Cat Head Trauma Symptoms

By Jane Meggitt

If your cat exhibits any symptoms of head trauma, take him to a veterinary hospital immediately. While a physical injury is obvious, it's possible your cat experienced a head trauma resulting in neurological symptoms and no apparent head injury. While outdoor cats are more vulnerable to head injuries, any cat can suffer head trauma from a fall or accident.

Physical Symptoms

If your cat suffered a head injury, the damage might be obvious, especially if he was hit by a motor vehicle. Other physical signs of head trauma in which the injury isn't necessarily evident include bleeding from the nose or ear, strange eye movements, rigid or limp limbs, pupil size difference and head tilt. If your cat's skin or mucous membranes develop a bluish tinge, that's a sign of a lack of oxygen in the blood, a condition that could result from head trauma. Difficulty breathing or rapid respiration is another possible indication of head injury.

Neurological Symptoms

Head trauma can result in neurological symptoms, including seizures, abnormal behavior, passing in and out of consciousness, unconsciousness or any oddities involving his sense of hearing, sight or smell. He might stumble or otherwise exhibit gait changes or assume odd postures. If your cat just seems somewhat "off" but you suspect he might have a head injury, take him to the vet for an examination.

Internal Symptoms

The blood pressure and heart rate of a cat suffering from a head injury will initially rise significantly. As the blood pressure continues to soar, the heart rate decreases, and the heart can't pump enough blood throughout the animal's body. If your cat develops low blood pressure after the injury, that's even worse, and indicates a poor prognosis.

Treatment and Prognosis

If you know or suspect the reason for the your cat's head trauma, tell the veterinarian. The emergency veterinarian will thoroughly examine your cat to determine whether he has any fractures or internal injuries, a process including X-rays and ultrasounds. Your cat's prognosis depends on the nature of the head injury and the vet's initial assessment. While your cat might not survive a serious brain injury, he might recover from less severe trauma. You must prepare yourself to take on long-term nursing care of your pet, along with considerable veterinary expenses. It's also possible that your recuperating cat will develop epilepsy, or seizures, within months of the incident.