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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24411
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
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My cat is stumbling around and falling a lot. It started a

Customer Question

Hi. My cat is stumbling around and falling a lot. It started a couple of days ago, but is getting worse. He's throwing up sometimes after eating but its inconsistent. He also seems to not have an appetite at all today which is new.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. This sounds like it might be serious. I'll let the Veterinarian know what's going on ASAP. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about your cat?
Customer: I had another cat who died a week ago, and these two were insperable. He didn't really start showing signs of being really sick until after the other one died.
Submitted: 15 days ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
He has also had a really loud noisy stomach. It makes these terrible loud grumbles all the time regardless of whether he's eating or not.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 15 days ago.

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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 15 days ago.

Alicia, how old is your cat, please? You appear to be describing an ataxic ("drunken sailor") cat which suggests idiopathic (unknown cause) vestibular disease - the most common cause of peripheral vestibular (balance) disease. Clinical signs can be severe with rolling and rapid nystagmus (eye twitching back and forth) quite evident. There's no sex or breed predilection, and the average age of affected cats is 4 years, although it may be seen in any age. Interestingly, there is a higher incidence of this disorder in summer and fall, suggesting an environmental or infectious cause. Prevalence is higher in certain regions of the United States, especially the Northeast.

Although usually acute and nonprogressive in nature, there have been some reports of clinical signs progressing for up to 3 weeks. Signs resolve rapidly without definitve treatment, usually in the first week, although some patients may have a persistent head tilt. Diagnosis is through excluding other known causes of peripheral vestibular disease such as nasopharyngeal polyps, otitis media/interna (middle/inner ear infection), and malignant tumors of the middle and inner ear (uncommon). There is no definitive diagnostic testing nor is there definitive treatment. Some cats may require fluid and antiemetic therapy if nausea and vomiting doesn't resolve the first day. Your cat appears to be one of the cats and so I encourage your having him attended to by his vet at your earliest convenience.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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