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Understanding Feline Vestibular Disease: Causes Symptoms and Treatment

Feline Vestibular Disease: Understanding This Condition and Its

Treatment Options

Watching your cat struggle with coordination and balance can be distressing, but it could be a sign of a condition known as feline vestibular disease. It’s a condition that can affect cats of any age and breed, and while it can sometimes be caused by something benign, it can also be a sign of something more serious.

In this article, we’ll cover the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of feline vestibular disease to help you better understand this condition.

Symptoms and Causes of Feline Vestibular Disease

The vestibular system is responsible for regulating your cat’s balance and coordinating their movements. When something goes wrong with the system, it can lead to Feline Vestibular Disease.

The symptoms can look alarming, especially if it comes on suddenly. These can include:

– Loss of coordination that may lead to falling over

– Head tilting or shaking

– Nystagmus, which is an abnormal eye movement

– Vomiting or nausea

– Strange walking or circling behavior

– Disorientation or confusion

Feline vestibular disease can be due to various causes, some of which are benign, while others can be more severe.

The more common causes of feline vestibular disease can include viral and bacterial infections, ear infections, trauma to the ear, ingestion of toxic substances, cancer of the ear or brainstem, and immune-mediated causes. Additionally, some breeds of cats, such as Siamese and Burmese cats, can be predisposed to this condition genetically.

Contagion and Duration

Feline vestibular disease is not contagious and is considered a short-term condition by most veterinarians. However, the severity and cause of the condition can impact the duration of the illness.

It’s important to note that the symptoms of feline vestibular disease can sometimes be mistaken for a stroke, so it’s essential to seek veterinary care immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Feline Vestibular Disease

If you suspect that your cat is showing symptoms of feline vestibular disease, the first course of action would be to take him or her to the vet. The veterinarians will start by performing a physical and neurological examination to identify possible causes.

This examination could include blood tests, an otoscope exam, and imaging scans of the ear or the brain.

Veterinary Attention and Diagnosis

The aim of the physical examination is to identify the underlying causes of your cat’s illness, such as ear infections, brain tumors or infections, or toxic substances. If the vet finds any visible indication of ear infection, they may take a swab to determine the specific type of infection.

Tests such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or Computer Tomography (CT) scans may also be necessary if the vet considers other underlying causes of feline vestibular disease. While these exams can be on the higher side, MRI or CT exams can help identify and treat underlying causes correctly.

Treatment Options

Treatment for feline vestibular disease will depend on the underlying cause of the condition. If the cause is an ear infection, a course of antibiotics or antifungal medication will need to be prescribed.

In some cases, where the infection is severe, surgical intervention may be recommended. If the cause is neurologic, such as a brain tumor or inflammatory disease, surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy may be necessary in some cases.

However, this type of treatment can be very costly.

Supportive Care and Home Remedies

Besides treating any underlying medical conditions, supportive care aimed at easing your cat’s symptoms and keeping them comfortable is crucial. Examples of supportive care can include anti-nausea medication, fluids administration, and thiamine supplements to aid nerve function recovery.

A supportive home environment can also be beneficial for your furry friend. Consider providing soft and comfortable bedding in a confined area for your cat to rest, and away from any stairs or places where they may hurt themselves.

Ensure constant supervision and control their movement and environments. Maintaining a healthy diet is also significant, considering that pets with feline vestibular disease are often unable to eat due to nausea.

Providing nutritious food in small portions throughout the day can help keep their appetite.


Feline vestibular disease can be a challenging condition to experience and manage. However, with proper veterinary care and supportive care, most cats can recover from this condition.

Always be vigilant and seek prompt veterinary attention once you notice any of the described symptoms to increase the chances of a full recovery. As always, it’s best to take your cat to a reputable veterinarian for a definite diagnosis, necessary tests, and therapeutic intervention for Feline Vestibular Disease.

Feline vestibular disease affects a cat’s balance and coordination, and can be caused by several factors such as ear infections, brain tumors, and genetic predispositions. It can be a distressing and alarming condition, but with prompt veterinary attention and supportive care, most cats can recover fully.

Treatment options can vary depending on the underlying cause, and supportive care is crucial in keeping your cat comfortable during their recovery. If you notice any signs of feline vestibular disease, seek immediate veterinary attention, and remember to give your pet adequate aftercare to speed up their recovery.

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