Author Topic: epileptic cat  (Read 30498 times)

Offline CoolCyberCats

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Re: epileptic cat
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2009, 21:23:33 PM »
Ahh. Good that she had the MRI though. So that was what made the dignosis idiopathic. :)

My only other question is what the does of those pills are. If Leo were taking 3 of our pills a day he would not have a life at all. :(

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Offline Gill (sneakiefeline)

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Re: epileptic cat
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2009, 21:05:58 PM »
I am being a bit norty here butting in, but have talked with Zoe a lot and know that Oliie has had MRI and spinal tap and all tests have showed no problem.

I am like you though cos Franta is too old for MRI and weird in that  the abs have seemingly helped him but like Zoe live on my nerves all the time.

Offline CoolCyberCats

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Re: epileptic cat
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2009, 20:58:13 PM »
Hello Zoe,
I am sorry about Ollie. Epilepsy is not a fun thing to have to deal with and as you said there are not a lot of support groups for cat owners namely because (as you also stated) it is so rare in cats.

Are the phenobarbital pills 16.5mg each? The pills we get are, and Leo gets a half pill each morning and a quarter pill at night. The Pheno can place Olli in a stupor and make it hard for him to get around. I know that over time their bodies get used to it and the effects are not as pronounced, but if the pills are 16.5mg each that means he is getting close to 50mg a day. I personally would consider that a lot and have grave concerns over that much, but then again I do not know the mg dosage of your pills and I am no veterinarian. It will be very important for Ollie to get his blood work often I would think. Pheno can do great damage to the liver. Leo has been on it for 10 years now and we have his phenol levels and liver tests done every few months or when he has multiple seizures. Also it takes a while for the body to build up to the level of pheno in the blood, a reason why getting phenol levels taken is important. The diazepam helps short term and quickly, which is why you got that.

Another avenue you could talk over with your veterinarian would be getting Ollie an MRI to make sure there is nothing in his head causing this, like scar tissue or a tumor. WE have opted to not do that with Leo. Mainly he has been an epileptic so long that if there was a tumor it would have long killed him, and at his age I would be hard pressed to allow brain surgery.

I would say it is also important for you to now monitor the frequency of Ollie’s seizures, note the severity and length of them and any behavior changes before he has one. Also watch him closely for petite-mals, they can occur independent of the grand-mals or, like in Leo’s case occur after the grand-mals or leading into them.

I am not sure if there are other options in the UK, other than Phenobarbital, but I know there are some other drugs here that are generally accepted as long term treatments for dogs. Our vet has talked about them before, but we have opted to stay with the phenol for now since Leo’s liver is doing fine and it seems to help him.

Last thought, if Ollie continues to be knocked into a stupor by the level of pheno he is taking AND his seizures have not been happening or no where near as often, consider asking your vet about a SLOW reduction on this daily dosage. Quality of life is always a big part of the equation. But for now the main goal is to stop further prolonged episodes.

Sincerely,
David

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Offline puggy1975 Zoe

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Re: epileptic cat
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2009, 20:01:56 PM »
Hi David

I find your topic very interesting. My cat has just been diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy

suddenly one night Ollie started taking a seizure. i had been of work ill for a month and was due to go back to work the next day, i had gone to bed and 5 mins later i heard my husband screaming and load bangs , i ran down stairs and Ollie was fitting, totally bashing himself off everything and wet himself we had the paddling motion, eye twitching, pupils dilated, dribbling at the mouth and breathing frantically. about ten mins before hit happened he was making youlling noises. We called the emergency vet straight away. about 11.30 at night. Cleaned ollie and took him to the vet. the vet checked his blood levels gloucose and all the general tests they can do in our surery. no temperature but his hear rate was very variable, the vet gave us a tube of retal diazepan and asked us to keep an eye on him.

we got ollie home and decided to stay down stairs with him, 1 hour later he took another seizure. gave him some diazepan then he settled after we cleaned him up by morning he had had 3 very violent seizures. we took him to vet in morning and she started him on phenobarbital 1 tablet twice a day, i took the day off work to look after ollie as was scared to leave him and he took another 2. he had 5 seizures in less than 7 hours. i called vet again and she told me to bring him to see her and she would look after him over night. as soon as she saw him she said he was to ill for her to look after so admitted him to the small animal hospital in glasgow

he was admitted to the high dependency unit where they monitored him overnight and anf the following morning they did various tests and an mri scan, they checked him for all other diseases also all came back negative. The neurologis and vet said the amount he took in such a short space of time was quite worrying and we feared the worst.

Ollie is now on 1.5 tablets morning and night. the side effects the first couple of weeks were awful. Ollie had no quality of life and we were worried this was how he would be he kept falling over and was completely spaced out 24 hours a day and took a bad skin reaction to the medication.  the side effects are starting to wear off now of the tablets and we are starting to get our boy back. he is still in early stages of this so we have a lot to learn and most probably a lot more to deal with

coming on this forum has been great especially speaking to Gill as her cat has similar problems and has helped reassure me and having support of someone who understands what the cat  and i am going through. it is very rare in cats seizures far more commom in dogs

i permanently feel on edge just now as the slightest chage in the way Ollie acts i start to panick. the vet is doing blood tests every cople weeks to check effext of medication on ollies liver and they hope in time can reduce the tablets but for now we need to jeep him stable. . it has been a very stressful time and i am sure you and also Gill probably feel the same

Any info i can get is greatly appreciated as this condition is not that common

zoe
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Offline Gill (sneakiefeline)

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Re: epileptic cat
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2009, 00:12:44 AM »
Thanks very much david cos I have a cat who has periods of seizures and they sound pretty much Grande Mal but he is not on meds unless he has some and asap after having one I will get him to the vets and he is given an ab called marbocyl by injection and I then give him 6 further injections, one a day and the seizure stop.

Its a very powerful ab and it takes 3-4 days for the seizures to stop, He was traeted as having a brain infection but due to his age as a 16yr old birman with only one working kidney, he is too old to travel a long way for an MRI scan and the anesthetic couls kill him anyway. So this treatment was tried back in Feb the start, and he was then ill again in Julu and again in Sep.

There is a thread on hear detailing everything that happens, sort as a record for me.

Like you I will not now go away over night, he gets very stressed when I go out for long times and has become a devoted little sheep who follows me everywhere and wants to be cuddling for long times during the day and evening , and has now taken to sleeping on my bed too.

We have just got a new member in last week or so whose cat is dagnosed with epilepsy and has had all the tests and MRI and there is nothing that can be found that causes it, which fits with what you have said. He is on phenabarbatone but has only just started treatment so is have severe side effects but is on an extremely high doseage.

The last vet that saw Franta for about 2 mins! decided he thought he was epileptic but I dont think so, so your explanation has helped me a lot and its the first time that I have been able to talk to one, let alone two people with epileptic cats.

The seizures are very horrible to watch and so far I have had nothing that gives me any indication of them about to start but last time we were at the vets an hour or so  from the first seizure and he recovered much quicker than in previous times.

He hates travelling in the car and we have about 45mins at the least to travel to the vets and the only time he has had two seizure in quick succession was back in Feb travelling home from the vet and he was in the car and it was terrible and thought I was losing him. Usualy his seizures are anything from 6 hours upwards apart and the further apart they get the closer he is to them stopping.

I have a rectal tube of diazapam for him in case of needing to travel with him having a seizure. Not sure how I would administer it to be honest although he  rests for a long time and loses or part loses his sight for a time after.

I think he doesnt remeber anything like you say but just knows he cant see, is starving hungry and needs to rest.

Offline CoolCyberCats

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Re: epileptic cat
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2009, 22:13:10 PM »
Hello Gill,
All most excellent questions.
I will start with a guide I have on eBay on feline seizures then I’ll address the questions directly.

---start of guide---
Seizures are a very serious problem, and if your cat has suffered a seizure, whether a full blown grand-mal or a petite-mal, you should take him a veterinarian right away. A proper diagnosis can cost a lot and take some time, but this may be needed in order to figure out the cause, eliminate causes and/or find out the best treatment be it surgery or medication.

There is a difference between epilepsy and seizures. Seizures can range from unusual mood swings, sudden loss of balance, uncontrollable thrashing and loss of body control. Seizures are usually symptoms of a disease or physical problem which include infections, tumors, toxic chemicals, and brain damage. Generally cat seizures are not caused by epilepsy. Epilepsy is more a word for seizures for which no other cause has been found.

You will usually see epilepsy divided into one of two types: idiopathic or primary epilepsy; and symptomatic or secondary epilepsy. Idiopathic is used for seizures that seem to have no other cause. Symptomatic refers to seizures caused by an underlying condition.

Seizures should not go untreated. There are risks of choking during the seizure and the seizures may be caused by an underlying condition that could be life threatening if left untreated. Anti-convulsant medications such as Phenobarbital  may be able to control the seizures, depending on the underlying cause and diagnosis. Long term use of the medications and the effects on your cat’s body, behavior and organs is the subject of another guide I plan to write when time permits.

What if my cat has a seizure?
If your cat having what you believe is a seizure, make sure you watch closely and observe every detail you can so you may describe in detail the event to your vet. As a rule, your vet will never be present during your cat’s seizure, so it is very important that you are able to describe exactly what happened prior to, during and after the seizure. Try to observe breathing patterns, paddling motion, rigidness of limbs, eye dilation and/or motion, salivation, body twisting, muscle twitching; and duration. There is nothing you can do to help your cat while the seizure is happening. Do not attempt to hold or control your cat. This is very dangerous for both your cat and you. Remember that your cat has NO control or ability to react while in the seizure and could scratch you and bite you as the muscles seizure. After the seizure is over your presence and attention will probably comfort your cat as it regains consciousness. At this point you should pet and speak to him. Our cat Leo has had epilepsy since he was a kitten and mistreated by his original owners. When his seizure ends I talk gently to him and brush him for a few minutes, then I get clean damp cloths and clean him up and put him in a bed where I will stay with him through the night (he has his seizures at night as a rule). I also make note of the duration and behavior during the seizure as well as his behavior following for up to 2 hours (he tends to suffer many petite –mal seizures for several hours following the grand-mal(s)). If his episode was strange (abnormal) enough or especially violent, prolonged or in groups, I will call the vet emergency number and take him in right away (for me this always seems to happen at 2-4am). If his episode was not abnormal for him I will call his vet in the morning with a full report and the vet decides if Leo should be seen.

If your cat is having a single prolonged seizure, continuous seizures without recovery between them, or two or more isolated seizures within 24 hours, contact your vet IMMEDIATELY. If it is after hours contact the vet emergency number or a local emergency vet hospital. Aggressive treatment is recommended in these cases and usually intravenous medication is called for. I cannot stress the importance of contacting your vet in this situation as your cat can actually “fry” his brain and die.

The main points
  • Take your cat to a veterinarian: The most important step is to find a good veterinarian to take care of your cat. If your cat has had one seizure, you should call and make an appointment. If your cat has had more than one seizure in 24 hours, find a vet IMMEDIATELY.
  • Learn about seizures and epilepsy: Ask your vet for information that he may be able to copy for you, or where to locate good and proper information. The internet is chalk full of false or inaccurate information, please do not take any medical advice to heart that you find with a search, this includes MINE.
  • Make sure your cat gets quality care: Ask your vet questions to see what tests are being done, what problem they suspect and what future course of action they recommend. Feline epilepsy is rare, so many vets are unfamiliar with it. Blood work should always be done, and Phenobarbital is generally prescribed. If you believe your vet is unaware of how to diagnose or treat the seizures then find another vet who can. Seizures or the cause can be fatal if not treated properly.
  • Follow up on the care: Your cat may be put on permanent medications. Our cat Leo has been on Phenobarbital one a day for 7 years and his seizures were kept to a minimum. Our goal was 1 or less seizures every 6 months. But in the couple of years his seizures have become more frequent and violent. Follow up visits with our vet has started him the regular dose he always had plus a half dose every other evening. We also take Leo with us on every trip we go on. If you need to give your cat regular medications, work it into your schedule and consider how to handle extended absences. If you decide to take your cat on your trips, make sure to locate pet friendly hotels and airlines (a subject for another guide I guess).

Final Words
Please remember that I am NOT a veterinarian or trained cat specialist. My advice and guidance is from person experience, self learning and talks with several vets. Before you take my advice (or anyones) to heart make sure you consult with your cat's vet and make sure that they agree with the advice. After all, you and your vet know your cat far better than I or anyone else does.
---end of guide---

Now on to your questions:
What are the effects of a grande mal seizure while it is happening, as opposed to any other seizure?
Leo has Grand-Mal seizures and Petite-Mal seizures. Lucky for me he always has had them at night (except 2 so far). Since he sleeps on the bed in a heated cup next to my head the shaking always wakes me. He thrashes and jerks violently. His muscles contract while he thrashes and his eyes roll up into his head. It is very painful to watch and there is little you can do, which I’ll address on your 3rd question. He will also urinate while thrashing like this. Sometimes, depending on how he is facing it will spray up and wet the bed and me. :( This will go on for 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending on the severity of the seizure. The violence of it can also range from moderate to horrible. After he lets out a gurgle mixed with a yowl and then slump over to one side totally wasted.

After anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes after the initial grand-mal he will be laying and his head will sway to one side and his ears go down while his head does this motion. He will do this one time every few minutes. This is his petite-mal seizures. They can also rear in some animals by staring in a trance. For Leo, they always lead into more grand-mals. The petite-mals happen more frequently and then he will sputter with them. The best way I can describe the “sputter” is imagine pulling out a gas (petrel there) lawn mower and pulling the rope and the motor starts to catch, sputter, pop then stop. It is like his “grand-mal motor rope” was pulled and the engine sputtered out. Once this happens it is a guarantee that within 1 to 3 more “sputter” petite-mals he will roar into a full blown grand-mal again. He can have 2 to 4 grand-mals in a night and as a rule I call the vet on the 3rd, get them out of bed and pay top have them meet me at the clinic (35 minutes drive for us). I also have learned to dilute some diazepam (valium) into a small amount of water and squirt it into his mouth with a syringe right after the initial grand-mal is over. This greatly slows the oncoming seizures and can reduce the number of them.

10 to 20 minutes after his last grand-mal he begins to drool for a few hours.

Do you know when they are going to happen, any warning signs?
Strangely I get a feeling within a few days of his seizures. I am right about 85 to 90 percent of the time. I cannot place a thumb on what exactly tells me, but some things I have noted include:
1.   Leo gets a bit more active the night or a seizure.
2.   Leo will ALWAYS have a seizure if I leave for more than a night. ALWAYS. So if Donna and I are going anywhere over night, Leo comes. Thus he has become a well traveled cat. He goes with us 1 to 2 times a year to the east coast when we visit my family. And it is no quick hop. This is a regional airport so we have to hop flights to get out. 3 weeks ago our flight out went: 6:15am left for airport. 8:15am flight takes off. 12pm we land in Mn/Sp airport and switch flights. We leave there at 1:15pm and arrive in NJ at 5pm. We arrive at my mothers home by 7pm. (keep in mind NJ is +2 hours to my timezone and the times I mentioned are local time). Leo will travel in the planes with us and we have a carrier that connects to a baby stroller like thing so we push him in the airports.

What do you do while he is having a seizure and what are its after effects on Leo?
There is nothing you can do. It is dangerous not only to him but you to try and handle him while in a full blown seizure. He can bite down on you and do serious damage to you or you can cause him to bite down on his tongue or lip by moving him. No, you have to sit there and watch, though it is very painful. I do place my hand on top of him, hardly touching him, in hopes he feels me there, and I tell him how much I love him and will watch over him. (hmm, tearing up a  bit now).

Once he has one, I stay up the rest of the night with him, brushing him, petting him, wiping drool off him and talking to him. He is pretty spent though and will often just lay there 10 hours and not get up he is so tired.

From what I know of grand-mal’s in humans and what the vet’s tell me, he does not remember them. He just feels funny and very very tired and aches like he has the words hardest work out. In fact one reason I rush him in on 3+ seizures (used to be 2+ till 2 became common place, not 3 is) is that the body is exerting the muscles so much that it can raise the body core temperature. If the seizures are long enough or continuous the fever can kill.

Leo has to take phenobarbotal every day to help not have them. When I got him my vet in Chicago wanted to see how low we could take him and when we lowered it a lot he began to have them daily, so we raised the dose again. It is a hard game of quality of life vs seizures. The meds make him loopy and forever tired. So I have to always debate one vs the other, and I hate that.


There is a lot more medically than I described, but I hope you get the idea from this.

Sincereley,

David

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Offline Gill (sneakiefeline)

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Re: epileptic cat
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2009, 21:35:12 PM »
What are the effects of a grande mal siezure while it is happening, as opposed to any other seisure?

Do you know when they are going to happen, any warning signs?

What do you do while he is having a seizure and what are its after effects on Leo?

He is gorgeous by the way  ;D

Offline CoolCyberCats

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epileptic cat
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2009, 22:10:50 PM »
Our cat Leo is an epileptic. I adopted him know he was a special needs cat so I could help him have a good life. At the time we adopted Leo he suffered from epilepsy, poor eyesight, atrophied rear legs, constant jumping when he heard a noise or something moved, brittle coat, an abusive past and more. When we first saw him in the Save-A-Pet newsletter we knew we had to help him. We managed to locate his original owner's vet records which really upset us once we read the details of his past. He suffered from many things including removal of all four sets of claws (even though Save-A-Pet makes you sign a contract when adopting stating that you will NEVER declaw the cat) and electrocution! We helped him a lot and he became a happier and healthier cat over time. He is now almost 12 and we have had him close to 10 years. He still has to take meds for his epilepsy and he suffers multiple grand-mal seizures every 2 to 4 months, and they are really horrible to see. His worst was 4 in a row, each lasting about 1 minute.

As he grew older one of his kidneys has shrunk and is likely nonfunctional now. He has also developed other issues over the years, including something LIKE mega-colon. His large intestine has lost most if not all motility and Leo has been on several drugs to help him with this, though the last 2 years they have not worked well andhe has had to go to the vet for an enema at least once a week. TO help with the stool softening I have also been giving him SubQ fluids every night (it started as once a week, then 2 times a week and for a year it has been nightly now).

Here are some images of Leo taken over the years:



In the last he is sleeping with Orion and Nova.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2009, 23:01:40 PM by CoolCyberCats »

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