Need help please - Seizures

Hiddenorchestra

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My cat (2yo neutered DSH male) had been vomiting more than usual for a couple months. The vet suspected he might have developed an allergy/intolerance and suggested to change his food to a novel protein diet, which I didn't do at the time. Instead, I changed his dry food to a limited ingredient diet food and kept his regular wet food.

A month ago he woke me up as he was yowling in pain. He then vomited and started having a seizure (he was convulsing violently). I rushed him to the ER and they did a physical exam and found nothing. This happened three more times following the same sequence: yowling - vomiting - seizure. The seizures are 1-2 weeks apart. We've done blood work and ultrasounds and everything seems to be normal. I have a neurology referral for him that I'm waiting on, but it could be a month before we get an appointment.

His poop also smells and has a mixed consistency (firm and liquid at the same time), so he was put on a purely novel protein diet since we are not sure if the food/ vomiting has something to do with the seizures. He's not liking the new food so much or eating a lot of it and is sleeping more than usual now.

There was one time when I was away for a couple nights and he was grooming himself on top of the fridge and rolled over and fell. I couldn't see how he landed because of the camera angle but he seemed to be doing well after, and my neighbor who was looking after him didn't notice anything weird. He doesn't seem to exhibit any symptoms or lack of coordination.

I'm very distraught right now and feeling very helpless. I'm open to any thoughts or suggestions while I wait for his neurology consult. Thank you and sorry for the long post.
 

maggie101

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I am so sorry this is happening to you! Can you get on a waiting list to hopefully get an earlier appointment? Assuming he needs meds. I wish I could help more. Somehow make it so he cannot fall
 

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My boy, Jack(my icon) has a seizure disorder. He is on phenobarbital, keppra and gabapentin. Most likely the neurologist will suggest an MRI. With Jack, I elected not to have it done due to cost (We are on a limited income and earlier this year I had $6000 in vet bills for 2 cats) and the statement by 2 vets that all it would do is possibly tell us what caused the seizures, but the treatment would be the same as we are doing now. What I have done with Jack that seems to help is when he starts showing signs of an oncoming seizure, I grab a ziploc baggie with garlic or dill ( something that smells strong) and hold it where he can smell it. DO NOT allow him to ingest garlic, only smell it! There are studies that suggest the strong smell interrupts the seizure pattern. My vet had never heard of it, but I tried it with Jack and it works as long as you do it early enough. It is a good first line emergency treatment. Over the almost year since this started I have learned to read the signs of oncoming heightened seizure activity. That is when I have the baggie ready. This is only a stop gap until I can get hold of his vet, who then usually adjusts his medications. Good luck with your cat. I hope it is a problem easily solved.
 

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Elsie has had a seizure that I attribute from anxiety or fear. Once, I fell off the bed and hit my head. (My feet got tangled in the quilt as I tried to get up.) I knocked my head on the nightstand on the way down. After I landed, she kept nudging me hard to get up. I assured her I was okay, but when I stood up I felt sick. I decided to lie on the bed a few minutes until the nausea went away. She kept pacing around me, nudging me desperately, though I petted her and spoke in a soothing voice. The next thing I knew, she fell over and started seizing.

I am only telling this because I think there are so many things that can cause a cat to have seizures. Elsie is fine now, but she is a nervous cat.

Please keep us updated on what you find out. My hope is that is was the scare of the fall that caused your cat's seizure. After the situation with Elsie (I have never seen anything like it) my prayer is that being frightened was the cause. I realize it's a long shot with the other symptoms involved, such as some type of pain brings on seizure activity. If another seizure happens, please try to time it so you can let the vet know. One of the first things I do is try to establish a duration of a seizure.
 

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My cat (2yo neutered DSH male) had been vomiting more than usual for a couple months. The vet suspected he might have developed an allergy/intolerance and suggested to change his food to a novel protein diet, which I didn't do at the time. Instead, I changed his dry food to a limited ingredient diet food and kept his regular wet food.

A month ago he woke me up as he was yowling in pain. He then vomited and started having a seizure (he was convulsing violently). I rushed him to the ER and they did a physical exam and found nothing. This happened three more times following the same sequence: yowling - vomiting - seizure. The seizures are 1-2 weeks apart. We've done blood work and ultrasounds and everything seems to be normal. I have a neurology referral for him that I'm waiting on, but it could be a month before we get an appointment.

His poop also smells and has a mixed consistency (firm and liquid at the same time), so he was put on a purely novel protein diet since we are not sure if the food/ vomiting has something to do with the seizures. He's not liking the new food so much or eating a lot of it and is sleeping more than usual now.

There was one time when I was away for a couple nights and he was grooming himself on top of the fridge and rolled over and fell. I couldn't see how he landed because of the camera angle but he seemed to be doing well after, and my neighbor who was looking after him didn't notice anything weird. He doesn't seem to exhibit any symptoms or lack of coordination.

I'm very distraught right now and feeling very helpless. I'm open to any thoughts or suggestions while I wait for his neurology consult. Thank you and sorry for the long post.
I'm so sorry you and your boy are going through this- I can just imagine how helpless you feel-my heart goes out to you and my prayers go up that tye Healing & Blessings come down

It seems neurology is the step required here to address and treat kitty to prevent these seizures- poor kitty probably gets a nauseating headache before the onset of the seizure,I'm sure your description of the order of events will be extremely helpful to the neurologist ....I would certainly give a call to see if they would call you in the event there's a cancelation to come in asap..... I know how its like being on pins & needles waiting so give it a try

What's your kitties name? And don't apologize for a long post( btw,it's not long ) we are here for you and care very much for your cats health and we'll being- so keep us updated please and say as much as you want to say❤
 

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I am so so sorry. My older kitty started having very violent seizures when he was around 14. They were infrequent but his body would bounce from one side of room to another after literally flying in the air out of a sound sleep. It was nothing my vet had even heard of but he would fall and bounce and fully recover.

He was too old for an MRI since requires anesthesia so we put him on prednisone and CBD which did seem to spread them out by a few months. He likely had a brain tumor but was not suffering and happy less the seizures which confused him but only for a few moments. Biggest fear was him getting hurt but fortunately I work at home. I am so sorry that is just awful to see but the folks here are so helpful i hope you find a solution. We did not put him on the medication for seizures because they were not often enough to warrant it.

One thing my vet found helpful was a video of it while happening. In my case I had no free hands due to how violent they were i would have to push him down to hold still so body stopped jumping across the room.

The poor guy and poor you. It's so much but we are thinking of you. Please report back.
 
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Hiddenorchestra

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I'm so sorry you and your boy are going through this- I can just imagine how helpless you feel-my heart goes out to you and my prayers go up that tye Healing & Blessings come down

It seems neurology is the step required here to address and treat kitty to prevent these seizures- poor kitty probably gets a nauseating headache before the onset of the seizure,I'm sure your description of the order of events will be extremely helpful to the neurologist ....I would certainly give a call to see if they would call you in the event there's a cancelation to come in asap..... I know how its like being on pins & needles waiting so give it a try

What's your kitties name? And don't apologize for a long post( btw,it's not long ) we are here for you and care very much for your cats health and we'll being- so keep us updated please and say as much as you want to say❤
Thank you so much for your reply ❤ My mental health has been at its worst, so I appreciate the kind words. His name is Taco :)

I managed to get a neurology consult that was disappointing to be honest. They put him on anti-seizure meds (Zonisamide) on Friday and he completely lost his appetite and is sleeping all the time. They also recommended an MRI scan which we did yesterday, and the results were all normal. They don't know what's wrong with him and I'm very very lost right now. I'll probably get a second opinion to rule out other non-brain related issues.
 
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Hiddenorchestra

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One question- did your vet test for toxoplasmosis? Loose stools and seizing are both symptoms.
They did but only in the stool analysis. I did a quick search and looks like the blood antibody test is the gold standard. I'll mention it to his vet and see if we can get it done. Thank you!
 
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Hiddenorchestra

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I am so so sorry. My older kitty started having very violent seizures when he was around 14. They were infrequent but his body would bounce from one side of room to another after literally flying in the air out of a sound sleep. It was nothing my vet had even heard of but he would fall and bounce and fully recover.

He was too old for an MRI since requires anesthesia so we put him on prednisone and CBD which did seem to spread them out by a few months. He likely had a brain tumor but was not suffering and happy less the seizures which confused him but only for a few moments. Biggest fear was him getting hurt but fortunately I work at home. I am so sorry that is just awful to see but the folks here are so helpful i hope you find a solution. We did not put him on the medication for seizures because they were not often enough to warrant it.

One thing my vet found helpful was a video of it while happening. In my case I had no free hands due to how violent they were i would have to push him down to hold still so body stopped jumping across the room.

The poor guy and poor you. It's so much but we are thinking of you. Please report back.
I'm so sorry to hear about your kitty. That sounds terrifying 😔 poor baby!

I'll try to get a video if he has another seizure, but I totally get what you mean it's so so hard to do when you're panicking and trying to stabilize him. He's on anti-seizure meds now so fingers crossed he doesn't have another one.
 
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Hiddenorchestra

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Thanks everyone for the kind words and responses.
Just wanted to post an update of everything we've tried so far:

• Blood tests - normal, Potassium was a little low in two different instances
• Stool analysis - normal for the most part. He tested +ve for low levels of clostridium perfringens enterotoxin and +ve for feline coronavirus (but doesn't have FIP)
• Liver, stomach (which had some food still), gall bladder and pancreas ultrasound - normal
• MRI - normal
• Switched his food to a novel protein diet (but he was put on anti-seizure meds, so I didn't have enough time to test if that helps)

He's now on an anti-seizure drug + omeprazole. He's sleeping most of the time and doesn't want to eat. I'm suspecting side effects from the drugs.

One thing I have noticed is when the seizures started his poop was very dark (but not tarry) and sometimes has runny segments. When he was put on the drugs (i'm thinking esp Omeprazole), his poop started having a normal colour. I can't help but feel this could be GI related esp after his brain MRI turned out to be normal.

Seeing him become a shell of himself right now is breaking my heart. I don't know what else to do, and his neuro specialist just wants to put him on meds and that's it even when he's not eating or behaving like himself. He's just too young for all of this :(
 

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Thanks everyone for the kind words and responses.
Just wanted to post an update of everything we've tried so far:

• Blood tests - normal, Potassium was a little low in two different instances
• Stool analysis - normal for the most part. He tested +ve for low levels of clostridium perfringens enterotoxin and +ve for feline coronavirus (but doesn't have FIP)
• Liver, stomach (which had some food still), gall bladder and pancreas ultrasound - normal
• MRI - normal
• Switched his food to a novel protein diet (but he was put on anti-seizure meds, so I didn't have enough time to test if that helps)

He's now on an anti-seizure drug + omeprazole. He's sleeping most of the time and doesn't want to eat. I'm suspecting side effects from the drugs.

One thing I have noticed is when the seizures started his poop was very dark (but not tarry) and sometimes has runny segments. When he was put on the drugs (i'm thinking esp Omeprazole), his poop started having a normal colour. I can't help but feel this could be GI related esp after his brain MRI turned out to be normal.

Seeing him become a shell of himself right now is breaking my heart. I don't know what else to do, and his neuro specialist just wants to put him on meds and that's it even when he's not eating or behaving like himself. He's just too young for all of this :(
I'm so sorry you're going through this,hardest thing in the world is feeling the helplessness when there's not a " sure" diagnosis because at that point your just treating symptoms and it's just heartbreaking

I completely understand as I'm going through a similar thing with my Graycie and a persistent cough- long story but all we are doing is not addressing the cause and now it's time to move on to specialists.... the costs are phenomenal and I'm not sure how far I am able to go but I'm doing all I can - I've been supecting cancer,scans are inconclusive so now their being sent out ...... I sympathize,more thsn you know.....

I think you are right to get second opinions-treating symptoms is just a bandaid and hardly getting anywhere to address the actual cause,I understand your frustration....

I'm praying someone will be able to get to the root of this for your sweet baby
 
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Hiddenorchestra

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I'm so sorry you're going through this,hardest thing in the world is feeling the helplessness when there's not a " sure" diagnosis because at that point your just treating symptoms and it's just heartbreaking

I completely understand as I'm going through a similar thing with my Graycie and a persistent cough- long story but all we are doing is not addressing the cause and now it's time to move on to specialists.... the costs are phenomenal and I'm not sure how far I am able to go but I'm doing all I can - I've been supecting cancer,scans are inconclusive so now their being sent out ...... I sympathize,more thsn you know.....

I think you are right to get second opinions-treating symptoms is just a bandaid and hardly getting anywhere to address the actual cause,I understand your frustration....

I'm praying someone will be able to get to the root of this for your sweet baby
Thank you so much :) I'm so sorry to hear about Graycie. I hope you will get to the bottom of it and she will feel better soon.

I had a very similar story with him as well. He's got lung issues that are very clearly there but unexplained after all the tests and labs. He ended up being on a puffer and now this.

He's not doing very well now after the MRI scan :( he was lethargic for 48 hours and couldn't jump like normal. I brought him in this morning for a recheck appointment and they told me he was absolutely fine and put him on IV.

I took him home and he's still lethargic and now has a lame leg - he can't jump. All vets are closed because of the holidays and I feel like nobody is taking me seriously. I can clearly see he's not okay but they're telling me he is. I'm trying to prepare myself for the worst but I can't bring myself to think about it. He's my first pet and soul cat. I feel so guilty that I put him through all this for a diagnosis that I never got. I feel very lost right now and don't know how to help him anymore.
 

Kwik

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You mentioned the anti- seizure meds made him sleep all the time and loss of appetite which are common side effects of Zonisamide ....but also loss of coordination and trouble walking are also common side effects of this particular drug, has the Vet not gone over this with you?

I don't know why this little one has had the seizures and I know you are doing all you possibly can to find out why but these current issues I believe are side effects of the medication- they can appear to be lame due to lack of coordination- there's other side effects that might be included as well- due to the many adverse reactions Zonisamide has been discontinued for human use- its highly effective as an anti convulsant and is still used for dogs & cats but many adverse reactions can occur-the Vet thst prescribed this medication should immediately be informed of such dramatic lethargy- also you must look for any yellowing of the gums,skin or whites of the eyes and notify Vet immediately

It might be time to consult with another Vet if you feel you are not being taken seriously-might be a good idea to look for a Vet that specializes in cats only? But do contact the prescribing Vet and report what you've described here,you wouldn't want to stop the medication abruptly but you certainly need to have a discussion about continuing its use

Also this medication should be taken with food- which is another difficulty with loss of appetite .... perhaps phenobarbital might be a better alternative,it's generally considered first line of meds prescribed but all Vets are different in what they choose- if it were me I'd be looking for other options

It's very frightening to watch our beloved pets react in this way,I know you must feel heartbroken,confused and very very worried-Im so terribly sorry this is happening but you've got to stay strong and remain positive- have a conversation with your Vet about possibly changing medication and if you are not satisfied then find someone else who you will feel your getting the attention both you and your baby deserve-we are their voice and you certainly know your cat is not " fine" .... that would certainly not sit well with me
 

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Hi. If you haven’t tested for Cryptococcus yet, it would be a good idea to discuss this with your vet. Crtyptococcus is a fungal infection that can cause neurological problems in cats.
 

Kwik

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I would really love to give you a big hug right now- my Graycie woke me up coughing and it's like nails screeching across a chalk board to me,it just puts me over the edge becausd it's so frustrating that we are still unable to treat her appropriately,all I csn do is give her cough liquid ( basically echinacea) at this point to soothe her throught.... and as I was awoken I thought of Taco(& you)

Well,what I wanted to say is the most important thing right now is exactly what you are already doing - preventative. With all types of seizures the first priority is treatment,treatment to reduce ,limit or prevent further occurrences and thst is where you are at

I understand it's a trying time,frustrating and can be a bit challenging because medications like these have to be adjusted to work appropriately for each individual and it can take a little time. Very often the dosages need be increased or decreased until the right amount is found to be the most effective- these type of drugs typically take time for the body to get used to and intial side effects will subside ( or increase) so observations are important ,it's a good idea to wrote down what you see and note the time of day etc.....For example your cat might be off balance ,confused for 4 or 5 days,especially when first waking up and then as time goes on he gets more or less stable- these are the things you want to monitor- vomiting,diarrhea ,lethargic,loss of appetite,increases thirst and so on....so you can accurately give your Vet a description so he can adjust or change the medication to be better tolerated and effectively treat Taco

So please don't despair and with an issue like my Graycie is having its extremely important that we find out WHY she is coughing- with Taco,of course it would be great to find out WHY but seizures are very difficult because if it us not an obvious thing seem in an MRI then tye next step might be cranial fluid testing ,spinal fluid etc--, all thst would likely result is identifying infection- if there's no infection present then it could have been an infection no longer present but has already damaged the part of the brain that is triggered( is that an easy explanation?)
Seizures can be triggered by many many things such as tumors,infections,head injury or trauma or even be congenital so you shouldn't be disappointed that the nuerology appt was inconclusive- you now have ruled out a brain tumor or that type of abnormality and it's no longer a concern thst would require treatment in itself

Taco has had issues from the start,as you mentioned-we can now eliminate allergies and a host of other things he's been tested for- for all we know he could have injured his little head- I think you might do well to work closely with your Vet( or a new one)to get his meds adjusted properly and decide for yourself how far you might want to go to identify a cause,which might result " unknown " at the end if an extremely expensive proposition.....I think after he adjusts to his preventative meds you can probably resume a normal diet and he can have a good quality of life.. you are doing a fantastic job of taking care of Taco,don't lose hope and do not be discouraged
 

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Seizures are very hard to pinpoint and treat in general, and certainly in cats. The medication that you have been given, Zonisamide, is only one of several that might be used. Phenobarbital, levetiracetam (Keppra), and gabapentin are others. While we can't tell which one might be best for Taco, it might be worth a discussion with your vet or another specialist. Potassium bromide and valium are not safe in cats, from what I understand, but are used in dogs.
I think you might do well to work closely with your Vet( or a new one)to get his meds adjusted properly and decide for yourself how far you might want to go to identify a cause,which might result " unknown " at the end if an extremely expensive proposition
Given that the MRI was normal, which is still good news even though things are not great right now, this may end up being called idiopathic. We don't know that there is not a cause, and there well may be a specific one, but it has not appeared yet.
 
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Hiddenorchestra

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I would really love to give you a big hug right now- my Graycie woke me up coughing and it's like nails screeching across a chalk board to me,it just puts me over the edge becausd it's so frustrating that we are still unable to treat her appropriately,all I csn do is give her cough liquid ( basically echinacea) at this point to soothe her throught.... and as I was awoken I thought of Taco(& you)

Well,what I wanted to say is the most important thing right now is exactly what you are already doing - preventative. With all types of seizures the first priority is treatment,treatment to reduce ,limit or prevent further occurrences and thst is where you are at

I understand it's a trying time,frustrating and can be a bit challenging because medications like these have to be adjusted to work appropriately for each individual and it can take a little time. Very often the dosages need be increased or decreased until the right amount is found to be the most effective- these type of drugs typically take time for the body to get used to and intial side effects will subside ( or increase) so observations are important ,it's a good idea to wrote down what you see and note the time of day etc.....For example your cat might be off balance ,confused for 4 or 5 days,especially when first waking up and then as time goes on he gets more or less stable- these are the things you want to monitor- vomiting,diarrhea ,lethargic,loss of appetite,increases thirst and so on....so you can accurately give your Vet a description so he can adjust or change the medication to be better tolerated and effectively treat Taco

So please don't despair and with an issue like my Graycie is having its extremely important that we find out WHY she is coughing- with Taco,of course it would be great to find out WHY but seizures are very difficult because if it us not an obvious thing seem in an MRI then tye next step might be cranial fluid testing ,spinal fluid etc--, all thst would likely result is identifying infection- if there's no infection present then it could have been an infection no longer present but has already damaged the part of the brain that is triggered( is that an easy explanation?)
Seizures can be triggered by many many things such as tumors,infections,head injury or trauma or even be congenital so you shouldn't be disappointed that the nuerology appt was inconclusive- you now have ruled out a brain tumor or that type of abnormality and it's no longer a concern thst would require treatment in itself

Taco has had issues from the start,as you mentioned-we can now eliminate allergies and a host of other things he's been tested for- for all we know he could have injured his little head- I think you might do well to work closely with your Vet( or a new one)to get his meds adjusted properly and decide for yourself how far you might want to go to identify a cause,which might result " unknown " at the end if an extremely expensive proposition.....I think after he adjusts to his preventative meds you can probably resume a normal diet and he can have a good quality of life.. you are doing a fantastic job of taking care of Taco,don't lose hope and do not be discouraged
Sending you and Graycie a lot of hugs! It's heartbreaking when you don't know how to help your baby. I really hope you can get to the bottom of it very soon.

I'm really pissed at his vet neurologist, to be honest. When they did the MRI they also tried to do a spinal tap, but couldn't find enough fluid for a sample. When I asked if that was normal, they told me it could be. Then I realized he's on Omeprazole which decreases production of CSF, so I don't understand how they didn't know that was the reason when they literally put him on it.
I wasn't sure if they messed up the procedure and that's why he's uncoordinated, but I'm starting to believe it's the meds. He's on a very high dose and he's just under 8 pounds. I strongly suspect it's related to his GI issues and maybe an intolerance to the food he was eating, but the neurologist is very dismissive. When I asked them to tell me how to wean him off of the meds, they told me it was against medical advice, and if I wanted to experiment, I could just stop them (which you should never do with epilepsy meds or steroids, etc.). I obviously don't want him to have another seizure, but he's not the same anymore and doesn't have the same quality of life. He is 2 years old. He was bright, naughty, and curious. Now he's sleeping all day, doesn't want to eat, and can't jump or falls when he does. I'm not against medication, but they're turning my boy into a vegetable. The neurologist offered to switch him to Keppra, but also a relatively high dose and I'm pretty sure it will affect him the same way. I'm not saying I know more than them (I don't) but I know my cat and he's not okay.
They will call me tomorrow to discuss next steps and I'm going to try and put my foot down. I'll post an update when I know more.

PS. Your kitties are gorgeous!!
 

Kwik

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Good,I think you are right to put your foot down and speak your mind..... I do hope you get a satisfactory response and some answers tomorrow,look forward to your reply

Seeing my Vet Friday, radiology specialist report said there is no cancer ,no tumors,heart is not enlarged & it's a congestion from either irritant,bronchitis or asthma....well discuss treatment options,not sure if I'm supposed to be happy about it because she's such a nightmare to medicate

Uhhh,it's always something- isn't it?I'll keeping praying for your little baby,it's just heartbreaking
 

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I don't blame you for being upset, especially with something that you noticed but they seemingly did not. While I don't know that this would work for you, I have known both cat and dog owners who were happy with Keppra.

Do you have the option of consulting another neurologist or even a highly proficient, experienced vet? All medical records are your property and have to be given to you if you ask for them, so tests would not have to be rerun.
 
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