Cats rely on their superior abilities to jump, stalk, run, and maneuver the world in their own special way. When these abilities are compromised, it can be disorienting or frustrating. This is a reality for cats with vestibular disease.
What is Vestibular Disease?
The vestibular system is located in the inner ear. It consists of a complex arrangement of nerves that govern balance as well as head and eye movements. When this system becomes damaged, it can throw off your cat’s equilibrium.
Thankfully, this syndrome is easy to spot. Often, a cat with vestibular disease will experience a head tilt to either side. As a result, the cat’s mobility will be visibly thrown off. They may walk in circles or fall over. Often, these cats will have eye problems. Cats with vestibular disease may move their eyes in back and forth, left to right, or rotary motion. They may also experience nausea.
There are a few causes of vestibular disease. Infections of the middle and inner ear can affect the vestibular system. Exposure to toxins (even antibiotics) can also affect this system. In more extreme cases, a brain tumor can cause vestibular damage. This is more common in elderly cats. However, many cases of vestibular disease are described as idiopathic. These cases are not traceable to any specific cause.
What Should I Do If I Suspect My Cat Has Vestibular Disease?
You will want to schedule a visit to the veterinarian immediately. There is no specific test for vestibular disease, but your vet can help you determine its cause. Tests may include MRIs, skull X-rays, blood and urine tests, or ear cultures. Your vet will pick from these tests based on clinical symptoms and your cat’s medical history.
Depending on its cause, treatment for vestibular disease varies. Symptoms typically subside after 24-48 hours with supportive care. This may include hand feeding or fluid administration. If your cat is nauseous or vomiting, your vet may prescribe anti-nausea medication. If they detect an ear infection, they will prescribe antibiotics.
Claws N Paws Day Spa provides professional grooming services to your cat or dog. We also provide cats-only boarding services in our adjacent facility. For more information or to make an appointment, contact us at 714-962-1005 or stop by today!