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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 28996
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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10 years old cat wobbles its head and body from side looks

Customer Question

10 years old cat wobbles its head and body from side looks like loss of ballance
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
You're correct to incriminate a loss of balance - a vestibular disorder. We need to differentiate whether Sotty's vestibular disorder is due to an intracranial (within his skull) disorder or an extracranial (outside his skull) disorder.

Intracranial disorders can be peripheral - involving the middle/inner ear - or central - involving the brainstem and/or cerebellum. In some cases a peripheral disorder can extent into the brain.

Sotty's history of illness 2 months ago would lead me to believe that either kidney or liver insuffiency - extracranial disorders both - should be incriminated in his vestibular disorder at this time. A poorly functioning liver can allow blood ammonia levels to increase to the point that the brain is intoxicated (hepatic encephalopathy). Poorly functioning kidneys can allow toxic wastes (azotemia) to increase to the point that they intoxicate the brain (uremic encephalopathy).

I'm sorry to be so discouraging but I'm quite concerned for Sotty. He needs to be returned to his vet for additional testing to clarify if one of the above is causing his vestibular symptoms. An idiopathic (unknown etiology) vestibular syndrome does exist in cats and would hold the best prognosis for Sotty as these cats can normalize within days to weeks. Knowing his history, however, it would be prudent not to "watchful wait" Sotty but have him tested at your earliest convenience.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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