Is it partial seizures?

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BethAndMarvs
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Is it partial seizures?

Post by BethAndMarvs » Sun May 12, 2019 12:03 am

Hi everyone, I’m new here and just after some advice.

My cat Marvin is 15.5 years old. In the last couple of years he started having problems with waxy ears, which he’d usually get better from with drops. Last November/December he wasn’t reacting to his drops so I took him back to the vets and they sedated him and found polyps in one of his ears, but very very far down.

Around this time he also started ‘falling over’. One time he was sat on my bedroom window and as I was walking down the stairs I heard a bang, ran up to my room, and he was sprawled on his side on the floor (luckily my window is very low and it isn’t far at all, although I imagine it hurt 😔). His body was all stiff and I scooped him up and he started yowling like he was in pain. I popped him on my bed and stroked him and stroked his legs which were all stiff and then he seemed to come round, started purring, and stopped being all stiff and got up and was happy again. I took him back to the vets and they said it could be something wrong with his brain and I’d need a scan which would cost thousands. He’s not insured and I’m a student and I can’t afford that 😔

He’s had a few falls since too. All seem to happen in the same way. Once I saw him fall, he put his ear to the floor and flopped over, went all stiff and as soon as I rushed over, started yowling again, and then recovered very quickly.

He’s been fine for months and his ears stopped bothering him too.

Then about a week and a half ago, his ears started bothering him again. I decided to leave it a few days to see if it passed without going the vets (some times he seems bothered by his ears and then it quickly passes and hes fine like there never was a problem). Anyway, like I thought, he seemed to be getting better but he was still scratching at his ears a lot, so I thought maybe his polyps were growing, and planned to book a vet appointment for this week.

Anyway, I came home from work the other night, and Marvin was in the garden, excited to greet me as normal, he followed me up the garden (I come in through the back door), I unlocked the door and left it open for him to follow me in (he does have a cat flap but if I’m using the door he must also use it the human way 😂) and once I put my bag down I realised he hadn’t come in. I looked out on the patio and he was just sprawled on his side. Honestly, I thought he was dead. I ran over to him and picked him up and he started yowling like he was in pain again. It was the worse yowing hes done of these incidents. I took him inside and put him on the sofa and had to massage his legs as they were all stiff and he slowly got to his feet, but he was rocking side to side as he did it, like he was drunk. Once he was completely up he stopped, started purring cause i was fussing him, and then went and ate for ages like nothing had happened!!

I took him to the vets as soon as they opened the next morning and they said there isn’t anything we can do but keep an eye on him. His ears are fine, there is no infection and the polyps still aren’t visible basic inspection (i wondered if they were making him lose balance), and other than his very early stage kidney disease (which he has renal food for) and slight dental disease hes a healthy cat for his age. She suggested that he may be having seizures/partial seizures but we wouldnt know without a brain scan. She said there was no right or wrong with doing/not doing a scan, but she did say with him having kidney disease, anaesthetic is a much bigger risk. She said all I can do is keep an eye on him and try film one of his episodes if I can.

Has anyone elses’ cat behaved like this? Was it diagnosed as anything? Does anyone know if I am making things worse for Marvin by picking him up and stroking him when I see these episodes happen? Its natural instinct but I dont want to hurt him.

Sorry for the long post but I’d really appreciate some advice! I’m so worried about him and constantly fearing he’ll ‘collapse’ again.

Thank you!

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Re: Is it partial seizures?

Post by Mollycat » Sun May 12, 2019 6:52 am

It certainly sounds neurological but no way of knowing without a scan and that might not even give you answers.

I guess the questions are, if you find out for sure what it is, what treatment is available? Can the vet be sure enough to give that treatment without a scan, and is it safe? Anaesthetic issues due to renal problems can be helped by having the cat on IV fluids for the night before and the night after - that's what we had for mine when he had his dental aged 13.

I know you say he is otherwise healthy, but from his point of view, how much quality of life will he gain from having a scan and possible treatment if there is any? These incidents are obviously distressing for you, but how much of a problem are they for him? Every cat is different, you know your cat best.

We have health issues in both my cats, one is nearly 15 and we are managing symptomatically and accepting he may have weeks or months, days or years, but it's up to him. The other is 12 but the age difference can't be measured in years, it's more like a difference of 6 years than 3 and we can't take the same attitude with her yet even though she is extremely difficult to treat. Hope this makes sense.

BethAndMarvs
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Re: Is it partial seizures?

Post by BethAndMarvs » Sun May 12, 2019 8:33 am

Hi mollycat,

Thanks for replying.

I hadn’t asked the vet that, I will ask. I actually changed vets because I felt like one was trying to rip me off; the first vet who was really pushing for me to get Marvin a brain scan suddenly started talking about this heart condition which had been ‘worsening over our last few visits’, and how I’d need to get a cardiologist, even though they hadn’t mentioned it to me at all over my last few visits. So I took him somewhere else for a second opinion and they said he doesnt have a heart condition!

This new vet is really lovely and she doesn’t think Marvin has a bad quality of life at the moment.

Marvin, in my opinion, is still a very happy cat. He’s very needy and loves being in my company so if anything he’s a little more grumpy than usual because I’m at uni during the day working on my deadlines and then working in the evenings, so I’m not about as much to fuss him! But as soon as I’m back and in the mornings he’s very happy, cuddly and purring.

He didn’t have the IV the night before his anesthetic to find his polyps (we didnt know about the renal failure then) and he reallt struggled after the anesthetic, he was doped up for a long time after the anesthetic should have worn off!

I feel like at the moment, these episodes hes having aren’t too much of a problem for him; I’m not sure he realises they’re happening? My biggest worry is that he’ll have one and hurt himself when I’m not there.

I suppose I’m not sure I feel the benefit in him having a scan; these episodes from what I’ve seen aren’t very frequent (although he could have them when I’m not there), he recovers quickly and I’m not sure I’m happy to travel an hour in the car with him (he hates his cat carrier and car), put him under sedation, and like you say, a scan might not even show anything. He’s 15 and a half, happy, still eating, drinking, chasing his toys, jumping up and down from my cupboards. But then I feel like a terrible owner; he’s my baby and I should want to do everything to make sure he’s healthy. Am I a bad owner?

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fjm
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Re: Is it partial seizures?

Post by fjm » Sun May 12, 2019 9:08 am

In the circumstances I think you are being a better owner NOT putting him through the stress of a scan - I would want to be very sure that there were readily available treatment options that would give a high probability of improvement before opting for a scan. A stroke or tumour, for example, might show up on a scan but there is not a great deal you can do about them except worry even more. Has he had a blood test to rule out the other possibilities, like liver, kidney or thyroid problems? All can cause seizures, although perhaps not of this type, and it might be worth discussing with your vet. But I think your vet's recommendation of watchful waiting is very sensible - I would put cushions or pillows anywhere he might fall, such as under the windowsill, and get on with enjoying time with him.

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Ruth B
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Re: Is it partial seizures?

Post by Ruth B » Sun May 12, 2019 9:16 am

I'm certainly no expert and have never experienced anything similar, but it does sound like some neurological problem.

You can't afford the scan, there might be complications with the anesthetic even if you could, and any way of getting around the possible complications would just increase the cost. There is no shame in admitting that but still wanting to do your best for Marvin. Even if you did get the scan done, it might not show anything, or if it did show a brain tumour then what, would you want to put him through extra surgery to try and remove it, give him chemo or radio therapy, all at additional cost. Sometimes it is better to accept that there may be an underlying cause, but even if you found out what it was it wouldn't make any difference to the treatment he receives, so you just treat the symptoms.

I have to agree that trying to video what happens during a fit would be worth while to show the vet and discuss whether there is any treatment you could give him that might make his recovery after one easier, there could be a muscle relaxant that you could inject that would help or something like that, or it could be what you are doing is the best option.

My one though is, you mentioned one happening when he was following you inside, is he allowed outside normally, if he is you might want to start to try and keep him indoors or only let him out when you are there to supervise him, you wouldn't want him to have a fit when you didn't know where he was. if there are places he loves to go like the windowsill that he is in danger of hurting himself if he falls off then could you put some cushions below it so he has something softer to catch him if he does fall. Is your college close enough that you could call home at lunch time to check on him,or do you know a neighbour well enough to ask them to pop in during the day to check on him.

I will also add that I have a 16 to 17 year old cat (a rescue so age a little uncertain) who last Summer developed a respiratory infection, even though swaps were done and it was identified, the antibiotics were only partially successful and the vet warned us that there is a strong possibility there is another underlying problem somewhere in the nose or throat region. We could have scans done to find out what and where it is, and then there is the possibility of surgery etc. We could afford it, she isn't insured but i have always kept some money back each week in a savings account to cover any treatment needed, it would however involve a lot of vets visits and a lot of stress all round. We have decided we aren't going down that route and will treat the symptoms as best we can for as long as she still seems to be enjoying life. We aren't even trying any more antibiotics, it was a long course and stressed us all out trying to get them into her, and didn't seem to give her respite for long. We have accepted that it is palliative care for her from now on (at least for this problem), and we are treating the symptoms not curing the problem, but she has already been on it for 9 months and could be on it for many more, months or years. However long it is we have accepted that in the end when she decides that life isn't worth living we will let her go, until then we will give her the best life we can. We have given her the best life we could for 14 years, and now the best thing we can do is give her the best end to it when the time comes rather than put her through a lot of extensive, invasive procedures that might in the end might make no difference.

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Re: Is it partial seizures?

Post by Mollycat » Sun May 12, 2019 10:29 am

BethAndMarvs wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 8:33 am
I suppose I’m not sure I feel the benefit in him having a scan; these episodes from what I’ve seen aren’t very frequent (although he could have them when I’m not there), he recovers quickly and I’m not sure I’m happy to travel an hour in the car with him (he hates his cat carrier and car), put him under sedation, and like you say, a scan might not even show anything. He’s 15 and a half, happy, still eating, drinking, chasing his toys, jumping up and down from my cupboards. But then I feel like a terrible owner; he’s my baby and I should want to do everything to make sure he’s healthy. Am I a bad owner?
I agree 100% with fjm here. Just because we can ie we have the technology doesn't always mean we should.

A vital part of life and quality of life is knowing when to let nature take its course and when to intervene. I am not a religious person but this is something anyone can relate to:
Lord give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

He is a good age, happy and healthy, they don't understand why they are being put through endless visits procedures medications and restrictions, so we have to judge best whether all that torture and trauma will give them long enough to forget it. Especially if they don't actually feel unwell. I just had this with my traumatised hyperthyroid girl, she had no idea she was ill and I had to put her through an overnight stay and a load of tests, then a two week stay in hospital. It was mental torture for me as I know people don't understand her. But she is 12 and otherwise healthy and if we didn't she would be at high risk of blindness and heart attack ... if she had been 16 I wouldn't have done it.

You are a great owner, because you respect your cat's catness, quality of life over and above length of life. You are a great owner because you ask these questions - can I, should I, is it right for my cat (not is it right for me, we'd all love them to live to 80 with us!) and the fact that you are so concerned to make the 'right' decision (there is no right or wrong we are only human and we simply do our best) makes you a wonderful, loving, caring cat owner. A cat owner that many cats would kill to have. If you decide not to put him through all this, and enjoy the time you have left together, he will let you know when enough is enough.

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