Vestibular Disease in Cats

August 28, 2011 :: Posted by - kittyluver :: Category - Diseases

Vestibular disease in cats is yet another mysterious disease like military dermatitis of cat as the actual cause is not known. The disease will get cured on its own in few weeks time in most of the cases. In few cases the cat may have live all through its life with its head tilted. As this condition is not life threatening, most of the cats will adjust itself to the permanent discomfort.

The vestibular system of the cat, keeps the head and body of the cat in proper balance. This vestibular system will alert the cat’s brain while the cat sits stands or lie down. The same vestibular system is responsible for the cat to land properly on its feet when fall from a height. You may be aware the cats will only land on its feet in whatever direction it falls from a tree or wall etc.

Vestibular system consists of nerves that originate from the brain and runs through the body of the cat and finally ends in inner ear. There are sensors located in the inner ear and these sensors will alert the brain about the cat’s movement. The malfunction of this vestibular system is referred as vestibular syndrome.

There are two types of vestibular disease, they are central and peripheral.


Vestibular disease though not life threatening causes much discomfort to the cat as well as the cat owners. The cat will fall for no apparent reason. They will start walking as if they are drunk. The head may be tilted to one side and the cat may start moving in circles. The uncontrolled eye movement of the cat will literally scare the pet owner very much. The face of the will be paralyzed partially and as the result the one side of the cats face will be drooped. Many may mistake this with stroke, but it is not so as the symptom may disappear on its own after some time.


The central form of vestibular disease produces more symptoms than the peripheral form. The cats will have head tremors and the jaws will become very weak. The cats would have lost complete control of their feet and at times will not know where they are located. The cats will walk like a drunkard as the feels can not be position in proper relation and will fall frequently. The cat’s eye will move in all directions, vertical, horizontal and can move in all directions. The cat will be completely disoriented.


Vestibular disease in cat is basically a condition where in there is complete or partial loss of balance and communication. The treatment is basically aimed at improving the balance and preventing the nausea [nausea is very commonly associated with loss of balance]. If the cats is eating and drinking normally in general no treatment is attempted and one can wait, hoping for the recovery on its own. If the cat is not eating then meclizine or diphenhydramine is administered. In case of the central form of the disease, the cat needs to undergo several tests because at times the underlying cause may be brain tumor.

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