Sending mail about feline epilepsy
I regularly get mail from people about their cat's seizures. While
I would love to respond to every piece of mail I get, that's not
always possible. Please understand that if you don't receive a
response, it doesn't mean I didn't get it, it most likely means
that I didn't have the time to respond.
You may find the Epi-Felines
mailing list a good place to ask questions.
To answer some common questions, I'm not a vet, so I can't dispense
any sort of veterinary advice or diagnosis. Most of what I know
you can find on my feline
epilepsy page or on links off of that page. I do have
some common pieces of information that I have given out in the
- The biggest concern in email I get is who to see about getting a
diagnosis, and whether the care being received is adequate.
This is an almost impossible question, but my simple guideline
is that if the animal has had more than one seizure in a
period of a couple months and your vet has not performed blood
tests, then there is a problem. In particular, if your cat is
having repeated seizures and your vet has done nothing, or
merely wishes to observe the cat, I would switch vets. In any
case, if the problem is not solved, I would recommend getting
a second opinion, or, in particular, taking your cat to a
veterinary school or internist if at all possible. In any
case, make sure you get the blood tests done!
- My cat, Shadow, was successfully treated with phenobarbital. Not every
cat can be. In many cases it is necessary to find the
underlying condition causing the seizures. Some vets will try
to solve the problem with phenobarbital before recommending
significant diagnostic work. This is a decision between you
and your vet.
- There are a number of people who believe that nutritional
deficiencies can cause seizures in (some) cats. They claim to have
had luck with certain vitamin supplements. I do not have further
information on this, and have not tried it, but you may want to
investigate it further and consider it.
- Many people are anxious about the effects phenobarbital
treatment will have on their cat. What I was told when we began
phenobarbital treatment was that Shadow would initially be
drowsy, and drink and urinate more, but that this would return
to normal within a few weeks. This is exactly what we observed.
Within about 3 weeks, we were not aware of any difference. Five
years later, he was less active than he was at 1 year, but that
didn't seem surprising. We obviously don't know if his
behavior would have been different at that age if he wasn't on
medication. In terms of health effects, phenobarbital generally
does not cause liver damage when used properly. The related
links section on my main feline
epilepsy page, and Phenobarbital
(for dogs) provide more information.
Above all else, good luck with solving your pet's problem. I know
how difficult it can be.
If you've read this and would still like to send me email,
feel free. Due to my schedule, I can't promise that I can
answer it, but I do read it. In particular, if you have
additional information which you feel would be appropriate for
inclusion on my web page, please send me mail.
Last modified: Thu Mar 17 15:46:34 EST 2005