Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome

A very common, yet disturbing syndrome seen by many feline guardians is a condition known as feline hyperesthesia syndrome. This is a very poorly understood symptom complex that can be alarming to both feline and the guardian. I usually think of this syndrome as a “neurodermatitis” which is an inflammation of the nerves and skin, most commonly over the area of the mid and lower back in a cat. It will usually start as a rapid twitching of the muscles, which can seemingly travel up or down the back of the animal. Many cats will act quite startled, with some racing off restlessly after an episode.

While the symptoms may come on suddenly on their own, other times it seems like a stimulus, such as touch, petting or biting fleas may trigger the episodes. At its worst, the cat may exhibit seizure like activity, which can be quite alarming. Cats exhibiting these symptoms should have a full medical workup although most of the time no underlying disease states or causes can be found. Underlying triggers, including fleas and other contact allergies should be minimized; however, most of the time veterinarians utilize symptomatic palliative drugs, including prednisone, muscle relaxants, sedatives and even anticonvulsant medications in treating these cats.

In my experience and 23 year career, I find that most cats suffering from this disorder respond best to holistic therapies, including constitutional homeopathy.

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