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What is Nerve Disorder?

Nerve disorders are disruptions in the function of a feline’s nervous system that can lead to physical and cognitive disorders in cats and can display themselves in different ways. This disruption can manifest itself via malfunctioning motor skills, delayed cognitive ability, and diminished reflexes.

The feline nervous system, which consists of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, transmits electric signals that are essential for the animal to function efficiently in its environment. 

Nerve Disorder Average Cost

From 302 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,100

Symptoms of Nerve Disorder in Cats

Since the feline's nervous system controls all of its coordinated, conscious, automatic, and digestive responses, the symptoms presented by nerve disorders are varied and may include all of or some of the following:

  • Leg paralysis or weakness
  • Slow or no reflexes
  • Loss of muscle tone/muscle atrophy
  • Muscle tremors

Nerve disorders can also affect a feline's sensory capabilities. Symptoms of this would include:

  • Poor spatial orientation
  • Frequent loss of consciousness 

Disorders resulting from a failing autonomic nervous system would present symptoms such as:

  • Dry nose and mouth
  • Low tear production
  • Lower than normal heart rate
  • Poor or no anal reflex

Nerve disorders caused by an underactive thyroid gland may present symptoms including:

  • Facial paralysis
  • Dizziness
  • Paralysis of the voice box, throat, and esophagus

While there are other symptoms that might be an indication of a feline nerve disorder, the above-mentioned are some of the most common and would merit a visit to the veterinarian for a complete checkup.

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Causes of Nerve Disorder in Cats

As uniquely designed as the feline nervous system is, there are factors that can lead to disorders. Four common factors are congenital abnormalities, trauma, tumors, and ear infections.

Congenital Abnormalities

Most common among these is hydrocephalus, also referred to as water on the brain. Spinal fluid will pool in certain parts of the brain, leading to abnormal physical appearance, abnormal behaviors, as well as seizures. A second congenital abnormality is malformation of nerves and spinal cord segments. This can lead to fecal and urinary incontinence.

Trauma

If the feline is struck by an automobile or receives trauma, the spinal cord can be damaged and nerves can be torn. Signs of this type of trauma will include paralysis, urination and defecation issues, as well as a limp tail.

Tumors

Lymphosarcoma is one of the most common forms of cancer that affects a feline's nervous system. This will cause tumors on the brain, spinal cord, and other organs. The prognosis varies based on the type of the tumor, its location, and the health of the cat.

Ear Infections

Whether the infection affects the inner ear or the middle ear, it can lead to a ruptured eardrum, spreading infection through the blood.

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Diagnosis of Nerve Disorder in Cats

The first step your veterinarian will take is to get an accurate medical history of your feline, as well as do a general physical exam. They will perform a neurological exam designed to examine the cranial nerves and then will also examine your cat's reflexes and entire body.

During the examination of the cranial nerves, the veterinarian may test the mental activity, coordination, and reflexes of the head.

During the evaluation of your feline's gait, they will watch your cat as it runs, moves from side to side, and turns. Weakness, paralysis, stumbling, and loss of coordination will be monitored.

When examining the neck and front legs, the veterinarian may lift the cat's back legs to evaluate its ability to support its weight on the front legs. They may also position the front legs in an abnormal stance to determine how quickly the cat can correct its stance.

During the evaluation of the hind limbs and tail, the veterinarian will check abnormal posture, loss of feeling, hypersensitivity, as well as muscle loss around the torso and hind legs.

Additional tests may include analyzing the cerebrospinal fluid, blood tests, CT scan, and x-rays.

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Treatment of Nerve Disorder in Cats

Once a diagnosis has been made, the appropriate therapy can be considered. Most care is given on an outpatient basis. Pharmaceutical options may include:

  • Anticonvulsants
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Medication to relieve muscle spasms

Medication may be provided intravenously or orally, depending on the type of injury.

Felines that have brain tumors or head injuries may require cranial surgery. Medications may be used to reduce swelling in these instances.

Nursing care may be provided for paraplegic or quadriplegic animals. This would include manual feeding and manual flexing and massaging of the joints.

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Recovery of Nerve Disorder in Cats

It is important to understand that while veterinarians will do everything in their power to help a cat suffering with a nerve disorder to return to a full quality of life, there are some instances in which nerves will continue to deteriorate and the cat’s disease will worsen. Your veterinarian will determine what follow-up care you will need to provide on a case-by-case basis.

It is important that felines diagnosed with congenital nerve disorders not breed. It is advisable to neuter or spay a cat with these types of conditions to prevent accidental breeding.

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Nerve Disorder Average Cost

From 302 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,100

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Nerve Disorder Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Persian

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Five Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Weakness In Legs

Jumped down off a counter and then sat frozen had weakness in hind legs...but is now fine and walking and has since eaten as well. Wondering if he could’ve pinched a nerve with the landing?

July 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Without being able to examine him, it is hard to say, but it is possible that he jumped down and landed badly and it hurt for a second, or he pinched a nerve and he's fine. If this continues to happen it would probably be best to have him seen by your veterinarian, as they can examine him, make sure his hip and knee confirmation is good, and let you know if there is anything that needs to be done. I hope that all goes well for him.

July 27, 2020

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Bud

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long hair

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12 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Imbalance
Imbalance, Wobbly Gait
Imbalanced, Wobbly Gait

My elderly male cat recently had dental surgery - 5 teeth were taken out. He was under anaesthetic for 30 mins, no mouth gag etc, no heart or blood pressure issues. Post surgery has developed neurological issues, back legs weak, wobbly gait, now front leg is weak. Sleeps mostly. Vet is surprised at symptoms, he stayed overnight for two nights to be on fluids as he went off fluids but eats well - though I have had to feed him a few times (hand feed). It has been a week now. I'm thinking of acupuncture. They suggest MRI to get a full picture in case it's a blood clot from the surgery or some underlying issue..though its very expensive and I'm hoping home rest and acupuncture will help. Concern is if there is a blood clot...

Sept. 12, 2018

Bud's Owner

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Maceo

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Gray Tabby

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18 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

My indoor cat is 18 and has been twitching once in a while. Today just suddenly he has weakness in his left back leg. It almost seems like it is giving out from under him. All else is normal with him, his eating, affection etc. He did however have trouble stepping in to the cat potty. He is walking, stairs etc.

Aug. 19, 2018

Maceo's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Maceo may be having some problems with his nerves or muscles, or with arthritis. Since I can't see him, it would be a good idea tohave him seen by a veterinarian who can examine him and see what his problem is, and what treatment he might need to be comfortable.

Aug. 20, 2018

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Charlie

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Unknown

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10 Months

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Congested
Congested, Meowing,
Congested, Meowing, Wandering

My cat Charlie went missing for two days and came back quite ill. My vet said he has a nasty bacterial infection. He has received shots and is taking pills too. He was really congested and weak. The problem is I think he has nerve damage. His right leg slips a lot and the paw bends. There is no reflex happening. Charlie also never stops meowing. Its ANNOYING! My family and I don't know what to do. He wanders aimlessly and meows. Only when he sleeps and eats is when he is quiet. He also isn't interested in the other cats. Charlie always looks forward and doesn't seem to see or hear properly. If a sound is loud or catches him by surprise, then he freaks out. He also does have some issues with going to the bathroom. He delays it and has diarrhea . He doesn't run or jump. When he is on the couch he just lets himself slip down.

July 28, 2018

Charlie's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

We cannot be sure what has happened to Charlie during those two days or if he sustained an injury, ate something nasty or something else occurred; for the time being try to keep him calm and rested but if this issue continues especially with the paw and loss of proprioception you should return to your Veterinarian. You should give the medication chance to work, but the loss of proprioception is concerning. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 29, 2018

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One Eyed Jack

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Cat

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3 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Dehydration

We came home to my cat having some seizures. We rushed him to the ER vet and they sedated him and followed up with our regular vet. He swishes his tail, flexes his toes, he can lift his head and look around. He is eating & drinking some on his own, some out of a syringe. The first few days we were struggling to keep his temp level but, its leveled off now. He is peeing and pooping. He cannot stand thou & is super wobbly. Hes on subcutaneous fluids 2x daily and clindamycin. The vet said shes never seen anything like it. I know its hard to diagnose or treat without an examination but do you have any suggestions about what it could be that we could look into. Two heads are better than one. Thanks much!

July 27, 2018

One Eyed Jack's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Possible causes for seizures include a systemic problem with Jack's body, a brain disease or parasite, toxins, or epilepsy. With the signs that you are describing, I would consider a toxin or a parasite for him, and you can ask your veterinarian if he is being treated for those things.

July 28, 2018

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Tommy

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Maine Coon

dog-age-icon

8 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Has Limp Right Front Leg

My 8 year old male cat had a dental cleaning and surgery of his dorsal tail to remove a lesion which was NOT cancerous. Upon arriving home, I noticed a limp on the right front leg. It has been 2 and one half weeks post surgery. The limp of right front leg is still there? What are the side effects of a catherer to administer anesthesia for a more than one hour surgery and dental cleaning? And could the catherer cause damage and a permanent limp? I took him to doctor one week post surgery and she stated that it could be an injured nerve! And that the condition should eventually get better and go away. What are YOUR thought on this?? Thanks, Mrs. RLF

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Lucky

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domestic short hair

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12 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Limping, Crooked Gait

My cat has a crooked gait with his front legs (favors his front left leg) and recently began favoring his back right leg. All the vet told us was that he may have paralytic nerve damage and to give baby aspirin. That hasn’t really helped and I’m beginning to wonder what else we can do for him. He’s a stray, but he seems to be around 10-12 years old.

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Too Strong

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Maine Coon

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1 Year

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Unsteady Gait

My cat accidentally had a door shut on him that left him gasping for air! Once he got his breath back I discovered his front legs were not working! I took him to S.A.V.E.S emergency veterinarian where they diagnosed him with a spine injury prescribed him prednisone and recommended I follow up with my veterinarian! I did just as I was instructed and 13 days after the injury he started taking steps! He walks now with a thump but that isn’t the problem! I have since gotten him neauterd and as he has grown it seems that he has run into another issue! He is very playful at the age of 17 months and loves to run and chase after his sister! The problem is If he turns just right he goes into ball and kibbys almost like a seizure which that is what it could be but I’m not sure! He has a good appetite and doesn’t seem like he is in any pain! Also I cannot pick him up from behind his front legs as this causes the same thing! Is it possible that he may have a nerve that pinches that can cause this?

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Lilly

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Unknown

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1 Year

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Fits If Affected Area Is Touched

A heavy metal fell on my kitten and she went unstantly unconcious. Took her to many vets. In one month she started to sit by herself. But both her front legs are stiff. Left leg is kinda twisted too. It's hard for her to walk but she never gives up. If anyone touches her back where both front legs meet she will get a weird fit where she will scratch herself so hard with back legs, that she will hurt herself and anyone who touches her. But will regain conciousness in less than 30 seconds. It's been almost 1 year after the incident. She is still has all above symptoms. Is there any way can help her improve her health? I tried so hard to bring her this far. :(

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Cato

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Local, Pakistan

dog-age-icon

1 Month

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Limping
Loss Of Appetite
Low Pitched Voice

Hi! I have local cat about 1 month old.Yesterday I accidentally pressed my cat under my foot when she was drinking her milk from her bowl. Actually I was standing on left side of my cat and was not aware about her presence there. When my foot came on her, within a second,I felt that something is under my foot and removed my foot from her. But she started rolling on the floor intensely with pain. Then i picked her up and my mother massaged her neck with olive oil, because she was unable to mover her neck in all directions after this accident. But after few minutes she was able to move her neck in all directions. But then appeared a big problem i-e she was unable to walk properly. She limped toward left side and fell down towards her left side after walking few steps. And her digestive system was too affected she did not eat properly after that and she vomits after few minutes of her meal(milk which was given to her by mother with little spoon.) I mean she lost her appetite and whenever she ate , after 10 or 15 minutes she just vomited. And her voice was also affected and it became low pitched. I took her to vet in evening . The vet examined her and gave 3 injections to her and asked me to come in the next morning for X-ray and further examination. Today ,in morning i went to vet hospital again as the doctor asked to me, and took my cat to X_ray room. After seeing the X-ray of my cat, doctor said that the bones are all good. There is a nerve damage to cat, due to which she cannot be able to walk properly and is limping towards left. Doctor further told me that it can take 10, days or 15 days or a month to get fully recovered.But he did not clearly told my that how many nerves of the cat were damaged, because cat was limping as well as her digestive system was also effected. Then he again gave 3 injections to the cat and one small drip. After that I took back my cat home. Now my cat has 3 problems: 1-) she is limping toward left and after walking few steps she fell down on left side. 2-) She has lost her appetite and vomits after having her milk. Now she is taking very small amount of her milk only 2 times in a day and vomits after drinking the milk. 3-) Her voice has become low pitched. Its like a man's voice. Please guide me what should i do and which nerve damages can cause these like of problems. Because i feel that the doctors don't examined her properly. Medications given to cat yesterday are following: These are all the injections 1-) Keto 0.1 ml 2-) amoxil 250 mg 1/4 3-) infision N/S 10 ml 1 Medications given to cat today These are all the injections 1-) Keto 0.2 ml 2-) Amoxil 250 mg 0.5 ml 3-) N/S 30 ml + Neurobion 4-) Metomide 0.1 ml + Zentec 0.1 ml

Nerve Disorder Average Cost

From 302 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,100

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