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I have an 18yo spayed female cat, Sabrina. She has been on medication for hyperthyroidism for 3 years, and started on a prescription diet for her kidneys at the same time. She had blood work done for her kidney functioning in October, and her BUN level was somewhat high, though it's been quite good over the course of the years, considering her age and how long ago they started to show problems (I think.)

She has had two (that we know of) episodes where she had lost control of her back legs. She lives at my parents' house, since she is very intolerant of new places, and I feel is would be unfair to move her to my place (I got her when I was little.) She really likes her routine there, and my mom is home most days and can be there if anything bad happens. I get to see her several times a week, but have not seen these episodes for myself.

The first episode was around the beginning of August. My mom says Sabrina was "high stepping" with her hind legs, and stumbling. She was looking around like she was "out of it," or possibly scared/confused. After a short time, she acted normal again. We took her to the vet that day, and he could not find any problems form a brief exam, and did not do any invasive tests. His best guess, given her "wild eyes," was a seizure, and said she might have more.

Today, my mom called me to say it happened again. My sister's kids were over, and asked her why Sabrina was "walking funny." My mom said it was similar stumbling, but from the sounds of it, Sabrina was also aware of her surroundings while it was happening (doesn't sound like a seizure to me?) I asked what her eyes were doing at the time, and my mom said she couldn't see them, because when she tried to pick her up, Sabrina tried to walk away.

She is less coordinated overall than she used to be, such as when jumping up and down to/from the fish tank, or keeping her balance while walking along the back of the couch, but she is also thinner, and I figure that her slight loss of coordination is due to muscle loss and age.

She is still playful, friendly, eats well, etc. My mom said she begged for bites at dinner time just like always (maybe not the best habit, but hey, sometimes old ladies need to be spoiled!)

I've tried to find info on similar situations, but have only found overall loss of functioning, not episodic. Is it possible that she is having seizures? Might it be a nerve that sometimes gets pinched?

Thanks in advance for any ideas. I wish I could see it to know what is happening better, but hope they don't become more frequent. She could be doing this when no one is around as well, since there are no apparent symptoms before or after. It makes me worried for her safety.
 

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Seizures can take many many forms, and they are sometimes still responsive to the environment during the event. The highstepping and stumbling you are describing is Ataxia and can be caused by a number of neurological problems. The fact that it is episodic and she recovers completely each time, does lend credence to the idea of seizure. The question is why is she having seizures. Unfortunatley, cats having seizures, especially older cats having seizures, is normally not good news. Things like brain tumors are a likely cause, especially since metabolic causes have been ruled out (recent lab work looking good other than elevated BUN).

They can sometimes be controlled with medications, unfortunatly, with your cats pre-existing conditions, those meds will likely hurt more than they help.

Do you have a veterinary neurologist in your area or the means (or desire) to do advanced imaging like a CT or MRI of the brain?
 
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