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petdrz, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7373
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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I have a 10 year old black shorthair cat named BooBoo. He is

Customer Question

I have a 10 year old black shorthair cat named BooBoo. He is has always been an indoor outdoor cat. Over the last 10 years he has come home with his share of battle scars. Only one injury that ever resulted in a trip to the vet, it was an infection.
Well, since this afternoon (since probably 4pm PST) my cat has been behaving extremely odd. He is favoring his rear right leg. the two middle toes on that foot look uneven, but he doesn't complain at all when I fondle his feet. He has a lack of coordination, resulting in his usual saunter to look like a drunken stroll. He forgot where his food was and cant jump up as he usually does. He is extremely needy for affection and gets a strange eyes rolled back in his head look when we hold him and pet him right now. On his rear left foot one of the middle nails is split. only a third down, not to the quick.
He behaves almost as if he has had a concussion or something. but I am unsure what to do.
Yesterday I gave him some de-wormer because I saw signs of tapeworm. But this has never caused this kind of reaction before.
Should I wait until tomorrow and see if his symptoms persist? Or should I take him to urgent care tonight?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  petdrz replied 2 years ago.

I am sorry that you have been waiting for a response. I recently just logged onto the site and noted that your question hasn't yet been answered. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 25 years’ experience and would be happy work with you if you are still needing assistance.

Hopefully by now Boo Boo kitty is better or you have had him evaluated. If you give me a progress report on what has happened since your initial post, I can comment further.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Since my initial post I have watched him closely and have had him looked at by my parents who have owned several cats over the last 40 years. I also called a veterinary help line last night. We think he may have had a minor stroke. His personality is essentially unchanged. But it is like he doesn't understand why he can't walk straight.
Expert:  petdrz replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for the followup.

Strokes are not very common in cats, but there is a condition known as vestibular disease which can come on very suddenly and can present with symptoms very similar to a stroke. In some cases, this condition can be caused by a middle ear infection. For that reason, I would recommend that you have BooBoo examined by your veterinarian. If that is what is occurring, getting his ear treated will help with his loss of balance.

Here is a link with more information about vestibular disease in pets. The webpage refers to dogs, but it is virtually the same disease in cats. LINK HERE

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. My goal is to give you 100%satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please reply so I can clarify for you.

Dr Z

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
When he walks he definitely does not have as much strength or power in his rear left leg. He tries to jump up on things he normally would and he has to wind up for like 4 or 5 prejumps and then he jumps for real but he doesn't get any push off the rear left leg. His eyes were Cockeyed for a few hours initially rotating up and outward, unevenly. But now they have straightened out.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I read the article you sent me. And it sounds like the same symptoms. It is just I don't think it is the ear infection because he still loves having his head and ears rubbed. Usually if he is hurting somewhere he doesn't want to be pet or held. He just want to sit near someone. But right now all he wants is affection.
Expert:  petdrz replied 2 years ago.

Not all cats with ear infections act painful, especially if in the middle ear. You'll not also in article that it states in some cases, vestibular disease will occur spontaneously with no underlying cause. This form is referred to as idiopathic. The good news is the in these cases, the symptoms will resolve on their own in about a week or so.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Okay. This is all very good to know. I am going to watch him. He appears to be feeling just fine besides the lack of balance. He has been getting gradually better since last night. Should I take him in right away? Should I wait until the evening and see how he does throughout the day? Are there signs I should watch for to take him in immediately?
Expert:  petdrz replied 2 years ago.

I think if he seems to be improving since last night, it would be OK to monitor, but you need to make sure he can maneuver around to get to food, water and litter. Signs to have him evaluated would be if he starts to get worse or stops eating.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He has been eating and drinking water. I took away his food last night. I was worried if he had some sort of stroke that there might be paralysis somewhere along his esophagus and I didn't want him to choke. But I put some food in my Food processor and gave him chopped up chunks of his cat food. He is eating small amounts at a time, but frequently. He is not vomiting. He is drinking plenty of water. I will monitor him closely. If I see any signs of worsening, like vomiting or going back to crazy eyes or something then I will take him in right away.
Expert:  petdrz replied 2 years ago.

Sounds good. Keep me posted.