Sound-Related Seizures in Cats

FARS is a seizure syndrome in cats triggered by certain sounds.

Seizures are a scary event for any cat-owner to witness. They can range from a rhythmic twitching of one area of the body to a grand mal seizure involving falling over, paddling, and loss of control of urination. Seizures in cats can be caused by several conditions including:

Many of these conditions show up in young cats while some are secondary to other medical conditions. Recently, scientists in Britain have identified a previously-unknown seizure trigger that usually appears when cats are older.

Feline Audiogenic Reflex Seizures (FARS)

Researchers studied owner reports and veterinary records of 96 cats with reflex seizures, a type of disorder where a cat's seizure activity is always or mostly preceded by an identifiable event. Seizures may be any of the following:

The researchers concluded their study by identifying and defining a new seizure disorder in cats, which they have named feline audiogenic reflex seizures, or FARS. FARS is characterized by the following:

Sounds That Commonly Trigger FARS

The researchers found that the following sounds were most commonly identified as triggers for seizure activity in cats with FARS:

Treatment of FARS in Cats

The researchers determined that the anti-seizure medication levetiracetam, or Keppra, provides good control of the seizures produced by FARS. However, veterinarians don't always elect to start cats on medication for seizures. If a cat doesn't have seizures very often and they are not severe, side effects of the medication may be riskier than the seizures themselves.

Never give your cat any medications without first speaking with your veterinarian. Many medications are toxic to cats and can result in severe injury or death.

During the study, FARS was not determined to decrease the quality of life for most cats that suffered from it.

If your cat has seizures, consult with your veterinarian. If you feel that the seizures are preceded by specific noises, make sure you mention it to the doctor.

Works Cited


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