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Idiopathic Vestibular disease or more serious?

March 25th, 2011, 04:30 PM
Hi all
New here :)

But I am concerned about my beloved cat Sezr.

We took him to get his ears cleaned on a Saturday, and that night when we got him home he displayed signs of idiopathic vestibular disease:

-Horizontal nystagmus
-Staggering walk (uncoordinated left side)
-Head tilt to the left
-Slight protrusion of third eyelid on left eyeball

By the next day the nystagmus was gone and he could walk better.

After several days he is as active as his old self, but still has the head tilt, his 3rd eyelid is noticably protruding and his left eye waters a lot. His left ear seems to be bothering him too.

We took him back to the vet and she noticed his ears were gunky again, so now he has some medication for his ears.

I would have expected the eye thing to clear up but now I am starting to wonder if there is something more serious going on?

Anyone have any advice?

Dr Lee
April 3rd, 2011, 10:51 AM
I am sorry to hear what Sezr is going through. When you said his ears are gunky again - is your vet able to see the ear drums clearly? Inner ear infections and masses/polyps could also cause the signs that you are describing.

Of course, an MRI is the best way to evaluate but with that said, many times this is not done for financial reasons. With idiopathic vestibular syndrome, there are a couple things to keep in mind. First, the symptoms should not "relapse" or get worse. If clinical signs worsen or relapse, then I would look for another cause of the symptoms until proven otherwise. Secondly, while most pets that get this condition make a full recovery, many are left with a head tilt and the signs can also takes a couple weeks to resolve.

Has blood work, urinalysis and blood pressure been performed? Hypertension is common in older cats and one of the most common side effects is spontaneous cerebral hemorrhage. If there is hypertension the medication to keep blood pressure down is safe and inexpensive. Blood and urine testing is a good idea to not only make sure concurrent disease (like kidney disease) is not present but also look for causes of these clinical signs such as infection, wide electrolyte disturbances, toxicosis, etc.

I hope that this helps. :pawprint: