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Cat Stroke Treatment

Cat Stroke Treatment

When a cat suffers stroke, it requires quick medical intervention to ensure complete recovery from the condition. Read this article to understand the course of cat stroke treatment.
Bidisha Mukherjee
Medically, cat stroke is known as feline ischemic encephalopathy (FIE). Both male and female species of all breeds of cats can suffer from stroke. It happens when blood supply to the brain is disrupted all of a sudden. As a result, sufficient oxygen supply does not reach the brain, which leads to death of brain cells. Cat stroke is of two different types. Both are commonly associated with the problem of blood vessels of the brain. One is 'ischemic stroke', where blood supply to the brain is disrupted due to blockage in the blood vessels that carry blood to the brain. The other one is 'hemorrhagic stroke', where blood vessels in the brain get ruptured and bleeding occurs. There are a number of underlying health conditions that can contribute towards this kind of damage to the blood vessels. They are traumatic head injury, ingestion of toxins, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, heart disease, thyroid problems, brain tumor, etc.

Symptoms of a Cat Stroke
Identification of stroke symptoms is the most vital part of its treatment. You can provide treatment only when you understand its symptoms. These symptoms largely depend on the part of the brain that gets affected by stroke. Some of the acute symptoms that appear all of a sudden are as follows:
  • Unsteady movement due to lack of coordination of voluntary muscles
  • Abnormal tilt of the head suggesting that the cat has difficulty in moving the head
  • Eating difficulty as foods may fall off their mouth as they cannot chew if the facial muscles are affected
  • Frequent choking which means that the throat muscles are affected
  • Sudden change in cat behavior
  • Difficult bowel movements
  • Disorientation and mental confusion
  • Impaired vision or blindness
  • Too much of aggression
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Paralysis
Whenever you observe stroke symptoms in cats, you must rush your pet to the vet without any delay. The main aim of treatment is to bring down inflammation of the brain cells and minimize the damaging effects of stroke. During the treatment, the pet is provided with intensive care and nursing. Firstly, rehydration solution is administered intravenously in order to rehydrate the cat's body.

There are no medications as such that can be used for cat stroke treatment. For this reason, doctors try to find out the exact cause behind the stroke and proper treatment is given to treat the underlying condition. Then, there are several medicines available that are given to the pet in order to treat the symptoms and overcome the adverse effects of the stroke. Anti-inflammatory drugs are given to bring down inflammation of the brain tissue. Those with symptoms of nausea and vomiting are given antiemetics to alleviate these symptoms. Signs of impaired brain function like disorientation and ataxia are managed well with the help of sedatives. Antibiotics are often given to reduce the risk of any possible infection. Seizures are controlled with antiseizure medicines. Usually, there are no dietary restrictions and the pet can continue with the regular diet.

Then the pet is comforted on a soft, warm and dry bedding. The bedding has to be changed from time to time as and when it becomes wet. As the cat cannot move the body by itself, there are high chances of developing pressure sores. The risk of urine scalding is quite high as it cannot take its normal posture when urinating. Such problems are avoided by turning the pet's body from one side to the other after regular intervals of time.

If the treatment starts early, then signs of improvement can be observed within the first 72 hours. The treatment should be followed by proper rehabilitation program for the cat, which has proved to be helpful to overcome the effects of feline stroke. Some aggressive physical therapy is highly recommended in this condition in order to bring about improvement in impairment of physical health.

The chances of recovery depend on how well the pet responds to the treatment. If symptoms of cat stroke are alleviated within a few days, then the cat can recover fully from the stroke. In such cases, the recovery time varies in between 2-3 weeks. However, if the symptoms do not show signs of improvement in the initial days, then the chances of recovery are quite less if not impossible. At times, the pet may have to live with permanent disabilities for the rest of its life.