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Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome

November 15, 2022
Feline hyperesthesia syndrome—which is also called rolling skin syndrome and twitchy cat disease—is a rather unique issue that we occasionally see in our feline friends. The condition is characterized by hypersensitivity of the skin, usually on the back. A local vet offers some information in this article.

Signs

Fluffy can’t tell you what is going on with her, so it’s good to know what to look for. You may see twitching or rippling skin on your pet’s back. Other red flags include dilated pupils, jumping and running frantically, excessive and/or unusual meowing, drooling, scratching, tail chasing, and excessive sleepiness. Your kitty may also bite or lick herself, particularly on her flanks, lower back, rear paws, bottom, and/or tail. She may also seem to feel pain or discomfort when being petted or held. Contact your vet if you notice any of these issues in your feline buddy.

Causes

There are actually several potential causes of feline hyperesthesia syndrome. Skin problems, such as allergies, are one of the common ones. However, it can also be caused by neurological issues, such as seizures or nerve pain. It may be sometimes a psychological issue, as it has been linked to anxiety, stress, compulsive behavior, and even attention seeking. Food sensitivity is another potential culprit.

Risks

Feline hyperesthesia is most common in cats that are under seven. However, the average age at onset is just one year old. Breed may also play a role. For instance, Burmese, Persian, Abyssinian, and Siamese kitties are particularly prone to this condition.

Treatment

Feline hyperesthesia syndrome isn’t fatal, but it can impact Fluffy’s quality of life. If you know or suspect that your kitty is afflicted, contact your vet immediately. A mild case can be scheduled as an appointment. However, severe episodes would warrant immediate emergency care. The good news is that there are treatments available. Your vet will need to run some tests to determine if Fluffy does have feline hyperesthesia syndrome. It’s also important to identify or rule out other issues, as several medical conditions can cause similar problems. These include spinal arthritis, intervertebral disc extrusions, skin problems, parasites, allergies, and fungal infections. As far as treatment, medication is often successful, though some cats respond differently than others. Your vet may also recommend behavioral counseling and/or environmental changes. Do you have questions about your kitty’s health or care? Contact us today!
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