Horner’s Syndrome In Cats - Causes And Treatment

By Ameera Mills. January 7, 2019
Horner’s Syndrome In Cats - Causes And Treatment

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Horner’s syndrome in cats is a neurological disorder that consists of a set of symptoms that affect a cat’s nervous system. This disorder is cause by a dysfunction of the cat’s sympathetic nervous system. Horner’s syndrome can affect cats of all ages.

This common neurological disorder in cats can be recognized by specific symptoms. But what is Horner’s syndrome in cats? If you want to know more, keep reading this article to find out everything you need to know about Horner’s syndrome in cats. In addition, we will be discussing common causes of Horner’s syndrome, in addition to how to treat Horner’s syndrome in cats.

Horner’s syndrome in cats: What is it?

It is difficult to explain the exact mechanisms that can lead to the appearance of a Horner’s syndrome. Simply put, honer’s syndrome in cats is caused by a communication error in a cat’s nervous system. This error then manifests itself as problems in a cat’s eyes. This cat neurological disorder can be unilateral or bilateral, depending on whether it affects one or both eyes. According to an article by Monte L.Pauli and James D.Carter, Horner’s Syndrome in A Cat: A Case Report, at Iowa State University, ‘‘The characterized by enophthalmos, ptosis, miosis, and anhidrosis (due to paralysis of the sympathetic innervation of the eye).[1]’’

Horner’s syndrome in cats: symptoms

Horner’s syndrome in cats can be observed in a cat that is showing the following signs:

  • Protrusion of the nictitating membrane or third eyelid: cats will show this membrane that in this, and other conditions, extends over the eye to protect it. Eye problems in cats cause a white sheet to prolapse over majority of a cat’s eye. For more, we also recommend reading our article where we tell you everything you need to know about third eyelid showing in cats - causes and treatments.
  • Miosis: defined as the fixed appearance of the pupil, which is permanently contracted.
  • Palpebral ptosis: consisting of the slight droop of the upper eyelid on the eye.
  • Enophthalmia: the eye seems smaller in size, it is as retracted at its base.

Any of these above mentioned symptoms is enough reason for veterinary consultation.

Horner’s Syndrome In Cats - Causes And Treatment - Horner’s syndrome in cats: symptoms

Horner’s syndrome in cats: causes

It must be said that, sometimes, the cause that triggers horner’s syndrome in cats is difficult to determine. In these such cases, the origin is idiopathic.

A common cause of horner’s syndromes in cats can, however, be linked to trauma in cats. This trauma can be caused by falls from considerable heights, bites from fights or psychological trauma.

Another common cause of horner’s syndrome is otitis which can either beconsidered media or internal. For example, when a cat is suffering from a severe ear infection or inflammation, it can end up causing damage to a cat’s nervous system.

Causes of Horner’s syndrome in cats can also include:

  • Cat Poisoning
  • Cat Infections
  • Tumors in cats

For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss common ear problems in cats.

Horner’s syndrome in cats: diagnosis

Horner's syndrome symptoms are unmistakable, therefore, the cause behind the syndrome becomes the primary point of importance. A veterinarian will likely ask whether you suspect your cat has fallen or been in a fight.

A veterinarian can also distinguish horner’s syndrome causes by performing blood tests, X-rays, MRIs or CAT scans. These tests will allow a veterinarian to obtain the necessary information in order to apply the correct horner’s syndrome treatment. In addition, horner’s syndrome in cats usually requires a neurological, ocular and otic examination.

Once the cause is established, treatment can begin.

Horner’s syndrome in cats: treatment

Typical symptomatology of Horner’s syndrome can remit in a matter of weeks. A veterinarian will, however, need to guide the appropriate treatment. If your cat has suffered an accident or an attack, assessment needs to be made to know whether they are suffering from additional injuries, such as fractures. In these such cases, a cat usually requires analgesics, anti-inflammatories and even antibiotics.

If it is a case of otitis in cats, the cause needs to be known in order to treat it with adequately. Anesthesia may also be given to a cat suffering from this syndrome, allowing for the veterinarian to examine and clean the ear thoroughly. In many cases, tumors can also be treated but prognosis will vary based on the specific case. For more, take a look at our article about otitis in cats.

Horner’s Syndrome In Cats - Causes And Treatment - Horner’s syndrome in cats: treatment

Common diseases in cats

If you found this article helpful, you may like to have a look at our following YouTube video where we discuss: the 10 most common diseases in cats.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Horner’s Syndrome In Cats - Causes And Treatment, we recommend you visit our Neurological diseases category.


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