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Thread: Help! Rusty is twitching...

  1. #1

    Help! Rusty is twitching...

    I have a 9 year old male cat. He is having these muscle twitches in his face and in his front legs. They usually occur when he is purring or relaxing although they have occurred when he is just sitting or walking although not often. Sometimes I've noticed that he appears to, "zone out," at least as much as a cat can right before, but again it's fairly subtle. He may just be staring at something. When these twitches and spasms occur his eye sometimes twitches and gets smaller than the other and I've noticed that sometimes it gets smaller than the other even when he's not twitching, although I've heard that can be normal. I haven't really noticed the pupil just the eye and I've really only noticed it when he is squinting. They've been happening for the last 6 months or so, but I have been noticing an increase lately. The twitches last a couple of seconds and then go away. They might come back after a minute or so and they might not. As I stated previously, his front leg seems to be twitching and having spasms as well. His gait is fine and he doesn't seem to have any balance or coordination issues. I can pet him and he doesn't shy away from that either. However, when I say his name or make a noise most of the time he'll snap out of it. The only thing I've noticed is that there is an increase in licking of his fur and that the twitching is now in his hind legs and in his back. It almost looks like a Parkinson's patient. I've noticed some subtle signs of pain as well. Yesterday, he was very jittery and couldn't sit still. I noticed some periods were his respiration's were shallow and rapid (in the upper 50's) at rest over the past few days. Today he was lethargic and protecting his front legs. He was also lying in positions that I haven't seen him lie in before. He's been very clingy over the last couple of days as well. which is also unlike him. Overall, he was just behaving differently than normal over the last few days. I'm not sure if it's pain or me just being overly critical. These symptoms never seemed to bother him before. In addition to these symptoms, he's been vomiting the last week or so every other day. This is not typical for him, although he is a fast eater at times. Up until yesterday, he appeared to be eating well, although now he is not eating as much or drinking although he is still urinating and having regular bowel movements. I took him to the vet and they ruled out kidney disease, metabolic issues, liver issues, thyroid issues, and diabetes. His exam was otherwise normal. His heart was okay and he let the vet touch him and nothing was tender. After the exam the vet basically said he's just not sure what it could be. He said it may be neurological and that they could be focal seizures. I looked up focal seizures online and it didn't really look like what Rusty is doing. I don't have a whole lot of money to take him to a neurologist although I would if I did. He also said it could be related to periodontal disease? He said Rusty's teeth are really bad and he has pretty bad plaque and gingivitis. Could that be causing some of the symptoms? He also mentioned allergies. We recently moved to an apartment and the people downstairs smoke. I leave the windows open and unfortunately I've noticed the smoke comes into the apartment sometimes. I am at a loss. He is really important to me, though and I am very worried about him! I know no one here is a vet or anything, but just wondering if anybody's had any similar experiences and could shed some light onto this issue. This is my first cat and he is definitely my fur-baby!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Waltham, MA, USA
    It does sound like seizures of some sort, and sadly that can be very hard to track down a cause for. I have not heard of allergies causing seizures, particularly environmental ones - the smoke is likely an irritant, though, so keeping that out of the place for your own sake as well as theirs is best.

    He is likely as confused by the seizures as you, so the extra clinginess is to be expected. Have you changed food or anything in his diet? Hopefully others will weigh in.

    Did your vet discuss any anti-seizure meds for the time being?
    I've Been Frosted

  3. #3

    Sounds like our Lady

    You may want to read up on FHS (feline hyperesthesia syndrome). Lady is doing very well on Gabapentin.

    She didn't exhibit all the symptoms listed, and does not have any dental issues, but she certainly had the seizures.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    I was actually thinking it may be some sort of reaction to grain. I heard that sometimes food allergies can cause twitching due to the pruritis and he does groom himself Good news though, today and yesterday he doesn't seem to want to be near me at all and the clinginess all but stopped. Bad news is he's jealous and is not a fan of Chloe at all! However, I got a new fur baby yesterday and he is definitely going through an adjustment period now. I just couldn't pass her up though she is pretty adorable.

    I did some research last night and I now I am wondering if it truly is a seizure if the cat responds when you call it's name. Rusty can twitch and I can call his name and he will usually respond and the twitching will slow down and stop. I thought that when seizing the person or animal is unaware of their surroundings? I am a nursing student and at least in humans, people who have petit mal seizures aren't aware of their surroundings at least to my knowledge. In addition, he doesn't drool or shake or have any other seizure symptoms. Sometimes he will do the eye thing, but I was talking to my ex-roommate last night and she stated that she noticed the eye thing when we first got him and the person we got him from said that sometimes one eye became a little smaller than the other and the vet said it was normal. The only difference is that now it twitches when he has his facial twitches. The vet said it might be his teeth, which I've never heard, of so the next step is to pay what I think is an exorbitant amount of money (at least for a nursing student on a limited income) to get his teeth cleaned.

    I found these videos on YouTube and they are a pretty good representation of what Rusty is doing. The only difference is sometimes his eye does this weird thing where one twitches and gets smaller than the other, but again I am pretty sure his eye has always been a bit smaller at times and it's been going on since I got him almost 3 years ago.

  5. #5
    So just as I finished posting my reply Rusty did something weird. He was walking around the living room and his back kind of rippled, almost as if he was putting his scent on something but a little bit different. They he went under the coffee table and a minute later did this weird twitching thing and it looked like he lost his balance and he just started licking himself. He did this for about three to four minutes continuously and then went by the TV to continue. When he was done, it was like nothing had happened and he went laid down to sleep.

    Does this sound like FHS or a seizure? Maybe a reaction to stress. The vet is absolutely no help right now. I called and he said to, "wait and see what happens." He's also said he's, "not sure what really happened." He recommended I see a neurologist since his blood work came back okay.

    Super frustrated and absolutely devastated right now. I was hoping desperately that it was a simply allergic reaction, but now I'm not sure. I called the neurologist, the only one in the area is about 2 hours away, and it's $118 just for a consultation and MRI's cost anywhere from $1200-$1400.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Waltham, MA, USA
    That behavior does sound like a seizure. Where are you located? Is there any veterinary school near you that may be able to help at a lesser cost? Is there another vet near you you could ask for a second opinion, since your is not being helpful?

    The grooming himself is common behavior after a seizure, cats find it comforting.
    I've Been Frosted


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