Feline hyperesthesia or twitching in cats syndrome (FHS), further known as “psychomotor epilepsy,” and “twitch-skin syndrome” is a complex cat disorder ending in intense biting or licking of the back, tail, ears and pelvic limbs. The neuromuscular and nervous systems, along with the skin, are all affected. Symptoms may happen any age and can develop in any breed of cat. Purebreds – particularly Siamese, Burmese, Abyssinians, and Himalayans – seem to be predisposed to produce the syndrome.
Symptoms and Types
Symptoms of FHS (twitching) typically appear in episodes, which can last from seconds to some several minutes. A cat will behave ordinarily between episodes, and then display the signs associated with FHS. These symptoms include twitching skin, the violent swishing of the tail, and repeated licking or biting of the back, pelvic limbs, tail. Affected cats frequently have appeared agitated, dilated pupils, and express erratic behavior.
A physical exam normally reveals no neurological problems or significant abnormalities, other than the damaged hair and hair follicles that have dropped out, as a result, the cat’s own violent and continuous licking. It has been often reported that stimulation of the muscles in the back itches some cats and may extort an episode.
Causes of twitching in cats -hyperesthesia
This is a rare syndrome, and the specific cause is not known. It may develop due to an underlying cat behavioral problem, a breakdown disorder, or other neurotic problem. Nervous or hyperactive cats are considered to be at higher risk. Environmental pressure may also start triggering the syndrome. Other Known common causes are;
- Hyperesthesia syndrome
- Poisoning (especially from pyrethrin/pyrethrum, used in dog flea treatments)
- Certain medications
- Skin parasites
- Hypocalcemia (low blood calcium)
- Vitamin B1 deficiency
- Magnesium deficiency
It is considered there may be various factors contributing to the known symptoms associated with FHS.
A little about Feline hyperesthesia (rolling skin disease)
Feline hyperesthesia is a slightly mysterious condition marked by bizarre behavior which may involve: rippling skin along the back, abrupt bouts of frantic biting and licking at the tail, eyes wide open, pelvis or flank, dilated pupils and aggression. During an attack, the cat will behave as if he is reacting to hallucinatory stimuli. The disease appears to begin in early adulthood, and there is a greater incidence in Siamese, which implies a possible genetic component, although it can also develop in any cat.
As there is no identified distinct physical cause for the sickness, diagnosis is difficult and is essentially based on the cat’s individual history and exclusion of other conditions that cause similar symptoms. There is no particular proven test to provide a definitive diagnosis.
Other diagnoses that can eliminate feline hyperesthesia syndrome include skin conditions and diseases in the forebrain which result in behavioral changes or seizures. Imaging methods, such as MRI, can pinpoint such neurological problems.
- Tail chasing
- A swishing of the tail
- Sensation to touch, particularly along the spine, which may induce aggression.
- Critical cases of FHS may include self-mutilating by nipping, licking and pulling out the hair on the back and tail.
Treatment of twitching in cats-hyperesthesia
There is no particular medical treatment or cure available for FHS. However, several pet meds have been administered to suppress the episodes, and behavior adjustment has proved to be useful at least in reducing problems in some cats.
Emergency care in case:
Slow intravenous administration of calcium gluconate.
- Vitamin D supplements to aid with the absorption of calcium.
- Once the cat has stabilized, the oral administration of calcium gluconate is recommended.
- Echocardiogram (ECG) to check for any cardiac abnormalities.
Treatment best practices
- Reduce much stress in the household, for instance addressing in-fighting between household cats.
- Provide your cat with an enriching environment, for instance, plenty of play to burn off energy.
- Give the own cat bed, water bowls, and food scratching post so that he is not forced have to share with other pets.
- Stock your cat with a routine such as giving food at the same time every day. Likewise, cats prefer several small quantity meals as opposed to one or two large meals.
- Avoid exercises such as grooming or petting if the cat becomes aggressive.
- Drug therapy
- Anticonvulsant medications such as phenobarbital.
- Anxi-anxiety drugs.
- Corticosteroids such as prednisolone.
- NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
Living and Management
Environmental factors or events at home that appear to bring on episodes should be totally eliminated. If self-mutilation as a result of excessive licking is more severe, an Elizabethan collar or a tail bandage may be essential for your cat.
As there is no known scientific cause for the disorder, prevention involves the removal of any stressful elements in the affected cat’s environment.