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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 33289
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My cat is a long haired black and white approx 8 yrs. She is

Customer Question

My cat is a long haired black and white approx 8 yrs. She is very affectionate and purrs a lot I inherited her last. September. She has been getting facial spasms which are getting more frequent, they sometimes affect her front paws at the same time. She has gone very quiet and sleeps a lot. I find her a sleep on the floor stretched out. When I rub her tummy up and down she seems to have comfort. I am concerned she is in pain when she gets these spasms. She eats well. I give her a mixture of wet and dry food. I cannot get her to drink water, she will drink semi skimmed milk. Bald patches have occurred above each eye where she has been scratching. She is very territorial and likes to look out of the windows to see whats going on. However she does not do that as much now.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry to hear of this with Cleo. The facial and now front paw spasms indicate simple partial seizures in our cats. These are described as focal or asymmetric sensory or motor activity affecting any part of the body (e.g. facial twitching, chomping of the mouth). Postictal (after the seizure) disturbances are common and include confusion, pacing, blindness, and ataxia ("drunken sailor") followed by sleep.

The causes of simple partial seizures can be intracranial (within the skull) such as brain tumor, or extracranial (outside the skull) such as hypoglycemia or a poorly functioning liver. Cleo's vet will want to perform a thorough neurologic exam and diagnostics in the form of blood/urine tests. If nothing untoward is found in the tests, an intracranial disorder is suspected. At that point, a specialist neurologist will be needed to perform advanced testing such as cerebrospinal fluid analysis or MRI. Alternatively, Cleo might be prescribed anticonvulsive medication such as the barbiturate phenobarbital.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.