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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28486
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Trying to discover what my cat ingested to cause her to have

Customer Question

trying to discover what my cat ingested to cause her to have stroke like symptoms think sh ingested young oak leaves my email is


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Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. Oak leaves are toxic to horses but oak poisoning isn't recognized in cats. Abdominal pain and diarrhea would be the expected initial symptoms of oak poisoning. Idiopathic (unknown cause) vestibular disease is the most common cause of peripheral signs - ataxia ("drunken sailor"), head tilt, nystagmus (eyes flicking back and forth) - accounting for over 40% of cases such as Bella. Clinical signs are often severe, with rolling and rapid nystagmus quite evident. The average age of cats is 4 years although it may be seen in any age. There's a higher incidence of this disorder in summer and fall, suggesting an environmental or infectious cause. Prevalence is higher in certain regions of the USA, 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 usually resolve rapidly without definitive treatment, usually in the first week, although some patients may have a persistent head tilt. Diagnosis is through excluding other known causes of vestibular disease; there is no definitive testing. Some cats may require fluids and antiemetic treatment if vomiting doesn't resolve the first day.
Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish. I regret that I can't correspond with you outside of this venue.