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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 10923
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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My cat is 15when I got home from work she did not look right

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My cat is 15when I got home from work she did not look right so I took her to the vet and he told me that she has had a stroke. He gave her a steroid injection. I was too upset at the time to ask what it was for can you tell me.
Many thanks
Hello Wendy, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today.

I'm sorry for this problem with Tilly. I do have a few questions to ask about her first, if you don't mind:

1. Can you describe her symptoms to me prior to her vet visit?
2. Does she appear the same as before the steroid injection or improved (or has not enough time passed for you to tell)?

There may be a slight delay after I receive your answers since I have to type up a response to you. Thanks for your patience. Deb

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
When I got home she was lying on the back of the sofa with her head lying over the side. She was meowing when she saw me. When I picked her up she did not act as usual and when I put her on the floor she could not stand properly and was very wobbly and seemed in distress.
After the steroid injection. She seems slightly better but it could be wishful thinking
Thanks so much for the additional information although I'm sorry that I was off my computer when you responded back.

I'm not disputing the diagnosis which your vet made since he was able to physically exam Tilly and I can't but it's also possible that she might be experiening what's known as Idiopathic Vestibular Syndrome since this is a far more commonly seen problem than a vascular event in the brain (which is fairly rare).
This is a condition for which we have no known underlying cause but frequently causes balance issues. The patient's symptoms can mimic other conditions (such as a stroke) but it would take an MRI to distinguish between the two.

Other possible explanations include an inner/middle ear infection, a brain mass, trauma or a protozoal disease such as Toxoplasmosis. The first two would also require an MRI or CAT scan to diagnosis.

I can't say for sure, of course, but I'm presuming that your vet gave her a steroid injection for any inflammation which might be present in her brain.

Not all vets will treat vestibular diseases or a stroke with steroids but there is obviously individual variation among vets as to treatment options.

If this is a stroke, then she should remain somewhat stable with her current symptoms but may slowly (over weeks to months) improve. She may still experience deficits and may not ever return to 100% normalacy.
If this is Idiopathic Vestibular Syndrome, she should improve within days with a full recovery expected in most cases.
If this is an inner/middle ear infection or Toxoplasmosis, improvement won't be seen until or unless antibiotics are begun.
If this is a brain mass, she may slowly deteriorate, unfortuanately, or remain as she is for a while.

I hope this helps. Deb
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you I noted your comment about toxoplasmosis Tilly is an totally indoor cat as I live in a flat so would she be able to get this. Also she is moving much better tonight and although slightly wobbly can stand and walk and is sleeping curled up rather than in a nose dive.
You're more than welcome.
Yes, I agree that Toxo seems less likely given her living situation.
The fact that she appears to be improving is excellent news; I hope that she continues to do so and returns to normal within just another few days.
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