All about cats

What causes neurological problems in cats

Cats are incredibly healthy animals. The majority of the problems that occur in cats are caused by disease or injury.

The most common cause of neurological problems in cats is probably traumatic brain injury (TBI), also known as head injury. Cats are very tough and can survive very serious head injuries, so TBI is not as common in cats as in dogs. TBI is actually more common in dogs than cats.

To learn more about TBI, see the article TBI in Dogs.

Other common causes of neurological problems in cats include:

Degenerative diseases of the nervous system, such as feline cognitive dysfunction syndrome (FCD) and feline syringomyelia (SM)

Viral diseases of the nervous system, such as feline herpes virus (FHV-1) and rabies

Infectious diseases of the nervous system

Neoplasia (cancer) of the nervous system

Some neurological diseases are caused by toxins that affect the nervous system, such as the neurotoxins produced by certain plants.

Other diseases of the nervous system are not caused by the nervous system itself, but instead cause problems in the kidneys, liver or other organs.

Many of the other reasons for neurological problems in cats are not diseases and are not usually caused by toxins. Instead, they are much less common problems that are caused by things like:



Harmful behavior (such as fighting or being hit by a car)

Seizures and epilepsy

Diagnosis of neurological problems in cats

Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam, including neurological examination. Your vet will look for signs of disease, such as tumors or infection. Your veterinarian will also check the nervous system by performing neurological tests.

Treatment of neurological problems in cats

Treatment of neurological problems in cats depends on the cause of the condition and the severity of the problem. If a neurological condition is caused by a disease, your vet will treat the disease. For a disease that is not caused by the nervous system, your vet may recommend treating the condition as part of your cat’s overall health care.

Even if a neurological problem is caused by a toxin, your vet will probably recommend treatment of the toxin.

If a neurological problem is caused by trauma or injury, your vet may recommend therapy to treat the problem. Therapy may include:

Physical therapy


Behavior modification

Pain management

Medical treatments

If your cat has more than one neurological condition, your vet may recommend that your cat participate in a clinical trial. Clinical trials are studies that test new treatments to see if they will help cats that have a certain disease.

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