Could difficulties walking, vomiting and eyes shifting be a sign of feline vestibular disease?
Original Question: Hi, my 14-year-old cat suddenly started having trouble walking, his eyes are darting back and forth and he has vomited twice today. Could this be vestibular disease and if so how long can the symptoms last? I took him to the vet yesterday who did check his ears but indicated she didn’t see anything wrong. A CBC was done which showed a kidney issue and a urinalysis indicated a slight infection. He is now on an antibiotic and Semintra. Your advice is greatly appreciated! - Sue
Thanks for sending in your question.
The signs you described are very worrisome. Any difficulty with balance and walking points to a problem with the brain, spinal cord and/or nerves (nervous system). Vestibular disease is one type of nervous system disorder that could cause this. It is a problem with the inner ear apparatus that keeps an animal balanced – this can be due to problems like infection, trauma, or tumors in or around the inner ear. I cannot tell you whether this is the case with your cat, but these signs are concerning enough that I would suggest having him re-evaluated by your veterinarian. Many other illnesses that affect the nervous system can cause the signs you described. A thorough exam and additional diagnostic testing as indicated may help to determine this more clearly for you.
Wishing you all the best.
Dr. Kim Hester
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