All about cats

What are the signs of a stroke in a cat

Symptoms of stroke in cats may include:

Unusual behavior or signs of depression or anxiety

Inability to walk or to come and go from the litter box

Loss of balance, stumbling or falling

Inability to open or close the eyes

Seizures

Weakness

Loss of coordination or paralysis

Unusual urination or defecation

In extreme cases, a stroke may cause death.

Can a cat have a stroke?

Yes. Cat strokes are very similar to human strokes.

What is the treatment for a cat stroke?

There's no cure for a cat stroke, but your veterinarian may recommend several treatments to help the cat recover. These are based on the severity of the stroke and the age of the cat. Your veterinarian may recommend:

Medications for pain

Pain medication can be given to reduce the amount of pain your cat is feeling.

Blood thinners (anticoagulants)

These medications help prevent blood clots from forming.

Treatments for inflammation and swelling

Inflammation is the body's response to a foreign substance, such as a foreign body, a tumor, or a stroke.

Surgery

Surgery will be necessary if the stroke has caused damage to the brain. Your veterinarian will remove the source of the stroke and the damaged tissue.

Prognosis

Prognosis depends on the severity of the stroke, the length of time between the stroke and treatment, and the age of your cat. The earlier you treat your cat's stroke, the greater the chance of recovery.

Prevention

Preventing strokes in cats may be as simple as maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding things that can lead to strokes.

What foods can you give your cat to help prevent stroke?

You can feed your cat a healthy diet, including:

Chicken

Pork

Beef

Fish

Lamb

Pasture-raised, antibiotic-free, and hormone-free meats

Eggs

Grass-fed dairy products

Whole fruits and vegetables

Dried cranberries

Cooked legumes and peas

To further prevent strokes, avoid:

High-fat foods

Alcohol

High-salt foods

Chocolate

Caffeine

Dried fruits and raisins

Sugar and sugar substitutes

Soda

High-carbohydrate foods

How can you prevent your cat from having a stroke?

You can reduce your cat's risk of a stroke by taking these steps:

Feed a high-quality, high-fiber diet.

Feed your cat wet food instead of dry food.

Feed your cat only the amount of food it needs.

Keep the litterbox clean.

Keep your cat indoors.

Keep your cat in good physical and mental health.

Avoid giving your cat medications, including aspirin, and corticosteroids.

Avoid feeding your cat chocolate, caffeine, and sugar.

Breed your cat.

Breed your cat to be long-lived and healthy.

References

Vet Med. 2008 Feb;93(2):204-11.

Cat stroke: diagnosis and treatment.

Schiavoni M, Scopigno P, Salinaro R, Morsani M, Morselli P.

Department of Clinical Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Naples, Italy, and Department of Clinical Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Naples, Italy.

The causes of cat stroke, which is a common veterinary emergency, remain elusive. The first studies to describe the clinical features of cat stroke were conducted in the 1970s. The biologic basis of this condition was appreciated in the 1980s. Cat stroke is a self-limiting disease, which may be treated with adequate supportive care.

The pathophysiology of cat stroke is highly similar to that of human stroke, which is the result of an ischemic episode (blockage of cerebral blood flow) caused by a thromboembolic process. The cat is more resistant to thromboembolic disease than humans, and the likelihood that a cat will develop stroke is minimal.

The diagnosis of cat stroke is based on a typical clinical presentation, which includes the acute onset of symptoms and signs of neurological dysfunction caused by cerebral hemorrhage. Clinical signs may be subtle or dramatic depending on the severity of the underlying disease.

The diagnosis can be made by image interpretation, which can be performed at the time of presentation, or by postmortem imaging.

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