Vestibular syndrome in cats

Vestibular syndrome in cats

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Vestibular syndrome in cats

Cats with the vestibular syndrome (VS) often display signs of nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. The term 'vestibular syndrome' is most commonly used to describe this condition in cats, although it is also sometimes used to describe similar clinical signs in dogs.

Symptoms and signs

The VS syndrome is characterised by a set of specific clinical signs:

Nausea and/or vomiting

Abdominal pain, often in the centre of the abdomen or near the junction of the left and right diaphragms.

Weakness of the left and right sides of the body

Abnormal walking or falling

Abnormal posture, especially in the sitting and standing positions


Numbness of the legs and tail

Difficulty in eating or swallowing

Nervousness or depression

Excessive salivation

Difficulty in keeping up with activity (for example, jumping, playing, running)

Difficulty in grooming

Excessive sweating

The syndrome is common in all species and is thought to be the result of an imbalance between the various nerves and blood vessels in the inner ear. For example, the right vestibular nerve and vessels send signals to the vestibular receptors and muscles in the head and neck that help balance. The left vestibular nerve and vessels send signals to muscles that help control breathing. The most common cause is a congenital defect in the vestibular system.


The diagnosis is clinical and requires a good history, physical examination and appropriate diagnostic tests. Diagnostic tests include:

Auditory and Vestibular Evaluations

Electrodiagnostic (Electroneurography, Vibro-acoustic Neuromyography)


Scintigraphy (I-123-labeled benzamil)

Computerised Tomography (CT) scan of the head and brain

High resolution (10–40 μm) nuclear magnetic resonance (MRI)


Hereditary vestibular disorders are the most common cause of dizziness. A history of dizziness may be present in one or both of the parent, or in both parents. A history of vertigo, spinning, or loss of balance may be present, or may precede the onset of dizziness.


As it is a relatively common condition, and a great majority of cases do not require intervention, the prognosis is generally good. However, if the balance disorder is of an intensity which is impairing to the patient, the prognosis may be less good.


Most forms of hereditary vestibular disorders are more prevalent in men.

Hereditary vestibular disorders account for approximately 10% of cases of dizziness in adults.


Category:Vestibular system

Category:Syndromes affecting hearing

Category:Hearing loss

Category:Balance disorders



Category:Disorders causing balance disturbance

Watch the video: BEGINNER Vestibular Rehab Exercises. Motion Sensitivity, Imbalance, Vertigo