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Cerebullar Hypoplasia, Cerebullar Ataxia, or Sensory Ataxia

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Does anyone know about these three diseases? We're pretty sure Belle Starr has one of the three. Can anyone help me out with a diagnosis. We took her to the vet a few weeks ago, and he said she definitely has a neurological problem... it's worsened and I'm trying to figure out what it is.

Belle's Symptoms:

Almost constant bouncing. She will just stop and bounce, and then sit down. Everytime she's standing, she bounces.

Bouncing while eating, drinking, or leaning down to sniff. It seems to get bad when she leans over to do something.

Litter box issues. She can't hold herself up while using the litterbox. She gets urine all over her, and most the time can't even make it to the box. She is in perfect health elsewise, so it's not a UTI.

Weak legs. Sometimes, she'll be running or walking and her back legs will just give out on her, and she'd fall, sit for a second, and continue running.

Seems kinda dazed sometimes. Reaction time slow.

Eyesight. She has poor eyesight, especially from afar.

Inactive. She just doesn't play as much as a kitten should play. When she gets her daily dose of FeloVite II Vitamin paste, she is active for about 10-20 minutes, and then she is back to inactive. She normally remains inactive for the rest of the day, except before bedtime, she plays for a few minutes.

Can't make even small jumps. Not even one a few inches high.

So, can anyone relate to this? Anyone have an idea? I think my vet is stumped with this one.

This is the best web-site I've found about it. Anyone have any others? I'm sure it's one of the three choices, but I can't make out which one. What do you think?
post #2 of 21
Thread Starter 
:bump:
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
:bump: :bump:
post #4 of 21
Just from reading your link, it sounds more like Cerebellar Ataxia to me, because that includes the bobbing, or tremor.
Cerebellar ataxia
This is caused by problems with the cerebellum which is an area of the brain involved in controlling balance and coordination. Affected cats often stand and walk

with their legs far apart and may be described to have a highstepping gait (goose stepping). Cats with cerebellar problems find it difficult to make accurate calculations when jumping and

so often do this in a very exaggerated way. Tremors, which in some cats get worse when they go to do something such as eating (referred to as an intention tremor), may also be seen.


But were your cats up to date on their vaccinations when CJ got pregnant? It sounds like this is often due to distemper during pregnancy?!?
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckiboo
Just from reading your link, it sounds more like Cerebellar Ataxia to me, because that includes the bobbing, or tremor.
Cerebellar ataxia
This is caused by problems with the cerebellum which is an area of the brain involved in controlling balance and coordination. Affected cats often stand and walk

with their legs far apart and may be described to have a highstepping gait (goose stepping). Cats with cerebellar problems find it difficult to make accurate calculations when jumping and

so often do this in a very exaggerated way. Tremors, which in some cats get worse when they go to do something such as eating (referred to as an intention tremor), may also be seen.But were your cats up to date on their vaccinations when CJ got pregnant? It sounds like this is often due to distemper during pregnancy?!?


Yes, that is what my vet believes happened. CJ was young when she got pregnant... I believe about 9 months. She had only had one series of vaccinations before that. We were current with her vaccs when she was a kitten. CJ had enough immunity for herself, but not for her kittens. It says that on that web-page, too. Annie has the Vestibular Ataxia, and one kitten didn't make it, and Mirah has here problems, so it's most likely one of those. We were leaning towards it being Cerebular Ataxia, as well.

My mom has research feline diabetes some too, and that sounds a lot like it. BUT, I think it's more of CH or Cerebular Ataxia than that, simply because Annie has her issues, and the vet said that there are definitely neurological problems.

Thanks for your input!
post #6 of 21
I think the vet can figure out if she has diabetes with a simple blood test. Have they given you any idea of how she will progress? Do they expect it to get any worse? Is there anything you can do to help her, for example in the litterbox? Would little braces on her legs help?

Poor little baby, luckily she has you to love her and care for her.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckiboo
I think the vet can figure out if she has diabetes with a simple blood test. Have they given you any idea of how she will progress? Do they expect it to get any worse? Is there anything you can do to help her, for example in the litterbox? Would little braces on her legs help?

Poor little baby, luckily she has you to love her and care for her.
Well, my vet didn't really say anything about helping her that way... he said it's a neurological, and the best we can do for her right now is put her on the vitamins. I think the vitamins help, but she is getting worse. I'm really worried. I'm even getting too paranoid over the slightest things. I just feel so bad for her. Today, she was trying so hard to get to her water dish. She was in my living room, and her water is in my room. She would walk some... sit down... get up... walk some.... I tried to see if she could make it, but I had to pick her up and bring her to her water. I have water in the living room, but they drank it up at that moment. I just feel so bad for her, and I wish there's something I could do for her NOW. We can't take her to the vet at the moment... kinda strapped. But as soon as we can, she's going.
post #8 of 21
The website also says these diseases can be inherited. With both kittens having the diseases, it's probably is a strong possibility that the disease is genetic.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elizwithcat
The website also says these diseases can be inherited. With both kittens having the diseases, it's probably is a strong possibility that the disease is genetic.
They are indeed inbred.

But I think it's more-so of CJ being exposed to feline distemper. The vet believes so, too.

He said chances are it isn't do to inbreeding... that would be more of a physical defect.
post #10 of 21
Try to read up on this, even the info for people or other animals. I just read something that suggests the cerebellum normally makes movement automatic. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...&dopt=Abstract For example, the first few times a kitten drinks from a water bowl, she has to figure out how low to drop her head, how far to bend her legs, and how fast to move her tongue.

So regarding the water dish, a healthy kitten might just run to the other dish, but Belle still has to work really hard to drink from the first water dish, because it isn't automatic. So to change from "walk to dish" to "go find another dish" may have been overwhelming for her.

Maybe she seems worse because she is trying so many new experiences. Can you limit her to one room again, preferably the one where she has spent the most time. This will limit her new experiences, and new challenges. Keep her bowls in the same places, and the litter box, too. Even keep her on the same food at all times. If she can't learn new movements easily, switching from dry to wet could be a challenge for her.

Treat her as if her ability to learn new movements is profoundly retarded. Try to keep things very much the same. And if her Momma will still nurse her, that is probably good for her, too.

And ask the vet if you can either increase the amount of vitamins, or give her half dose in the morning, and half in the evening, and see if that helps.

I am just guessing on this based on one article. But if you make changes that cannot possibly harm her, you will lose nothing. And maybe she will slowly learn things and be able to adjust for her limitations.

You might even try holding her in your hand to support her in the litterbox once an hour all day long. This will lessen the amount of muscle control needed to use the litterbox, and maybe after doing it for several days she will be able to go on her own.

And you want to be a vet when you grow up, right? Maybe you will be a specialist in helping wobbly kittens compensate for their deficits, so they can survive to grow up.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Wow... great suggestions! Thanks! I sure will try that!

Belle always has one water dish in the same place, but when I realized she had trouble getting to her dish, I put on in the living room so she could get to water easier. It seemed to help some, but she just didn't have any in it at the time. She just couldn't really walk. She gets only dry food, except now and then they'll get canned as a treat. I sure will give that advice a try. Thanks, again!
post #12 of 21
Here is a link for human kids that suggests the only treatment will be physical therapy to help train her muscles to compensate.

http://endoflifecare.tripod.com/juve...ease/id57.html

Treatment

In some cases, the metabolic disorders that cause ataxia may be treated with controlled diets and special medications. If the ataxia is due to a toxin, avoiding the toxin and particular anti-toxin measures may be appropriate. If due to a tumor, then surgery may be necessary. If ataxia is due to a stroke, it is important to prevent further strokes and minimize the current injury.

Most other causes of ataxia do not have specific treatments, and there is no replacement for cerebellar cells that die or which never developed in a proper manner.

The most effective treatment often consists of physical therapy to train and strengthen muscles to compensate.
Gait and balance training may also be helpful.
The use of a cane, crutches, or walker is often beneficial.
In some cases, adapted utensils and other tools may be helpful.
Speech therapy may sometimes be helpful for ataxic speech.
Ataxia of eye movements rarely requires treatment.
post #13 of 21
One more, then I'm done!
http://www.wemove.org/pediatric_trea...herapy_pt.html

Treatment of Pediatric Movement Disorders
Therapy: PT/OT/Rehab/School

The child's brain has a remarkable capacity for reorganization. This means that even after significant injury, there is the ability for uninjured parts of the brain to take over the function of the damaged parts. Since neurons do not generally re-grow, reorganization or "plasticity" is probably the major mechanism by which children improve or recover after brain injury. Even in progressive or degenerative diseases, it is likely that plasticity plays an important role in maximizing the child's abilities.

Although there is not yet conclusive evidence, it is likely that plasticity mechanisms are significantly enhanced by appropriate exercise. This means that physical therapy, occupational therapy, and schooling are important not only to improve strength and teach skills, but also to help the brain relearn and adapt to its injury. This is likely to be particularly true with movement disorders, since a child may be able to learn alternative strategies for movement that make use of residual neurological and musculoskeletal function. At the very least, by maintaining joint mobility and preventing muscle contracture, physical and occupational therapy preserve the ability for a child to possibly use these muscles and joints in the future.

Evidence from research in animals and humans shows that the brain can adapt rapidly (over a period of a few weeks) to changes in the use of the limbs. The significance of this observation for childhood movement disorders is not known; however, it suggests that training in the appropriate use of the limbs as early as possible may have significant long-term benefits. In particular, it is hoped that early and continuing physical and occupational therapy may delay or prevent future worsening of symptoms.
post #14 of 21
This definitely doesn't sound like cerebellar hypoplasia to me. One of the hallmarks of CH is that affected cats are alert, cognitively normal (some are very smart), and as active as their motor skills allow them to be. What I mean by this is that their energy level is normal and if they can walk, they generally play as much as any other cats even though they have a tough time running, etc. Basically, cats with CH have trouble with balance and coordination but are totally normal in every other way. They're disabled but definitely not sick.

CH also never worsens - that's one of the key characteristics of the condition. My CH cat's symptoms do get worse after he has a fever (which has only happened once so far), but a shot of steroids will have him back to his normal self by the next day. Symptoms that get worse point strongly to a condition other than CH. A CH kitten's symptoms will actually seem to improve as he gets stronger and has more experience with walking and other activities.

When you say "bouncing" - can you describe that a little more thoroughly? Like, what part of her bounces?

Also, when she walks or sits, are her legs spread apart farther than normal?

In terms of learning new things, my CH cat actually thrives on new situations and experiences more than any cat I have ever met in my life. He is very smart (and I don't just say that cos he's my baby!) and actually enjoys problem solving as long as he doesn't get too frustrated. His favorite game is fishing a piece of dry cat food out of a plastic box with a small hole in it. He doesn't seem to care that it's the same food that's in the bowl in the next room - this is his game and it's special because of that.

I'd recommend at least getting full bloodwork and urinalysis done at the vet. An MRI would tell you a lot but it will also cost a fortune so it's better to see what the lab work tells you first.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by semiferal
This definitely doesn't sound like cerebellar hypoplasia to me. One of the hallmarks of CH is that affected cats are alert, cognitively normal (some are very smart), and as active as their motor skills allow them to be. What I mean by this is that their energy level is normal and if they can walk, they generally play as much as any other cats even though they have a tough time running, etc. Basically, cats with CH have trouble with balance and coordination but are totally normal in every other way. They're disabled but definitely not sick.

CH also never worsens - that's one of the key characteristics of the condition. My CH cat's symptoms do get worse after he has a fever (which has only happened once so far), but a shot of steroids will have him back to his normal self by the next day. Symptoms that get worse point strongly to a condition other than CH. A CH kitten's symptoms will actually seem to improve as he gets stronger and has more experience with walking and other activities.

When you say "bouncing" - can you describe that a little more thoroughly? Like, what part of her bounces?

Also, when she walks or sits, are her legs spread apart farther than normal?


In terms of learning new things, my CH cat actually thrives on new situations and experiences more than any cat I have ever met in my life. He is very smart (and I don't just say that cos he's my baby!) and actually enjoys problem solving as long as he doesn't get too frustrated. His favorite game is fishing a piece of dry cat food out of a plastic box with a small hole in it. He doesn't seem to care that it's the same food that's in the bowl in the next room - this is his game and it's special because of that.

I'd recommend at least getting full bloodwork and urinalysis done at the vet. An MRI would tell you a lot but it will also cost a fortune so it's better to see what the lab work tells you first.
Cool... thanks for the info and input.

Her boucing is mainly in her hind legs, but she pretty much bounces all over, only because her back legs are, though. What it is is a up and down movement of her hind legs. Since her hind legs are bouncing, her whole body bounces, too.

She does have a wide gait, and a high gait as well, so the answer to your second question is yes.
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking it actually is CH, just a worse case here. Jan (Gemlady) sent this link to me, and it sounds exactly like Belle!

http://www.catoftheday.com/
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJandBilly
Cool... thanks for the info and input.

Her boucing is mainly in her hind legs, but she pretty much bounces all over, only because her back legs are, though. What it is is a up and down movement of her hind legs. Since her hind legs are bouncing, her whole body bounces, too.

She does have a wide gait, and a high gait as well, so the answer to your second question is yes.
The bouncing is something I've never heard of. Another question: does she have head tremors when she is excited or trying to concentrate on something?

Worsening symptoms, sadly, are not a good sign. But without bloodwork, there's not much that can be said for sure.
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by semiferal
The bouncing is something I've never heard of. Another question: does she have head tremors when she is excited or trying to concentrate on something?

Worsening symptoms, sadly, are not a good sign. But without bloodwork, there's not much that can be said for sure.
Yes... she never keeps her head still when awake.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
I just read a very reliable source, that I do trust, about CH. It was www.vetinfo4cats.com where people ask questions and a DVM answers their questions.

I love that website, it is very reliable, and the answers are always right on the nose. Anyway, a woman described a kitten she had found. If I didn't know any better, I would say she was describing my Belle. She was concerned that the flea powder or OTC dewormer she bought was causing the kittens problems. The vet replied, and told her that it was a possibility because toxins can cause neurological damage, it sounded like CH. He said, pretty much, it's toxins or CH.

This woman described her kitten, and it was identical to Belle's condition. She hasn't had a chance to get in any toxins, so according to that site, it must be CH. BUT, I am not just going to take this as a diagnosis. I am still going to take her to the vet, but will ask him about it, and see what he thinks.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJandBilly
Does anyone know about these three diseases? We're pretty sure Belle Starr has one of the three. Can anyone help me out with a diagnosis. We took her to the vet a few weeks ago, and he said she definitely has a neurological problem... it's worsened and I'm trying to figure out what it is.

Belle's Symptoms:

Almost constant bouncing. She will just stop and bounce, and then sit down. Everytime she's standing, she bounces.

Bouncing while eating, drinking, or leaning down to sniff. It seems to get bad when she leans over to do something.

Litter box issues. She can't hold herself up while using the litterbox. She gets urine all over her, and most the time can't even make it to the box. She is in perfect health elsewise, so it's not a UTI.

Weak legs. Sometimes, she'll be running or walking and her back legs will just give out on her, and she'd fall, sit for a second, and continue running.

Seems kinda dazed sometimes. Reaction time slow.

Eyesight. She has poor eyesight, especially from afar.

Inactive. She just doesn't play as much as a kitten should play. When she gets her daily dose of FeloVite II Vitamin paste, she is active for about 10-20 minutes, and then she is back to inactive. She normally remains inactive for the rest of the day, except before bedtime, she plays for a few minutes.

Can't make even small jumps. Not even one a few inches high.

So, can anyone relate to this? Anyone have an idea? I think my vet is stumped with this one.

This is the best web-site I've found about it. Anyone have any others? I'm sure it's one of the three choices, but I can't make out which one. What do you think?
...cerebellar ataxia. We just adopted a kitten with it. The big tip off for how it was acquired is to see if all other functions are normal other than balance and distance judgement. If thye are then it was probably distemper when the fetus was forming.

I have another thread in this forum where I'm trying to find out how adult cats cope with this condition. From all I have found out it seems that most of these kittens are euthanized.
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 
Just got back from the vet.... it's either an infection in the brain or CH. They gave her a shot of steriods and put her on antibiotics. If that doesn't clear it up, then she has CH. Also, Belle has a pretty bad case of it, if that's what it is. Unfortunately, if this doesn't clear it up, my vet believes it's best to do what's best for her. If she continues, the chances of her improving are slim to none, and her quality of life will be horrible. I really hope and pray that this clears it up. Please, continue to pray for my baby, Belle Starr.

Thank-you!
Cassie
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