Showing posts with label Feline Cerebrovascular Disease. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Feline Cerebrovascular Disease. Show all posts

Thursday 28 August 2008

Feline Stroke

cat lying down
Healthy Gaia by fofurasfelinas (see below)


The technical term for feline stroke is Feline Cerebrovascular Disease. Let's break that term down. "feline" as we know means that the animal is part of the felidae family of animals, which includes all cats both wild, domestic large and small. "Vascular" means related to blood vessels and "cerebro" means brain in Spanish and Portuguese as a matter of passing interest. The Latin for brain is "cerebrum". The word "disease" is often interpreted in different ways and infers illness. Technically the word describes a pathological condition which in turn means an abnormal structure of an organ or part of an organ of the body as a result of various causes.

So feline stroke is abnormal blood vessels in the brain, which as a result bleed because they rupture (break open). There is another cause as well (see below). Veterinarians call strokes "a cerebrovascular accident". It seems that the concept of cats (and dogs) having strokes is only recently being taken more seriously or at least there is a greater awareness of the possibility.

Types of Feline Stroke

There are, though, two types, both reduce the supply of blood to the brain.

1. One of which is caused by a broken blood vessel(s) and this is called a "haemorrhagic stroke".

2. When there is a reduced blood supply to the brain under other circumstances the stroke is called a "ischaemic stroke". In medicine the term " ischemia" means a restriction in blood supply so "ischaemic" means relating to a restriction in blood supply.

In the former haemorrhagic stroke, the leakage of blood from the ruptured blood vessel can be (a) inside the brain or (b) on the surface in between the brain and the inside of the skull. When the leakage is inside the brain it is called "intraparenchymal haemorrhage". The term "intraparenchymal" means situated within the functional parts of an organ of the body, in this case the brain. Organs are made up of functional and structural parts. The term "haemorrhage means bleeding.

The second type of bleeding ( (b) above) is called a "subdural or subarachnoid haemorrhage". The term "subarachnoid" means under ("sub") the "arachnoid", which is the middle of three membranes covering central nervous system. This membrane is relation to the brain is between the outside of the brain and the inside of the skull. This area is filled with fluid so the space is a potential space.

Symptoms of Feline Stroke

The lack of supply of blood to a particular site of the brain can cause that area of the brain to be destroyed. The symptoms of feline stroke are somewhat different to those of human stroke. In humans we commonly see one side of the face and body paralyzed. Minor strokes can cause other symptoms in humans such as memory loss and slurred speech.

For cats (and dogs) the symptoms are sudden loss of coordination, circling, falling, loss of balance, blindness, spasms of the face and limbs, paralysis. However, as for humans one side of the body is usually affected. Other brain diseases exhibit these signs too.


At present the causes of feline stroke are not that well researched it seems but there may have been, prior to the stroke, an infection (Upper Respiratory Infection or URI) that caused a fever.

Causes of a restricted blood supply - ischaemic strokes (i.e. no ruptured blood vessels) could be:

--kidney disease
--thyroid disease
--heart disease
--high blood pressure
--Cushings disease
--clogging of a blood vessel by fat, tumor fragment, parasites or spinal cartilage

Causes of haemorrhagic strokes could be:

--abnormal development of the blood vessels
--trauma (injury)
--bleeding brain tumor
--diseases that affect blood clotting such as rodent poisons, diseases causing high blood pressure, inflammation of the arteries.

Feline Stroke - Prognosis

In short, the damaged parts of the brain cannot be repaired. The welfare of the cat depends on the extent of the brain damage. The underlying cause needs to be isolated to reduce the possibility of further strokes. Care and help should lead to a decent life provided the damage is not to a part of the brain that results in severe disability.

From Feline Stroke to cat health problems

Feline Stroke - Sources:
  1. Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook by Drs Carlson and Giffin (recommended - quite technical)
  2. (for definition of pathological condition)
  3. (very useful)
  4. (definitions)
  5. (definitions)
Photo heading post:

This cat has not had a stroke she is just dressing up the post. Great picture by fofurasfelinas (a quality cat photographer well known amongst Flickr members). It is published under a creative commons license (thanks). The license is: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License.

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