Stroke In Cats – Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

Stroke In Cats – Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

Cats are not exempt from suffering from ischemic problems or from a lack of blood supply to the brain, which is known as a stroke or stroke and which can be secondary to an interruption in blood supply or due to a cerebral hemorrhage. The causes are varied, from accidents or trauma to chronic or serious diseases.


Stroke symptoms in cats range from mild with disorientation and confusion to signs such as blindness, head tilt, tremors, ataxia, and proprioceptive deficits. In the most serious cases, the stroke leads to the death of the cat. In the prevention of this disease, routine check-ups at the veterinarian are essential to detect the first signs of the disease-causing it and keep the cat active and well cared for. Continue reading this Best pets lover article on stroke in cats, symptoms, causes, and treatment to get in-depth information and know when to go to the vet.


What is a stroke?

A stroke also called a stroke or cerebral vascular accident is caused by a lack or inadequate blood circulation in the brain due to an interruption of cerebral blood flow or secondary to internal bleeding in the brain. As a consequence of this brain damage or alteration, brain functions related to proprioception, balance, consciousness, and the senses are affected. The first clinical signs of stroke in cats can confuse us with another feline neurological problem as they are derived from the vestibular apparatus or seizures.


Types of stroke in cats

Cats can develop three types of stroke, being the following:


  • An embolic stroke occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) occurs in a location other than the cerebral bloodstream, but generally in a nearby location (large vessels of the heart or neck) that affects the cerebral circulation.
  • Thrombotic stroke appears when a thrombus or clot develops in the cerebral bloodstream, interrupting the correct blood circulation of the brain.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies the brain leaks or breaks, causing blood to flow out and interrupting the correct cerebral irrigation.

Causes of stroke in cats

Whether it is a stroke secondary to an interruption of irrigation due to a clot or derived from a hemorrhagic cerebrovascular accident, the causes can be very varied, related to intoxications, or, for the most part, the stroke can be secondary to systemic or organic diseases in cats.

The main causes of stroke or stroke in cats are the following:


  • Hypertension.
  • Increased blood coagulability (polycythemia, multiple myeloma).
  • Kidney problems.
  • diabetes mellitus.
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • Liver disease.
  • intoxication.
  • Heart disease (bacterial endocarditis).
  • Intravascular tumors (lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma).
  • Clot development after surgery.

Symptoms of stroke in cats

The signs of stroke in cats can be confused with those caused by other neurological diseases. It consists of a focal, acute, and non-progressive neurological deficit that usually appears in cats from 8 years of age.


The symptoms are always acute or peracute and generally present with non-convulsive asymmetric brain dysfunction. When circulation to the forebrain is impaired, symptoms can range from mild disorientation to death. In addition, a tournament or tilt of the head to the side of the lesion occurs and central blindness may occur, as well as ataxia, increased meowing, and proprioceptive deficits. Other associated signs may be anorexia, weakness, tremors, and vomiting.


Diagnosis of stroke in cats

The definitive diagnosis of stroke in cats is achieved with magnetic resonance imaging, which is an advanced diagnostic imaging test, but that does not mean that simpler previous tests such as blood tests and a urine test are not necessary to detect any underlying disease that caused the stroke.


Fundus examination may show hemorrhage when coagulopathy or high blood pressure is present, and a history and physical and neurological examination of the cat should always be performed to determine the possible cause of the problem and its location.


Treatment for stroke in cats

The treatment of stroke in cats is not specific, but supportive or medical, intending to stabilize the cat and prevent it from losing its life.


The first thing is to administer oxygen and take a line for the administration of fluid therapy. The fluid used in acute cases is mannitol to combat the increase in brain size and the edema caused by this cerebral infarction. The dose used is usually 0.25-1g/kg intravenously over 10-20 minutes, repeated a maximum of 3 times a day (every 8 hours). This liquid ought to be joined with hypertonic saline if cranial hypertension is suspected.


Subsequently, the disease that could have caused it must be treated to recover the cat’s health and prevent recurrences.


Recovery and sequelae of a stroke in cats

Many cats with stroke end up recovering without sequelae. It is important to monitor that cats eat, sleep and behave normally to detect any type of behavioral or neurological sequel such as depression, irritability, poor coordination, and gaps.


In the minority of cases, cats develop irreversible brain damage with persistent signs that condition their quality and life expectancy. Also, if the stroke recurs, the prognosis is much worse and it can be fatal. The latter is more likely to happen with chronic diseases, hence the importance of early detection and control of these diseases through routine check-ups at the veterinary center.

Discover the most common diseases in cats in this other article and learn to identify their symptoms.


This article is merely informative, at we do not have the authority to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We welcome you to take your pet to the veterinarian if it presents any sort of condition or inconvenience.