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Facial Nerve Issues in Cats: Symptoms Causes and Treatments

Facial Nerve Paresis/Paralysis in Cats

As pet owners, we all love our cats and want them to be healthy and happy. However, our feline friends can suffer from various ailments that can cause discomfort and distress.

One such affliction is facial nerve paresis/paralysis, a condition that affects the facial nerve that controls the muscles of the face.

Symptoms and Types

The symptoms of facial nerve paresis/paralysis in cats can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Cats with mild facial nerve paresis may only show slight asymmetry of the face, while those with more severe paralysis may exhibit a range of symptoms such as:

– Messy eating

– Drooling

– Inability to close one eye or both eyes

– Facial asymmetry

– Difficulty swallowing or drinking

In some cases, facial nerve paralysis can cause corneal ulcers and other eye problems that can be painful and require immediate medical attention.


Facial nerve paresis/paralysis can have various causes, including idiopathic (unknown) conditions, inflammation of the nerve, trauma, cancer, or metabolic disorders. In some cases, the underlying cause may not be immediately apparent and will require further testing to determine which factors are at play.


If you suspect that your cat may be suffering from facial nerve paresis/paralysis, the first step is to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian. The vet will perform a physical examination of your cat, focusing on neurological signs and symptoms.

They may also order blood tests, imaging, or tear production tests to determine the underlying cause of the condition.


The treatment for facial nerve paresis/paralysis can range from outpatient management to hospitalization, depending on the severity of the condition. In less severe cases, a high-fiber diet and regular reevaluation may be sufficient to manage the symptoms.

However, severe cases may require hospitalization and more advanced treatments.

Living and Management

Once your cat receives treatment for facial nerve paresis/paralysis, it is important to monitor the condition and stay vigilant for any signs of symptom recurrence. Regular reflex assessments and tear production tests are essential to ensure your cat’s overall health and normal function return.

If corneal ulcers are present, it is important to treat them promptly to prevent further damage to the eye.

Impairment of the Facial Nerve

Another facial nerve-related condition that cats can suffer from is facial nerve impairment. This condition affects the ophthalmic system and can cause a range of symptoms, including ear, eyelid, lip, and nostril weakness, as well as tear gland interference and dry eye syndrome.


The causes of facial nerve impairment in cats can vary depending on the individual cat’s breed, gender, and overall health. Long-haired domestic cat breeds, for example, may be more prone to this condition due to the extra fur around the face.

Gender may also play a role, as female cats are more likely to suffer from facial nerve impairment than males.


Diagnosing facial nerve impairment in cats involves assessing the function of the electrical impulses in the facial nerve. Your veterinarian may also evaluate the condition of the tear glands to ensure they are functioning correctly.


Treatment for facial nerve impairment in cats is similar to that of facial nerve paresis/paralysis and can involve outpatient management, cornea lubrication, regular checkups, and surgery for middle ear disorders.

Living and Management

If your cat suffers from facial nerve impairment, it is important to monitor for nerve deficits and take extra precautions to prevent corneal ulcers. Extra care may be necessary for Persian breed cats who are especially prone to this condition.


As a pet owner, it is essential to keep an eye out for any unusual symptoms or behavior in your cats and seek prompt medical attention if you suspect an issue. By staying informed about facial nerve paresis/paralysis and impairment, you can take the necessary steps to identify and manage these conditions in a timely and effective manner.

With proper care and treatment, your cat can regain its normal function and remain healthy and happy. Facial nerve paresis/paralysis and impairment in cats are serious conditions that affect the nerves controlling facial muscles, leading to a range of symptoms, including drooling, asymmetry, and eye problems.

These conditions can be caused by multiple factors such as trauma, cancer, and metabolic disorders, and require medical attention.

Diagnosis of these conditions involves a physical examination, blood tests, imaging, and tear production tests.

Treatments may range from outpatient management to hospitalization, depending on the severity of the condition. Regular monitoring is necessary once the condition has been treated to ensure complete and fast recovery.

Therefore, it is essential to stay informed, vigilant and seek prompt medical attention if you suspect a facial nerve-related issue in your cat to ensure they remain healthy and happy.

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