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the frequency and severity of the seizures.
The most commonly prescribed anticonvulsant is phenobarbital.
The cerebellum is responsible for coordination
and fine motor skills in the cat. Cerebellar
hypoplasia is a condition in which a kitten is
born with an underdeveloped cerebellum at
birth. The most common reason for this is an
infection with the feline panleukopenia virus
while the mother is pregnant. Affected kittens
will have mobility issues as a result.
The severity of the condition varies
from cat to cat, even among littermates.
Some cats are mildly affected, while others
really have difficulty getting from point
A to point B. These cats may also have
head tremors, sometimes called “intention
tremors,” because they’re more pronounced
when the cat is deliberately intending to do
something with his head, like eat or drink.
Although cats with cerebellar hypoplasia may look like they’re struggling,
these cats have no idea that they’re any
different from other cats. Because they
were born this way, they think they’re normal. The condition is not painful, and it is
not progressive — it won’t get worse over
time. There is no treatment for cerebellar
hypoplasia, and there really is no need for
one. What these cats lack in mobility, they
make up in personality.
Sadly, just like any other organ, the brain
is also susceptible to cancer. Brain tumors
may be classified as primary or secondary.
Primary brain tumors are those that arise
from cells found within the brain or the
membranes surrounding the brain.
Secondary brain tumors are those that
have metastasized (spread) to the brain
as a result of a primary tumor elsewhere
in the body. The clinical signs of a brain
tumor can vary and include abnormal
mental status or behavior such as stupor,
head-pressing (the cat relentlessly presses
its head against a wall or other surface),
walking in circles or seizuring.
The three main treatment options for
brain tumors are surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Surgical removal of the tumor
is rarely attempted, although meningiomas
(tumors arising from the membranes that
cover the brain) are sometimes surgically
amenable. The goal of chemotherapy and/
or radiation is to reduce the size of the
tumor and control the symptoms. The prognosis for cats with brain tumors is poor.
So there you have all the brain basics. I’ve
been a veterinarian for more than 28 years
and, despite examining and treating thousands of cats, I’ve come to accept one thing
for certain: I will never truly understand the
feline brain. (I do enjoy trying, though.)
MIND & BODY
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