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Some of you might remember my thread about Jerry's new foster kitten Stella. Found under a trailer home with a head wound when she was just 3 weeks old, Stella had a small skull fracture, with an abscess over the top of it.

She had her first set of seizures in May, during the treatment for her wounds. They were transient- they came and went and heard nothing from them since. We were wary, but assumed it was due to inflammation from her fracture. We've always known she is a little bit special, and due to her brain injury her vision isn't 100% but nothing has ever seemed to get her down.

Stella has been adopted by my sister.

On Sunday Stella had a petit mal seizure right as they settled down for bed. My sister didn't recognize it for what it was, not until about 5 hours later when she went into grand mal. I feel guilty, because my phone was off and I was asleep so my sister rushed her 45 minutes to Madison, to the emergency vet where I work. She'd come out of it by then, so they elected to watch her.

I got to work that morning at 8 AM, and Stella must have gotten overexcited and recognized me because she got very twitchy and uncoordinated for a moment, and almost looked like she was going to seizure again. Around noon that day she went into grand mal again... I saw it starting to happen and I held her as she went for 10+ minutes. It was so horrible to witness... We got her to the table, got an IVC in, treated with Valium and the seizure stopped.

After some discussion we decided to start her on phenobarbital. Stella spent all of Monday in a stupor from the drugs but by Tuesday was up and about and much brighter. She's been on a twice daily phenobarb regime since then, and finally came home to my house this afternoon for further monitoring. She'll go home on Friday once we are sure she's doing ok on her new meds.

Epilepsy in cats is very rare, and cats having seizures is usually a very bad thing, usually due to some underlying bad disease. We hardly ever see them, and the vets I work with are, for once, somewhat at a loss. They keep looking at me skeptically... in disbelief that we still want to keep her. They figured my sister would want to give her back. In Stella's case we at least have something to pin the seizures on- her old head injury.

But I am just wondering if anyone has any experience with this. I've never had an epileptic animal, and my sister certainly hasn't either. She can give meds though, and she is educating herself as she waits for Stella's return. A lot of the literature we read seems very grim, and it's scary to think about. We just want her to be ok.

If anyone has any advice or personal experience I'd love if you could share.
 

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Poor little Stella. I don't know much about seizures but I have read about a link between preservatives in food and seizures. I've seen recommendations for a raw diet for epileptic cats. Given her head injury it may not be a factor, but it may be worth looking in to.
 

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Because her seizures stem from a physical source (at least, that seems to be the logical conclusion), has anyone checked her for brain swelling or scarring of the brain tissue?

I'm not sure if cats can get CT scans/MRIs, but I think even an x-ray could help here. I'm guessing she's probably had skull x-rays already because of the nature of her injury, but I don't know if a technician was interpreting them and looking for swelling of the brain/scarring of the brain as well as bone fractures.

I don't think there's much to be done with scarring, but if her brain is swollen, there might be medications that could reduce intercranial pressure.

I don't have experience with epilepsy in cats, but had a neighbor who had a dog that developed epilepsy from a head injury. His seizures were caused by massive scarring of the brain, but unfortunately, surgery wasn't really viable.

I'm hoping the meds work for Stella!
 

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That's terrible, I hope she's able to make a full recovery.

The only thing I know about cat seizures is that, like with watching anyone seizuring, they're really scary to watch and you feel pretty helpless. I've seen a cat seizure a few times, I'm not sure the exact cause, but it surely was due to some complication brought on from her FeLV.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
She's had skull rads, the abscess was over the top of one of the breaks... she is believed to have some scarring. Luckily I do know how to deal with seizures when they are happening- it's part of my job but it's usually been dogs. They are always hard and scary to watch :-(

We're going by the vet's recommendations. I trust both of the vets I work with a lot. The meds are a suspension which she actually tolerates pretty well.

She really is a special little kitty. Very cute, very spunky. My dog Jerry absolutely loves her and is stoked that she's back for a few days. Here she is webchatting with her big brother Thackery.
 

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I know what you are going through. My little Mu started having seizures in February of this year. She was put on Phenobarbital every 12 hours. As with your little one she was a bit dopey in the beginning but got accustomed to it. We were good until May when she started having them again. We increased the pheno and she was fine again until we did a blood test and found that she was near toxic so we had to decrease the dosage to 1/2 tab in AM and 3/4 tab PM. A couple weeks ago she had 4 in three days. Her specialist decided to add another anti seizure medication Levetiracetam (Keppra®) which is given every 8 hours. You certainly have to schedule your day around medication time but for all mine has been through it is worth it. We dont know why she is having them. She was a stray when I found her so I dont know if there was any head trauma. She has problems with absorption of nutrients and vitamins too.
 

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Sorry to hear about your little Mu. I hope you continue to have luck with your medications to get those horrible seizures to stop. Stella is still doing well. One of the fosters I raised alongside her was adopted by my friend and he came by for a visit today. They remembered each other and played and played. She seems to be taking the meds well, and will have her blood levels checked in a couple of weeks. All things considered she seems to be in good spirits with a great appetite and lots of energy. She is staying with me a few more days to ensure she is alright, then will be going back home to be with my sister, her real mama.
 

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Stella was only dopey for a day, and seemed to adjust very quickly. She's an extremely high energy spunky cat though so it doesn't surprise me. I do notice that when she goes into sleep mode, she is OUT and there is no waking her until she is ready to wake up.
 

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My Boston terrier has been diagnosed with idopathic epilepsy. I found this website very useful, it pertains to dogs but you may find some helpful information on it

Canine epilepsy and diseases that cause seizures in dogs

Also, on my vets recommendation I have started using Ease Sure, a natural product from Native Remedies. He's only been on it for two weeks so not sure if it's having the desired effect yet but we are hopeful that it will work.

EaseSure? - Natural Remedy Supports Neurological Health in Dogs & Cats
 

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We lost our first cat, the gorgeous, shy Rookie, to epilepsy in 2008. She had been on phenobarbital for a while, which made her completely lethargic and sitting in a lump for hours, and the seizures continued. The vet told us that we could take her to a feline neurologist and spend about $1,000 on tests, and there was only a 50/50 chance that they'd find an underlying cause for the seizures. They called it "primary epilepsy," meaning it was seizures not caused by another disease or problem.

A couple things. First, the vet told us that the seizure itself doesn't hurt them; they're just confused by it when they come out of it. In our case, Rookie had 3 seizures in one day, and the last one was followed by her attacking me, jumping at me like a dog and literally hanging off my arm by her teeth. I would watch out for that -- in other words, be there if you can while she's having the seizure, but don't stand too close and don't approach her when she's coming out of it. She also peed all over herself every time she had a seizure, so there were issues about clean-up. I found that dry shampoo really didn't work and left an awful smell that she must have hated.

It sounds like you're doing all the right things by her. I so, so hope for a good outcome for you and your kitty. Our decision to put Rookie to sleep might have been a little on the early side compared to what other people might have done, but it was so crystal clear that she was miserable and we were so limited in what we could do to help her. It was a really disturbing thing to watch, and vets aren't especially familiar with it. It's a very hard road to go down, so I really sympathize.
 

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Mu had come to the point of being lethargic all the time because we were raising her pheno to stop the seizures. When blood was taken she was 2 points from being toxic. Once pheno was decreased she was herself again BUT seizures started again. That is when the Keppra was added along with her pheno. Since that was started she is seizure free (knock on wood) and only took her about 2 days to get over her dopey period. It does get to be a challenge at times with giving the medications at all the appropriate times but when I look at that face I know it is all worth it.
:luv
 
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