to see what the underlying cause is. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to prines's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Corona
domesticshorthair
4 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

sudden onset head tilt primarily to the right

Medication Used

none at this time

I adopted a 3 week old kitten that was abandoned. I bottle fed her and she has been a very healthy growing kitten. She is 4 1/2 months old. She lives with 5 other cats and as of Monday now 2 dogs. Her head tilt developed the day our 9 yr old Male GSD lost his life to Kidney disease and his enlarged heart caused his sudden death. We notice later that day after we had buried Dillon that she now had a head tilt so it appeared out of nowhere. I was a trained Vet Tech and have seen this before even though I don't work in the field any longer. Her pupils remain the same size and are not darting around at all. She is eating and playing normally except she will get a little off balance understandably. I am concerned as she is special. What do you think?

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations

There are different causes of head tilt in cats including infections, trauma, ear mites, poisoning or vestibular disease (idiopathic); checking her ears for infection from the smell and presence of any debris may indicate some infection, if there is an infection present cleaning and the administration of antibiotics would be the usual course of action. If there is no sign of infection or symptoms of poisoning, a wait and see approach maybe taken to see if there is any improvement; otherwise a visit to your Veterinarian may help narrow down a diagnosis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

My cat had involuntary eye movement (which stopped about 3 days later), a head tilt, and loss of balance. Her head tilt remains (about two weeks later), although it's usually only when she walks. She is better on her feet, but she's still a little wobbly and has difficulty jumping. She's been on antibiotics for ten days (twice a day). Will the head tilt eventually go away and will she fully recover? How much longer should it take?

my cat have head tilt and his eyes are moving continusely and neck too kindly tell me what can i do

a week ago someone hit my cat and her rare left leg becomes fracture and i consult with Vet but he says that she have a major fracture it could not recover because her all bones are fractured only one is less fracture and then he ask me that her fracture will not recover if we bandge it,she will get ill and her leg will swell very badly than i say what can we do now the Vet asked me to cut his leg from knee and then the Vet cut her leg about 2 days before and gave some medicines,i gave her medicines according to Vet advice .yesterday she was fine but today i see my cat she is in very critical condition her head moved continously and then moved at the right side her eyes also move,she can not walk even so please tell me what can i do

Add a comment to Corona's experience

Was this experience helpful?