How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Brian Your Own Question

Dr. Brian
Dr. Brian, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 1231
Experience:  34 years in private practice, 2008 WA State Vet of the Year
13977145
Type Your Cat Question Here...
Dr. Brian is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My 16 year old cat just had a seizure, his first major one

Resolved Question:

My 16 year old cat just had a seizure, his first major one as far as we know. Over the past few days, he's had 3-4 episodes of growling and drooling that we feared were mild seizures, but they only lasted 30 seconds and he recovered quickly from them, so we called the vet and were waiting for her to get back to us. He had no history of this in the past, but he's always had a noisy breathing problem that we feared was a tumor.

About an hour ago, we heard him start to trash upstairs. We ran up and wrapped him in a towel immediately. He seized for about 1 minute, then relaxed, and came back to us. After about 3-5 minutes, he seemed normal, hungry, and very affectionate, albeit with eyes dilated.

We cannot bring him into the ER vet now. He's calm now, so we plan to watch him all tonight and bring him in to our regular vet (who has been following him) first thing in the morning.

Can you please advise if you think this might be consistent with our theory about a progressive tumor? What kind of prognosis can we hope for if it is a tumor that is impacting his brain? Is phenobarbital be a common option or is this primarily for cats with epilepsy (unlikely, I would imagine, since he is 16 and this has come on suddenly). What tests might be offered tomorrow? Basically, I am asking you to share your expertise on what generally happens to a geriatric cat in this situation.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Brian replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Brian :

Hi and welcome the Just Answer.

Dr. Brian :

Has she shown any other problems recently- circling, confusion, changes in vocalization, changes in appetite, weight loss?

Dr. Brian, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 1231
Experience: 34 years in private practice, 2008 WA State Vet of the Year
Dr. Brian and 3 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hello. I would appreciate your advice on this matter.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
A few days ago, he started having episodes of growling and hissing at nothing. One time, his eye was twitching quite a bit. This is very odd behavior for him, which is why we contacted our vet this AM. Today is her day off, so we expected a call back tomorrow. Our fear that these were seizures were confirmed tonight.
Expert:  Dr. Brian replied 3 years ago.

While there may be a tumor, I doubt it has been there as long as the breathing problem- they most likely are unrelated. Diagnosing a brain tumor is difficult in that it takes specialized imaging tools to see it, usually a CT scan or MRI. From a practical basis it probably doesn't matter since brain surgery or gamma knife surgery, as done in people, isn't available. Brain will cause progressive disease with more frequent seizures and, in time other neurological signs that will be constantly present. Examples would include circling, blindness, head pressing against walls and general confusion. There are many other things that can result in seizures, so I expect your vet may do some bloodwork tomorrow to check. If it is indeed a tumor the prognosis is very poor.

Treatment of seizures in cats is usually phenobarb first, unless there is liver disease. A second choice, though more expensive is Keppra. These products are usually not started unless your cat is having an average of one or more seizures per month, clusters of several in a few days, or seizures that last for 15 minutes or more. In general it is better not to intervene during a seizure since you put yourself at risk of injury for no benefit to the cat.

Here is more reading for you: http://www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/seizures.html



Edited by Dr. Brian on 12/21/2010 at 5:42 AM EST
Expert:  Dr. Brian replied 3 years ago.
The eye twitching may be related if it persists.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
He does have mild to moderate CRF, but we've been having his blood tested every 3 months and his numbers were stable. Since he's had a few smaller episodes since Saturday night (these almost seemed like he was in pre-ictal phase without actually having the seizure), building up to this actual seizure tonight, we can assume that the situation is getting worse. We will watch him closely tonight and bring him in asap tomorrow AM. Thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Brian replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for using Just answer and Happy Holidays.

Dr. Brian

Dr. Brian, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 1231
Experience: 34 years in private practice, 2008 WA State Vet of the Year
Dr. Brian and 3 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • The response from the Expert literally saved my cat's life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart -- I will recommend all of my friends to you!!! Lucia Rincon, Georgia
< Last | Next >
  • The response from the Expert literally saved my cat's life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart -- I will recommend all of my friends to you!!! Lucia Rincon, Georgia
  • I will use your service again. I was very pleased with the response and the fact that you have a low cost option so that those of us on fixed income can have questions answered. I will also recommend you to others. Karen Jackson Heights, NY
  • You helped us to come to what we believe is a better next step in Jack's treatment, and hopefully have saved us $800!! Thanks again! Jack's Mom Tuscon, AZ
  • The vet said that the information and my following it will be what made the difference. Thanks again for being so very helpful. Tracy Grayson, LA
  • My oldest male cat had a seizure this evening. This site was the first place I could think of to go after the seizure had passed. Dr. Lucy was fantastic and she was spot on! Debbie USA
  • I must tell you I found this site by accident and was amazed when I asked a question of the Veteranians online. I wish I could have found it sooner it could have made such a difference in the outcome of my pet's surgery. However, I am passing along the information to my sister-in-law (a cat-rescue person who is also a nurse), and perhaps it will help someone else who may experience the same problem. The doctor who answered my question was amazing, and while it didn't come it time to change the outcome of my situation, it is reassuring to know the caliber of Vets/Doctors that you have at JustAnswer. Thank you for being there. Alice H. Jacksonville, Fl.
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Terri

    Feline Healthcare Expert

    Satisfied Customers:

    18938
    Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/purrfectkitty/2008-07-10_084515_2006-06-10_me2.jpg Terri's Avatar

    Terri

    Feline Healthcare Expert

    Satisfied Customers:

    18938
    Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    868
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CE/Cerecita/2011-3-16_2565_JAPIC500x500.64x64.jpg Cher's Avatar

    Cher

    Feline Specialist

    Satisfied Customers:

    9637
    Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/kydoll/2008-11-26_190500_me.jpg Lori's Avatar

    Lori

    Feline Healthcare

    Satisfied Customers:

    3325
    16 yrs health care mgmt & issues relating to cats, reproductive issues and multicat environments
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/mccprn/2009-11-20_185102_JA_profile.jpg Micki's Avatar

    Micki

    Expert in cat behavior and health

    Satisfied Customers:

    3153
    Expert in cat medical and behavior issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/ER/ERPetNurse/2011-11-7_1293_b.64x64.jpg Candy R.'s Avatar

    Candy R.

    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    2887
    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/babybloo/2011-3-10_62613_DavidandI.64x64.jpg Theresa's Avatar

    Theresa

    A Voice for your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    2124
    19+ years in animal medicine as a veterinary technician