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Head Trauma in Cats

If your cat exhibits any symptoms of head trauma, take him to a veterinary hospital immediately. While a physical injury is obvious, it’s possible your cat experienced a head trauma resulting in neurological symptoms and no apparent head injury. While outdoor cats are more vulnerable to head injuries, any cat can suffer head trauma from a fall or accident.

Head Trauma

What is Head Trauma in a cat?
Head trauma can vary in severity depending on the location your cat was hit and the impact of the blow. But, every cat with head trauma needs to be closely watched by a veterinarian, so if you spot the symptoms of a head injury, get your cat medical attention as soon as possible. Head trauma can occur when a cat sustains an injury to the head, such as running into a wall, fighting with another animal, or being hit with a blunt or penetrating object. The observable symptoms of head trauma will vary between cats. In some cases, you may only notice your cat is beginning to act strange, while in other situations, your cat may completely lose consciousness and start to have seizures.

Causes of Head Trauma in Cat
Head trauma occurs after a cat is hit in the head with a blunt or penetrating object. This is common when the cat is involved in a car accident or fight with another animal. It can also occur when the cat accidentally falls from a great height or down a flight of stairs. Head trauma can also occur if the cat is intentionally or accidentally stepped on or hit in the head with an object such as a baseball bat.

Symptoms of Head Trauma in Cat
The symptoms you observe will vary depending on the location and severity of the head trauma. Sometimes, there will be physical signs of an injury, but other times, you won’t see any symptoms besides behavior that just seems unusual. Some of the most common head trauma symptoms include:

  • Bleeding from the ears or nose
  • Varying levels of consciousness
  • Tilted head
  • Seizures
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Different pupil sizes
  • Rapid or unusual eye movement
  • Stiff limbs

Internal Symptoms
The blood pressure and heart rate of a cat suffering from a head injury will initially rise significantly. As the blood pressure continues to soar, the heart rate decreases and the heart can’t pump enough blood throughout the animal’s body. If your cat develops low blood pressure after the injury, that’s even worse and indicates a poor prognosis.

Treatment and Prognosis
If you know or suspect the reason for your cat’s head trauma, tell the veterinarian. The emergency veterinarian will thoroughly examine your cat to determine whether he has any fractures or internal injuries, a process including X-rays and ultrasounds. Your cat’s prognosis depends on the nature of the head injury and the vet’s initial assessment. While your cat might not survive a serious brain injury, he might recover from less severe trauma. You must prepare yourself to take on long-term nursing care of your pet, along with considerable veterinary expenses. It’s also possible that your recuperating cat will develop epilepsy, or seizures, within months of the incident.

RELATED: Signs That Your Cat Is Sick

Signs of Stress in Cats
Cats show stress in many ways, and it often comes down to observing changes in normal behavior to determine whether yours might be stressed. The catch is that many of these signs can also indicate various medical conditions, so it can sometimes be tricky to sort things out. If you notice any change in behavior in your cat, it’s best to consult a veterinarian to rule out medical causes before settling on stress as the diagnosis.

Here are some common signs of stress in cats:

  • Hiding or extra clinginess
  • Decreased appetite
  • Over-grooming, sometimes to the point of creating bald spots, often focusing on the legs or belly
  • Inappropriate elimination
  • Inappropriate scratching
  • Diarrhea