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Causes of Strokes in Cats

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015


Stroke in cats occurs when the normal blood supply to the brain has been reduced. The symptoms and effects of stroke in cats primarily include: a head tilt, difficulty walking, uncontrollable circling, sudden loss of vision and bowel control, and sudden behavioral changes. While the condition of stroke in cats is not common, there are a number of conditions that can cause a stroke to occur.

Causes of Stroke

Strokes in cats can be caused by an underlying medical condition, or through an accidental injury or poisoning. Ischemic strokes occur when the blood supply to the brain has been reduced, and hemorrhagic strokes occur when a vessel within the brain breaks. The symptoms of stroke can mimic other diseases as well, and advanced diagnostic tools are needed to positively diagnose a stroke.

The most common underlying medical conditions which can lead to stroke in cats includes:

  • Brain tumors
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Thyroid disease

In some rare cases internal parasites can cause a stroke to occur, or a stroke can occur when a fragment of fat or spinal cartilage becomes dislodge and trapped in the brain. Strokes can also occur in cats whose brains did not develop normally or in cats that have inherited blood clotting disease. Accidental injuries which involve a strong blow to the head can also cause a stroke, and poisons such as rodenticides have been known to cause strokes in cats as well.

In over half of the diagnosed cases of stokes in cats, the cause of the stroke remained undiscovered. These types of cases are known as idiopathic strokes. Regardless of the cause of the stroke, early diagnosis and timely treatments are essential to a complete recovery. If you notice any signs or symptoms of stroke in your cat, take your cat to a veterinarian or emergency animal clinic immediately.

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