feline psychomotor seizures or rippling skin disorder
We have a two year old tabby – Callie – which we have adopted at the urging of our daughter – the queen of all animal lovers. Our daughter came across the kitten at the vet office where she worked. The kitten was born to a stray long hair calico mom and our daughter already had a cat and was unable to take on another.
We finally caved in and adopted Callie and with the exception of some dental issues, over the past two years Cal, has been the perfect lil addition to our empty nest. We fell and fell hard for this lil creature – and she is little. While she was gaining after we got the teeth issues under control, almost made 6 lbs, she is currently only approximately 4.8 lbs at two years of age.
Within the past five months however, Cal has started experiencing some odd and rather scary behavior. It has happened several times now where out of a dead sleep, she will lurch off of our laps or off the bed and run directly into walls, windows, furniture, or down the stairs with such force it is frightening. Her appetite during these incidents increases – which is very odd for her – yet she is unable to stand still long enough to eat without lurching directly into the food or water dish thus making a mess or getting herself all wet. In between the lurching, she is extraordinarily restless and skiddish – almost as if she is possessed. Typically, Cal is NOT vocal yet during these episodes she tries to meow – very sad. The episodes last any where from 30 min.to about 2-3 hours. One episode escalated into a grand mal seizure. The incidents have occurred anywhere from 1 time per week to 1 time every 3 weeks. The first one occurred the day after she got a rabies booster.
We did catch one on video and took it to our vet. The vet did all sorts of blood work to rule out metabolic issues, parasites, etc…Then the vet sent us to UW-Madison where Cal had a CAT scan – yes I have heard all the jokes about that. Anyway, that showed nothing also. The vets identified these episodes as seizures – psychomotor seizures to be exact. Cal was then started on Phenobarbital – a very low but therapeutic dose. This has not actually stopped the incidents nor has it decreased the frequency but it has decreased the intensity and duration of each. However, the side effects of the med seem to be increased sleeping, increased thirst, AND elimination of appetite. Now remember she is tiny to begin with. We have been playing with the dosing but only manage to increase incidence or decrease appetite. UGH! We are grateful that our vet is so patient with us. We call her constantly!
I am now periodically reduced to wrapping her in a towel, mixing her soft allergy sensitive cat food with chicken baby food #2, and spoon feeding it to her. I hate this and Cal seems to hate it just as much as my kids did 22 years ago when I needed to force feed them during times after they would not eat for a few days.
Now that the initial rush is subsiding, I have tried to speak with anyone who has cats and to read anything anywhere that might shed some light on all this and offer suggestions for dealing with all this. We have found very little information about the kinds of seizures that Cal seems to be having – nothing - except within a few articles about Rippling Skin Disorder – FHS. Is there anyone out there who may be able to offer direction on where we can get some good info on either feline psychomotor seizures or FHS. Identifying them? Treating them? Causes? Pre-seizure behaviors? Seizure triggers? Or anyone with suggestions for getting Cal to eat? We have fallen hard for this cat and do not want to loose her, nor do we want her to experience any pain and she does appear to be in pain during these episodes.