Feline stroke, though rare can certainly occur in pet cats. Earlier, it was believed that feline stroke cannot occur in domestic cats. However, the low occurrence was mainly due to inept diagnostic techniques and lack of specific symptoms. These days, owing to advanced diagnostic tools and techniques, it has been observed that domestic cats are indeed prone to stroke. The good news is that cat stroke is rarely as fatal or serious as human stroke. Besides, cats are less likely to suffer from a permanent damage than humans. The recovery process in cats often restores your pet to full health in a matter of few days. Let us understand all about cat stroke causes, symptoms, treatment and recovery period.
Symptoms and Causes
Stroke is a condition, which occurs due to interrupted supply of blood and nutrients to the brain. In the absence of blood and oxygen, brain cells start dying. Stroke in cats or any mammals for that matter is of two types, ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic stroke occurs when the artery supplying blood to the brain gets clogged, narrowed or completely blocked. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when blood vessels in the brain leak out blood or burst.
Stroke hampers many functions in the body and causes symptoms to become evident. However, cats do not exhibit very specific symptoms of stroke. Hence, you are likely to mistake stroke symptoms for some other medical ailment. Nonetheless, certain behavioral and physiological symptoms may surface, that are easy to spot. You may find your cat moving in a circle or walking in a wobbly manner. Besides, it may become quiet, confused or disoriented. Vision loss is also a rare symptom that erupts from stroke. Other stroke symptoms in cats include loss of balance, decreased perception to touch, loss of facial expressions, vacant eyes, vomiting, etc.
Treatment and Recovery
If you suspect a possibility of cat stroke when you see any of the above symptoms, it is a must that you take your pet to a vet. A vet will analyze the symptoms and perform certain diagnostic tests. A CT scan or MRI scan is often sufficient to confirm the occurrence of stroke. If the diagnostic tests yield a positive result, then the vet will most likely want to keep your pet under close observation. The pet is kept on oxygen and antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drugs are given intravenously. The condition of the cat should improve with these treatment measures. The second phase of recovery begins at home.
Your vet will most likely give you guidance on what signs and symptoms to look for in your pet. The vet will also provide some tips on how to care for such cats at home. Your pet may seem a little shaky during the first few days post stroke, however, this is something to be expected, as the body is getting used to the effects of stroke. As long as your cat is eating normally and sleeping, you can expect a full and quick recovery. The best thing about cat stroke is that, most cats can recover naturally with little or no medical help. Very rarely, an irreversible damage to the brain may occur, which may send your pet into a coma or cause death.
Although, cat stroke recovery is not usually an issue, an event of recurrence is certainly alarming. Hence, the prognosis usually revolves around the cause of the stroke and its elimination in order to prevent recurrence in future. While a cat can easily survive the first stroke, the life expectancy may diminish with subsequent strokes. Nonetheless, you can expect your pet to lead an active life with proper care and treatment.
It is important not to get stressed out by the alarming symptoms of stroke. Always remember, your cat is more resilient to strokes and will return to health in no time. Hence, avoid resorting to drastic measures such as euthanasia if your pet does not regain consciousness soon. Always rush it to the nearest vet to avoid further damage to the cat's brain.