What alternatives do we have in treating seizures in rescued cat?

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We found a beautiful abandoned young cat (about 1-2 yrs) who was desperate for a human family just a few weeks ago. Besides being thin we noticed he has a funny gait. We noticed the night that he would ‘startle’ awake while sleeping. We did not think much of this as he had been on his own for a while in a dangerous environment. We took him to the Vet to have him neutered and immunized. We found out that his kidney function was compromised and she put him on a k-d diet as his numbers were in the high-normal range. We also noticed that his sleeping ‘startles’ were really seizures. Sometimes they were scary where all his muscles go stiff, sometimes there is shaking or ‘running movements’ They usually wake him up but he goes right back to sleep and usually has a cluster of them over his nap time. This happens every day. Most of them are only a few seconds in length, even the longest and scariest was only about 20 seconds. The Vet says he needs to see a Vet Neurologist. The closest one is in another state. We love this kitty, but don’t have unlimited resources to treat him. Is there any other options we can try before we commit to an expensive diagnosis and treatment plan. I have heard anecdotal reports of either hemp oil and/or additional taurine may help. Our guess is that this cat probably experienced some kind of physical trauma-like being hit by a car.

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Asked on November 20, 2015 7:23 pm
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Though a consult with a Neurologist would be ideal I do believe a general practitioner can offer treatment for this case. A seizure disorder can vary greatly in severity, from very minor tremors to full blown seizures.

Typically a seizure disorder is diagnosed by exclusion. A thorough physical and blood work should eliminate any health problems that can cause seizures, such as infections and kidney failure. The degree of kidney problems you describe should not cause seizures. If all checks out well we are left with a rather large group of what are termed seizure disorders. Certainly a specialist could further define this problem. Possibilities include brain tumors, injury, and idiopathic seizures. In reality we will often treat such disorders without an exact diagnosis in veterinary medicine. I do not know of any homeopathic to offer for seizures.

The two most common treatments for seizures in animals are phenobarbital, potassium bromide, or a combination of the two. The decision to treat is determined by how the quality of life is affected with the animal. If the seizures are minor and infrequent the decision is sometimes made to not treat. I would discuss these treatment options with your regular veterinarian, letting her know you are unable to pursue a specialist’s diagnosis.

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Posted by Dr. Gaylord Brown
Answered on November 22, 2015 5:13 pm
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