Loss of Balance Average Cost

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What is Loss of Balance?

The condition takes place when a disease or injury disrupts the vestibular apparatus in the inner ear. The vestibular apparatus is the area that controls the balance and coordination in your cat. There are several causes of vestibular disease, but the disease is usually considered idiopathic because the cause is not always known.

A loss of balance commonly occurs when a cat is suffering from vestibular disease. Your cat may experience issues with standing on all four legs, and you may even notice your cat leaning or falling over at times, which can be a frightening sight.

Symptoms of Loss of Balance in Cats

Once you notice your cat is having trouble standing up, it is important to watch for the other signs of vestibular disease. A cat who is suffering from loss of balance may also display the following symptoms:

  • Trouble standing
  • Falling down
  • Stumbling when walking
  • Head tilting to one side
  • Moving in circles
  • Rolling on floor
  • Weakness of limbs
  • Continual eye movements
  • Painful vocalizations
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Vomiting or lack of appetite

Causes of Loss of Balance in Cats

There is not always a known cause to vestibular disease, but the following problems can play a part in this condition:

  • Middle-ear or inner ear infections
  • Disease or injury of the spinal cord
  • Damage or disease of the central nervous system
  • Neurological disorders
  • Cancer
  • Tumors in ear canal, especially in aging cats
  • Exposure to specific drugs or toxins

Diagnosis of Loss of Balance in Cats

The symptoms of vestibular disease may be related to another condition, such as an inner ear infection or head trauma. A physical exam is usually performed to check the overall health of your cat. This includes a neurologic exam and an otoscopic (ear) exam. You should also expect to answer questions about the cat's medical history and current symptoms.

Your veterinarian may run a number of tests to check for an underlying cause of your cat's loss of balance or to rule out other conditions. Your veterinarian may order a blood test, urine test, and ear cultures to check for diseases that may cause a loss of balance. Your cat may have to undergo an MRI, spinal tap, and head x-rays to check for injuries or infections that may have caused the condition. The tests also allow your veterinarian to ensure the loss of balance has not caused a more serious condition, such as injury from falling down.

Treatment of Loss of Balance in Cats

Treatment options depend on whether or not the loss of balance is idiopathic. Your veterinarian will treat the underlying cause if it is known, and they will focus on relieving the symptoms if there is not a known cause.

Treating the Underlying Cause

The loss of balance may be caused by an ear infection, tumor or exposure to toxins. When this is the case, your veterinarian will treat the underlying cause of the condition. Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics for an infection or induce vomiting for drug toxicity. The type of treatment depends on the underlying cause itself.

Treating Idiopathic Vestibular Disease

If the loss of balance or vestibular disease is considered to be idiopathic, your veterinarian will focus on treating the symptoms and bringing comfort to your cat.

Dizziness can cause your cat to lose its appetite or vomit, so your cat may prescribe medication to treat the vomiting, nausea and motion sickness. Your cat may require help with feedings, fluid administration, and changing position during recovery from this condition. Your cat may be restricted to cage rest in a well-padded area to avoid injury when trying to stand up or walk. The good news is the symptoms usually disappear in about two weeks and rarely reappear.

Recovery of Loss of Balance in Cats

Your veterinarian can treat the underlying cause or symptoms of the loss of balance, but it is still important to schedule a follow-up appointment after the treatment. A follow-up appointment allows your veterinarian to make sure the underlying cause has been treated or eliminated. Your veterinarian will also make sure your cat has not become sick or injured due to the loss of balance.

It is important to follow the instructions given by your veterinarian, from assisting with feedings to administering medication. You may need to continue to restrict your cat to cage rest until the symptoms have completely disappeared. Your veterinarian will tell you when to discontinue the treatment.

The underlying cause may be treatable if it is caught early, and idiopathic vestibular disease usually disappears over a short period of time. 

Loss of Balance Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Loss of Balance

My cat recently went missing for 24 hours and since coming back can't seem to walk for more than 3 seconds, or stand for longer than 40 seconds without falling over. It seems like it is his back legs that are giving way. He doesn't seem to be in any pain as he is purring still and hasn't made any unusual noises. He also doesn't seem to be put off of his food. I have also felt his back legs and he doesn't pull away / show any signs of being in pain. Is this something we should get checked out immediately, or should we wait and see if he improves over the next couple of days?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1170 Recommendations
This would be something that you should get checked out immediately, just because no pain is exhibited doesn’t mean that there is no signs of trauma; also poisoning is also a strong possibility which may cause neurological problems. Unfortunately the 24 hour period is a blind spot and we do not know of his interactions, what he ate or what injuries he may have sustained. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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10 or 11 years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Loss of Appetite
Loss of weight
wobbly legs
leans to one side
tilts her head
falls when she walks
trouble standing

What could be a reason as to why my cat is losing her balance? She is an older cat, around 10 or 11, she can also not stand or walk for more than 5 seconds before she falls. When she walks freely around the house, she will meow constantly.Her weight has dropped to where you are now able to feel her spine and ribs easily. She also has a loss of appetite and only eats a few bites then walks away from the food.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1170 Recommendations
A loss of balance may be caused by vestibular conditions, liver disease, kidney disease, heart condition, poisoning among other causes; with the loss of appetite and loss of balance I would be more concerned with liver or kidney disease which should be checked by your Veterinarian. Blood tests along with the physical examination are a minimum required in this type of case. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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short haired manecoon
14 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Loss of Appetite
Cloudy eyes
Loss of energy
Loss of Balance

Hi my cat is 14 years old. recently I have noticed that he has lost a lot of weight and doesn't want to eat wet or dry food. Today I noticed he was having trouble walking. He has trouble standing, walking, any moving is very unbalanced. Im not sure what to do, I know he is old, but I just wanted to know if it was most likely because of his age and I should let him pass freely or bring him to a vet. He doesn't cry just seems like he has a loss of energy, appetite, balance, and his eyes are beginning to get cloudy.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1170 Recommendations
There are a few reasons for a cat to lose weight and to lose interest in food, many times in older cats dental issues may cause discomfort when eating which in turn causes a reduction in food intake. Other causes may be again due to aging and include liver or kidney disease, foreign objects, tumours, hormonal conditions among other causes; I feel that a visit to your Veterinarian would be valuable so you can determine if there is anything which can be done to treat or at least manage the condition. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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