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Feline Vertigo - not getting better

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Three weeks ago, I was at work when I got a call from my girlfriend saying that Blitz (our male cat), who is nearly 2 years old now, couldn't walk, and his eyes were shooting back and forth. I went home and brought him to the vet. They said that he had vestibular disease and that there was slight inflammation in his ear. They prescribed him antibiotics and ear drops.

For the first week, we couldn't get him to eat or drink. We force fed him water through a syringe, and did our best to get him to eat baby food. Since week two, he has eaten and drunk on his own, and acts normal, but is still 'tilted'. He keeps his head at a 30-40 degree angle, and has extreme trouble with balance. He used to jump everywhere, but now tries to climb (and poorly).

We brought him back to the vet, where they said he seems much healthier, and they called it Idiopathic Vestibular Syndrome (Idiopathic of course meaning "We don't know why").

He doesn't seem to be recovering from the balance issues, though. This is nearly the end of week 4 and he still has his head tilt and balance issues.

Does anyone have any suggestions? It breaks my heart to see him this way, and his sister-cat has been very depressed as she lacks someone to play with/chase.
post #2 of 15
Since this vet doesn't know why this happened. Could you bring Blitz to another vet, for a second opinion?
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
We've had trouble finding vets since we moved. Most vets are not accepting new patients.

His overall health has gotten better. He's acting like a cat, eating, running, playing, but his head is still tilted (roughly 35-40 degrees), and he has no balance. I can tell that it depresses him when he tries to jump on me or something, and instead has to climb. He also is still falling very easily (due to the balance issue).

What I've read about online is that cats are supposed to recover within 3-4 weeks, but may be left with permanent deafness and head tilt. It's been a month. He doesn't seem to be deaf, but his head hasn't been getting better, and it's very much limiting him. I feel awful for him. He isn't even 2 years old yet, and the Vet said that it is -very- uncommon for such young cats to be stricken, normally it's a geriatric condition.
post #4 of 15
How scary for you and for your darling Blitz. I don't have much to say as I have never dealt with this type of vertigo in a cat before. I think I would look into seeing a specialist for your boy. I know this will be an expense. A veterinary specialist will be able to give you a more detailed diagnosis and outcome in regards to this disorder. Not sure where you live... I am lucky in that I have a great veterinarian specialist about an hour away. Sorry you have not yet received more help on this matter, maybe someone will come along with a similar issue. For your dear Blitz and you too, as I can only imagine how difficult it is for you seeing your boy with these symptoms
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feralvr View Post
How scary for you and for your darling Blitz. I don't have much to say as I have never dealt with this type of vertigo in a cat before. I think I would look into seeing a specialist for your boy. I know this will be an expense. A veterinary specialist will be able to give you a more detailed diagnosis and outcome in regards to this disorder. Not sure where you live... I am lucky in that I have a great veterinarian specialist about an hour away. Sorry you have not yet received more help on this matter, maybe someone will come along with a similar issue. For your dear Blitz and you too, as I can only imagine how difficult it is for you seeing your boy with these symptoms
We're originally from Chicago, and we had a great vet there. Now we are on the East Coast, and it is much more difficult to find good and caring vets.

One thing I notice is that he always shakes his head and sometimes scratches at his ear, like he feels like something is in it.
post #6 of 15
I urge you to keep looking for another vet for a second opinion.

Are you near a vet school? (by near I mean within a 3 hour drive) A referral to a specialist is what I would be seeking at this point. Perhaps surgery is needed to see what's going on in there.

Keep us posted on your sweet boy Blitz. Is he trying to play more with is sister?
post #7 of 15
Hearing you say Blitz is shaking his head and scratching? I would find another vet, even if it is a drive. Good luck and yes, Chicago, has many good vets to choose from. Hope you can find a reputable one for Blitz Let us know
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Our current vet is going to put him on a two week dose of antibiotics, as since his ear has a lot of earwax coming out, she believes he may have an inner ear infection that is causing swelling and generating fluid, pushing out the earwax and affecting his balance.

If that doesn't help, she is either going to refer us to a neurologist or prescribe him prednisone, but she does not want to prescribe that as he is very young and it can damage his liver and kidneys.
post #9 of 15
for the antibiotics to work!!!!! Definitely, all of this could be causing pressure in the inner ear and cause the head tilt and vertigo. I sure hope your baby is feeling better soon. Please keep updating
post #10 of 15

Our cat has Vertigo and at first she had an abundance of ear wax and gunk in both ears so the doctor removed it and she was ok for a long time.

 

Then she started having vertigo attacks 10 to 15 mins after almost each meal, so we changed her diet and that worked for a couple of days and it came back.  We feel so sorry for this sweet cat.  Were desperate for or help.

post #11 of 15

I'll add the sad story of our 2 year old to this thread.

 

About 6 weeks ago, she began to stumble slightly.  Within 2 days she was battling to walk without falling, couldn't jump and had her head tilted to the left. 

 

The vet suspected an inner ear infection, and prescribed a course of antibiotics.  At this early stage, she was not eating her normal food, but would eat her favourite mince out of my hand.  Over the course of the next 10 days, she improved markedly, and by the end of the antibiotics, was walking properly, her head straight, but still couldn't jump.

 

Problem solved, so we thought.

 

A week after the antibiotics finished, she started to go downhill again with the same symptoms, but this time, her head was tilted to the right!!  Her walking wasn't as bad as originally, and she was now eating her normal meals.

 

Back on the antiobiotics, and again she showed improvement.  This time, when the ABs finished, I got another course, hoping this time to fully kill off the infection.  She was back to almost normal, except that her jumping was still very restricted, and the antibiotics were still going, when she started to go backwards again, and has continued to do so, to the point where her walking is as bad as it has ever been.  She continues to eat well, and will play with her toys for short periods.

 

The vet had mentioned from the start that a CT scan would be a possibility, but when the antibiotics seemed to be making a difference, and she was eating well (even when she was struggling) we agreed that the 4 hour round trip to the nearest scanning facility & neurologist wasn't worth the stress to her. 

 

Now that the antibiotics have stopped working (or perhaps they never worked, and her improvements were coincidental) I've made the booking for next week, and hope that we can get to the bottom of it. 

 

Her symptoms are not quite the same as those described by the other contributors to this thread in that she has gotten better twice, and her eyes have been normal.

post #12 of 15
Going thru this now with LadyBug. Started after an ear cleaning. It's pitiful and I'm sorry it's also happened to Blitz. Our vet gave her an injection of dexamethasone (steroid) yesterday. No improvement yet with the walking but she's eating today and that's a big improvement. Good luck. Keep us posted.
post #13 of 15

I am wondering if my Grace might have this. Do cats with this experience head tilting and tremors? I definitely will mention it to the vet. She has no balance issues or nystagmus but she is tilting her head and it shakes.

post #14 of 15

I brought my cat in for gingivitis, and out of the normal head shaking. They found that he had a bacterial infection in his left ear, so they flushed out both ears. Now, he has vertigo. It will be a week Friday, Oct. 17. He still is off, wobbly at times. Everytime he shakes his head, he's off balance. Doesn't fall down like he used to, but he at times walks like he is drunk. His visit to the vet was his teeth were bothering him, now he can't even walk straight. He was fine, except for the "normal" problems that arise with age ( 11.5 yrs. ), it just concerns me how all of a sudden they get a disease. He wasn't walking around drunk, with his eye's rapidly moving side to side when I brought him in. 

Well, I hope your cat gets better, as I hope with mine. It's just hard to see them this way. We're not used to this sudden "new" behavior. I was told by my vet that we just have to ride it out. 

post #15 of 15
Well, Cheech is a little better. Gets unbalanced, and sometimes falls over when he shakes his head. I know he has something going on with his ears. The flushing with Epiklean solution caused his vertigo. The vet wants to see Cheech @ 6 tonight, so we'll see what course of action the vet will take. I'll keep you informed after.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mycheech View Post

I brought my cat in for gingivitis, and out of the normal head shaking. They found that he had a bacterial infection in his left ear, so they flushed out both ears. Now, he has vertigo. It will be a week Friday, Oct. 17. He still is off, wobbly at times. Everytime he shakes his head, he's off balance. Doesn't fall down like he used to, but he at times walks like he is drunk. His visit to the vet was his teeth were bothering him, now he can't even walk straight. He was fine, except for the "normal" problems that arise with age ( 11.5 yrs. ), it just concerns me how all of a sudden they get a disease. He wasn't walking around drunk, with his eye's rapidly moving side to side when I brought him in. 
Well, I hope your cat gets better, as I hope with mine. It's just hard to see them this way. We're not used to this sudden "new" behavior. I was told by my vet that we just have to ride it out. 
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