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To investigate causes of seizure disorders in cats.


Case series.


30 cats referred to the Ontario Veterinary College for recurrent seizures.


Signalment and seizure pattern were evaluated. Diagnostic procedures included physical, neurologic, and fundic examinations; CBC; serum biochemical analyses, including determination of pre- and postprandial bile acid concentrations; urinalysis; serologic assays for FeL V and feline immunodeficiency virus, feline infectious peritonitis, and Toxoplasma gondii; magnetic resonance imaging of the brain; CSF analysis; and neuropathologic examination of euthanatlzed cats and of surgical biopsy specimens.


All cats were found to have structural brain diseases; nonsuppurative meningoencephalitis of unknown cause was found in 14 cats, feline ischemic encephalopathy in 6, meningioma in 2, polycythemia vera with secondary brain lesions in 2, posttraumatic epilepsy in 1, and cerebral abscess in 1. A definitive diagnosis could not be reached in 4 cats.

Clinical Implications

The most common cause of seizures in cats is structural brain disease. Structural brain lesions often can be detected on the basis of seizure pattern and results of neurologic examination. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis and brain imaging are essential to determine the cause of these lesions. Causes of seizures found in the cats of this study differ from those reported to be the most common. Nonsuppurative meningoencephalitis of unknown origin appears to be a frequent cause of neurologic disorders in cats, including seizure disorders. Feline ischemic encephalopathy appears to exist in a milder form than the classic disease and may be a common cause of seizures in cats. (J Am Vel Med Assoc 1997;210:65–71)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association