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Mini stroke?

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    Mini stroke?

    My elderly cat had a sudden short lived episode. He started staggering through the house, had fecal incontinence, and looked like he was going to drop dead. He laid down and breathed hard for a minute, then recovered. It was terrifying to watch but relatively short lived. Over in a minute, i think.

    I'm trying to get a hold of the vet. His current vet is on vacation. The other vets aren't comfortable doing an ultrasound but we could pull a blood pressure or take x rays to check for an enlarged heart. He does have a rapid hr we are already aware of.

    I'm just not sure what that was. I don't think there's any specific treatment for a mini stroke. He's back to wandering around the house and acting normal. He already has hyperthyroidism, a terrible coat, kidney disease, and elevated liver enzymes... The one vet suggested I get a blood pressure on him and we could put him on blood pressure medication.

    Does this seem like a mini stroke?


    My dog has done this 2 times the last 7 years . She had a bout of seizures as a 3 year old for unknown reasons that lasted 24 hours. We never saw her having a seizure on the last 2 occasions but her face and eye on one side were suddenly droopy and she was having issues with getting off the porch. In both cases she was completely fine the next morning. So it happens.


      Something like that happened to my dog when she was anemic and exerted herself. It happened twice - once when she chased a squirrel and once when she had to bark at the Jehovah's Witnesses at the door. In both cases, she staggered, collapsed, panted, then recovered quickly.


        Hi! It sounds terrible watching your cat like that for a whole minute. It looks like an epileptic seizure. Was he conscious while having a "stroke"? The fact that he was okay minutes following a seizure means it is not likely it was a mini-stroke. A stroke usually left animal feeling dizzy and going in circles. I am wondering what the vet said.


          Originally posted by SonicWithNoRings View Post
          Hi! It sounds terrible watching your cat like that for a whole minute. It looks like an epileptic seizure. Was he conscious while having a "stroke"? The fact that he was okay minutes following a seizure means it is not likely it was a mini-stroke. A stroke usually left animal feeling dizzy and going in circles. I am wondering what the vet said.
          That's what I was thinking as well. I have a dog with ideopathic seizures and that's how his present. My late corgi had a stroke at age 16 that was diagnosed after she started wandering in small circles and then would stand with her head pressed into a wall or corner. She didn't improve in 24 hours and had to be euthanized at that point.

          Either alternative is terrifying, but I hope your kitty had a seizure because that's definitely the lesser of the two evils. JIngles for both of you!
          "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." —Bradley Trevor Greive


            Original Poster

            The vet that looked at him told me he has an arrhythmia and is in heart failure, but I'm not certain he has that or not. The vet tech did his blood pressure (which can be very difficult to get in cats) and said his blood pressure was way too low.

            Anyhow, he is back home and doing okay. I read that heart failure causes rapid respiration. His respiration rate was 17 breaths per minute while sleeping on my bed which is within normal limits. His heart rate is rapid but he is an old cat. So while he may have heart disease, I'm not certain he is ready to leave us just yet.

            He actually had seizures as a kitten, but i do think his "medical event" was probably related to his heart arrhythmia. I'm debating on taking him back for a second opinion from a different vet or continuing to leave him home, enjoying his time with us here. I do worry about the stress of taking him in. I'm trying to be diligent with his thyroid medication as well, as hyperthyroidism can cause heart disease. Unfortunately I'm not the best at remembering his twice a day pills.

            The important thing is that he is comfortable. I also found a tiny lump under one armpit- it may just be a skin lesion and I'm worried about nothing, but the location is troubling. I probably won't investigate that further, as i think chemo and surgery are out of the question given his age.

            So far he seems comfortable and pretty happy to be loved on. Still sleeping on the bed and climbing on my lap for attention. He follows the dog around the house. I got some pictures of them today sleeping next to each other.


              Before I read this whole thread my first thoughts were either seizure or cardiac. Now I would agree with the cardiac diagnosis. He may have had a mini heart attack. You have to be the judge here of how much stress is too much stress and given his age what he is willing to let you do and what you are willing to do to him. Keep him happy for as long as you can and be prepared for the worst. I just lost a cat to a combination of cardiac event and two strokes. One stroke left her with no feeling in her tail and the other took her out completely. it was not a nice way to go. Give your kitteh a hug (gently) and a treat from me.
              "Cats aren't clean; they're covered with cat spit."
              - John S Nichols (1745-1846,writer/printer)

              Don't come for me - I didn't send for you.