Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes the affected cat to have sudden, uncontrolled, recurring physical attacks, with or without loss of consciousness. When this occurs for unknown reasons, it is referred to as idiopathic epilepsy. Epilepsy is more common in dogs than in cats.
Symptoms and Types
Seizures in cats are usually preceded by a short aura (or focal onset). When this occurs the cat may appear frightened and dazed, or it may hide or seek attention. Once the seizure begins, the cat will fall on its side. It may become stiff, chomp its jaw, salivate profusely, urinate, defecate, vocalize, and/or paddle with all four limbs. These seizure activities generally last between 30 and 90 seconds.
Seizures most often occur while the patient is resting or asleep, often at night or in early morning. In addition, most cats recover from the after effects of the seizure by the time you take the cat to the veterinarian for examination.
Generally, epileptic seizures are first seen in cats between one to four years of age. Behavior following the seizure, known as postictal (after seizure) behavior, includes confusion and disorientation, aimless wandering, compulsive behavior, blindness, pacing, increased thirst (polydipsia), and increased appetite (polyphagia). Recovery following the seizure may be immediate, or it may take up to 24 hours.
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