September 25th, 2003, 05:30 PM
My 2 and a half year old male neutured cat (domestic shorthair), Archie, recently had a seizure. I immediately brought him to the vet where they admitted him for two days to watch him and they performed blood tests to test for liver problems, kidney problems, toxoplasmosis, Feline leukemia, Feline AIDS, and test his white and red blood cell count. The vet also did a DNA panel. All these test have come back normal. We are still waiting on the DNA panel but the vet doubts that will show anything. Archie was released to me yesterday and he had another seizure last night. I have spoken to the vet again and she now wants to start him on phenobarbital to control the seizures. I agree with this course of action and will start him on the medication tonight. The vet has also recommended that I take him to a neurologist to have cat scans and an MRI done. She has also suggests a spinal fluid test. I guess my question is, what if anything will these more invasive tests show and in the long run is it going to find anything that is treatable? I am concerned not only about the money issue (this has already cost me $1000.00 plus what ever I have to pay for the medication and the vet has indicated that the neurologist will probably cost upwards of $2000.00) but also about the stress that this will put on Archie. I am a student and will likely have to take out a personal loan to pay for these neurological tests. I am of course willing to do this because the cat means a lot to me and I believe it is my responsibility to do everything I can to help him. However, I am wondering if I put him through all this will the end result be worth it? If they find, say a brain tumour, what can be done to help that and would surgery even be remotely within my means to pay for? What else could an MRI or a cat scan pick up? Would you recommend goign to a neurologist or just waiting to see how he responds to the medication? I am so worried about my cat. I cannot sleep becuase I am so worried and I would greatly appreciate any advice you might have.
September 26th, 2003, 10:36 AM
My name is Samantha and I am an EEG technologist. Basically I run the tests that diagnose Epilepsy and Seizures every day in Childrens and adults. Though currently I work strickly with children.
First, let me say that I am sorry that your cat is having SZ's (seizures). I know that it is frieghting and that you feel like you have no control. I understand.
Secondly let me explain what a SZ is. A SZ is a misfiring of the electrical activity in the brain. The brain normally fires electrical actitvity every sec of every day. This is what makes us move, think, breath and pretty much do everything we do. A SZ is one area not working quite right, it starts to missfire and then gathers strength, recruits more neurons and gathers more strength and finnaly overwelms the brains own defences and you have a SZ.
Almost ANYTHING can cause a SZ. If your vet has already ruled out metabolic (kidney, liver) problems, then you are probably looking at idoipathic epilepsy. Or SZ without a known cause.
Yes you can do a cat scan to see if there is a tumor but the best test would be an EEG if you can get one. An X-ray will only show if there is ongoing bleeding in the brain (stroke).
If it is a tumor, you are looking at very high vet bills and even then you probably won't get rid of the SZ. In children, they go through a 4 month workup before their surgury and even then the succuess rate is about 75 %.
I would try the meds first. DOn't do any more tests until you can see if the meds are working. And that might take a while, to get the meds right that is. If after 4 months of SZ free, he starts having SZ again then you might want to concider more tests.
Are there any other symptoms? Trouble walking? Eating? sleeping? Any change in Personality?
Again I will state that the only way to fully diagnose SZ is with an EEG.
I hope all this helps and I wish you luck. If you have any more questions you can e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org or respond to this tread again.
Samantha Bednard RET
September 26th, 2003, 02:28 PM
Thank you so much for your kind reply! My Archie doesn't have any other symptoms that I have noticed. He is eating normally, sleeping normally and basically acting like his normal self. The only thing I have noticed is that he is a little more "jumpy" than normal. He seems to have a hightened sense of nervousness at times. So you think I should hold off on performing more tests to see if the medication works? THat is kind of what i was thinking. It is not that I am not willing to payt he money...I will find if I have to...it is just that in the long run is it going to help anyway and putting him through more tests may just turn out to be very stressful for him and not end up helping. I will talk to my vet more I think.
Again, thank you for your thoughtful reply. I will let you know how things turn out.