The weak cat. Practical approach and common neurological differentials. Academic Article uri icon


  • PRACTICAL RELEVANCE: Weakness is recognized somewhat infrequently in cats, but is an important manifestation of neurological disease. The clinician must perform a complete neurological examination to determine the neuroanatomic basis for the weakness. As for all species, the neuroanatomic diagnosis allows the clinician to generate an appropriate differential diagnosis, to design a diagnostic plan, to prognosticate, and ultimately to develop a treatment plan. CLINICAL CHALLENGES: The cause(s) of neurological weakness in the cat may be difficult to determine without access to advanced imaging modalities, cerebrospinal fluid analysis or electrodiagnostics. However, an accurate neuroanatomic diagnosis allows the clinician to pursue preliminary anomalous (vertebral anomalies), metabolic (eg, diabetes mellitus, electrolyte abnormalities) and neoplastic differentials via blood work, vertebral column and thoracic radiography, and abdominal ultrasound. Subsequently, referral to a specialty veterinary hospital may be warranted to pursue advanced neurodiagnostics. AUDIENCE: This review provides a framework for generating a neuroanatomic and differential diagnosis in the weak cat. It also discusses the pathogenesis and clinical signs associated with the most common neurological differentials for feline paresis. As such, it is aimed at both primary health care and specialty veterinarians. PATIENT GROUP: The neurological conditions discussed in this review cause weakness in cats of all age groups.

published proceedings

  • J Feline Med Surg

altmetric score

  • 2.85

author list (cited authors)

  • Nghiem, P., Platt, S., & Schatzberg, S.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Nghiem, Peter||Platt, Simon||Schatzberg, Scott

publication date

  • May 2009