Three weeks ago, our cat suddenly went sideways.
Our 11-year-old American Shorthair, Max (I swear I'm usually more creative than that), has never been sick a day in his life. He's been annoying at times, underweight -- seven pounds soaking wet -- and a very picky eater, but never actually sick.
So we were shocked when he suddenly appeared disoriented and dizzy, as if he had vertigo. Normally an especially agile jumper, suddenly Max was jumping head-first into things, instead of onto them. He could barely make it up onto the sofa without our help. And this was a cat who normally lived on top of the kitchen cabinets. Most alarmingly, we noticed his eyes were rapidly moving from side-to-side, uncontrollably.
I immediately assumed he'd had either a stroke or a brain tumor. Without hesitation, Max was rushed to the emergency veterinary clinic.
$800, several blood tests and x-rays later, we learned that he had Feline Vestibular Syndrome. (If I'd only thought to Google his symptoms before taking him to the clinic!)
What, you may ask, is FVS? It's essentially kitty vertigo. This blog post explains it better than anything else I've found:
"She presented, he said, with virtually a textbook case of feline vestibular syndrome, which is a neurological disorder of unknown origin that is something like Meniere's disease in humans. For some reason (also unknown), it strikes most frequently during the summer. Generally, a cat will improve after 72 hours and be completrely back to normal in 7 to 14 days, and that of course is what we are hoping for Pearl."
In a later post...
"This is a disorder of unknown origin (it can strike dogs, too) that affects the nerves of the inner ear. Thus, it's classified as a neurological disease--a scary thought. Inner ear means balance, and Pearl's main symptom, now that the weird back-and-forth flicking of the eyes has (mercifully) passed, is balance problems. Her tilted head means she's still seeing the world at an angle. She can stand and walk without falling over, thank God, and can even jump on and off the bed and land on her feet. But she veers off-course when walking, flops onto her side if she has to, for example, scratch herself, and lists to the side when she tries to walk up the stairs."
Our Max has been "sideways" for three weeks now, and he still falls over unexpectedly. It's a little sad, and I'm still concerned that he'll never fully recover. While we try our best to keep him safe - he will NOT stand for confinement - we do hear him falling down the stairs occasionally. (Good thing he doesn't weigh much!) His head still kinda tilts to one side, too. Poor guy.
We're still concerned that the underlying cause of this may be a stroke or tumor (for all the tests, results were pretty inconclusive), but he seems comfortable and happy to be home. He's adjusting well to his newly limited capabilities, at least. And he's still as demanding and difficult as ever at mealtimes, still tries to steal food from the dog, and still sleeps right between us every night...so although he may never be the jumper he was, he's definitely still our Max.
I'm wondering if anyone else has had experience with this, how their cats recovered, if there was an underlying cause, etc....
from Aimee, http://angryasthmamama.blogspot.com