10 year old cat has been have strokes
I have a 10 year old female cat (kittygirl) and in the past 2 months she has had 3 strokes! I've had her in and out of the vets office trying to figure this out. But the vet seems to be at a slight loss. The only thing hes saying is brain tumor but doesnt give me any options on what to do for it. It might be long to read but this is what has happened.
The start of February was the first stroke . Shes wobbly, cant stand up, head tilted (along with body), Meowing loudly(shes never been a vocal cat) and sometimes looks around as if shes confused.
I brought her to the vet i had been seeing at the time and the answer she game me was a stroke but the doctor said I needed to put her to sleep. Needless to say I was devastated but I still wanted another opinion. So we went to another vet and they were very understanding. He gave her a shot of corticosteroid and some vitamins and sent me home. She improved significantly, and over the next 4 weeks was back to being normal!
Then last Saturday she had another stroke. I went to the vet right away and he gave her the same shot, but prescribed me Prednisone steroid pills. So I have been following the instructions closely (half a pill every other day) On the days i don't give her the pill she is fine walking around and even playing but about 4 hours after the steroid she acts as if shes had another stroke. I know it could be a coincidence but it just seems to consistent for it to be that. The vet says its not the pill but I'm still not sure.
I took her for blood work to check for any outside factors other than the brain but the results came back normal and she tested negative for all diseases. She was even tested for diabetes which came back perfect. The only possible diagnosis my vet has said is either shes having frequent mini-strokes or she has a brain legion/tumor.To get an accurate reading I would need to bring her for an MRI or CT scan but those are insanely expensive and I have no insurance on her (shes been blessed with no health problems her entire life.)
Does anyone have advice for me? Have you been in this situation before? She eats and drinks like normal, shes doesn't have seizures, and uses the litter box regularly. I just don't know what to do for her.
Quality of life is the most important thing. Is she happy? She is eating drinking and using her litter box normally, is she doing the other things in her life she normally enjoys?
Has either vet considered that she may have Vestibular disease (inner ear infection)? The symptoms resemble stroke quite a lot. Has either vet tried a course of antibiotics? A couple weeks of Baytril maybe?
Hasn't any vet taken her blood pressure? High blood pressure can cause stroke or stroke like symptoms. There is a medication cats can take to reduce blood pressure.
Was her thyroid tested, when they did the blood work? T-4 is the test that is most detailed and accurate for hyperthyroid disease. Hyperthyroid can also cause stroke or stroke like symptoms.
Steroids are an anti-inflammatory. They are often prescribed when cancer or a tumor is suspected, because they can help reduce the inflammation, making the cat more comfortable. But they can have side affects.
I understand not being able to afford an MRI, and if you did find out she has a brain tumor, would you do anything different?
My advice is to give her the best quality of life possible, love her, love her love her, and when she tells you she's had enough, let her go.
Talk to her about her suspected illness, tell her you want only the best for her, and tell her, when she is ready, she should let you know, and you will honor her desire to be set free.
But it certainly doesn't sound like she's even close to ready for that yet.
Thank you so much for responding!
My definite main concern is about her quality of life, which is why I'm so distressed. But before that, I actually have some bad news to add to this, a couple hours after my original post she had 2 brain seizures(still had slight control of her limbs, she was trying to crawl, but lost her bowel movement, and body shakes with a head tilt. No loud cry though) right after another.
My first reaction to this was I was going to have to put her to sleep because watching her go through that was terrifying and I was sure worse for her. I rushed her to the vet preparing to say goodbye.
Once we arrived, about 30 mins after the onset of the first attack, she was back to her previous state. The vet now is suggesting that these and the previous attacks were brain seizures rather than strokes. He believes shes is either epileptic or has a tumor.
I asked if she was feeling any pain/how her quality of life is and he said, during seizures they dont feel pain and once they come out of it they dont remember the attacks. He gave her a shot of phenobarbital and B12. He then gave her a pill and is keeping her over night for observation.
Vestibular disease was the first thing I asked him about but he didn't believe it was the right diagnosis. She has also been on antibiotics with no improvement.
When we took her for blood work he checked her blood pressure which was normal along with her glucose levels which were perfect (92).
A T-4 was administered because I wondered about her thyroid as well. But all her results (feline leukemia, aids, enzymes/chemicals, heart disease, kidney disease, and thyroid) came back negative and with perfect levels.
If this epileptic medication doesnt work, I'm not sure. I would really like to get the MRI if possible and I'm looking into taking her to a university clinic(Florida) for this.
She doesnt look to be in pain and when shes not in an attack she isnt exactly normal but not extremely sick either, just very tired. She does have her high points, where she wants to play and run around. Just this morning she woke me up by jumping on me.
Ive been spending as much time as possible with her. Of course if shes in pain I would do whats best for her...
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