Cats also suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological diseases that affect the brain

In Spain, according to ANFAAC (National Association of Pet Food Manufacturers), there are more than 29 million pets. And according to this data, prepared from the study of the 2021 census ANFAAC there veterinary industryof which more than 9.31 million are dogs and nearly 5.86 million are cats. And despite these high numbers, the countries of the European Union around us still exceed Spain in the number of pets.

And even if the cat population is not yet as numerous as the dog in Spain, the international cat daywhich is celebrated this Monday, is a marked event in more and more Spanish homes, since the the number of felines has increased in recent years 38%.

August 8: International Cat Day

It is a day to recognize and defend the rights of these animals before the abuse and neglect who suffer on a daily basis, as well as to make the world’s population aware of the importance of care and maintenance.

“The first thing to keep in mind is that cats are animals that can live 10, 15 and even 18 years” on average, he says. Alex Salvadorcoordinator of The cat gardena non-profit organization in Barcelona dedicated to the care and protection of stray and abandoned cats.

It’s basic so “think and be responsiblebearing in mind that our lives can change a lot in all these years,” adds Salvador. We must also be aware that although these are animals that can stay home alone for a few days – always well supplied Food and waterOf course, it is impractical to leave them unattended any longer, so either take them on vacation or leave them in the care of a carer, whether professional or friend or family member.

more memory than dogs

Cats are fascinating beings. Very few people know they have more long-term memory than dogsso they would be more easily tamed… if they were left, because it’s not easy adopt a cat.

But despite their tameness – or lack of tameness – the truth is that cats are autonomous and loving beings at the same time.

His behavior, however, can sometimes be a mystery for many who live with them. This is why it is necessary know them better in order to guarantee their well-being, contribute to their health and achieve a better cohabitation.

human-like brain

Few people know that cats share 90% of the human brain. And it is perhaps this fact that makes The ace neurological diseases that affect the brain felines are more common than you might think: they have vascular diseases, resembling a stroke, brain malformations, skull fractures…and Alzheimer’s.

“Brain diseases are very scary, but caregivers need to know that they can count on veterinary neurologists who will know what is happening to pets and advise them on the next steps and the most appropriate forms of treatment,” he explains. Anna SunolHead of the Neurology and Neurosurgery Department of AniCura Ars Veterinaria Veterinary Hospital.

“The diseases of this type that we see most frequently in our center are idiopathic epilepsy, meningitis (inflammatory or infectious) and intracranial tumours”, specifies this expert. The causes are multiple and depend on many factors. For example, many of them depend on the country in which the animal lives. However, it is important to keep in mind that this type of disorder can affect animals of any type, breed or age.

How do I know if my cat is sick?

Symptoms of neurological diseases that affect the brain depend on the area affected. Some of the most frequent signs that can help us identify a disorder of this type in our pet are: sudden changes in behaviorcompulsive running, spinning in circles while walking, tilting the head or having a lack of coordination – which results in stumbled or fell-, What can’t leave a room and/or suffer epileptic seizures.

If the cat is in pain Alzheimer’s -a disease that cats can suffer from from the age of 11 and that they usually have half the cats that are 15 – they are likely to relieve themselves outside of the sand and experience sudden behavioral changes like being more aggressive or surly or trying to attract too much attention. Indeed, it is very likely that he is disoriented, especially at night, and meows vigorously, whereas he hardly did before.

Alzheimer’s or senile dementia?

However, Alzheimer’s disease in cats can be confused with senile dementia-as is the case with humans-: in these cases, the cat also suffers from sleep disorders -sleeping more during the day than at night- and becomes disoriented inside the house in which it has always lived , exercising less and moving less, wandering nonchalantly and getting stuck behind an object without knowing how to get around it.

It is also common for the affected cat to have difficulty assimilating changes and learning new things or to show little interest in food, grooming (stops grooming and bathing as often as before), or more aggressive and/or anxious than usual or, conversely, more apathetic: Responds reluctantly to external stimuli.

How to act

Upon identifying any of these signs, experts recommend going immediately to a specialist veterinarian to examine the animal. If the veterinarian refers us to a neurologist or to a center that is not the usual one, it is advisable to take the cat medical history.

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As in the case of humans, in the medical center they will make a complete physical and neurological examinationas well as the necessary diagnostic tests (the most common, the magnetic resonance of the head and, in many cases, the cerebrospinal fluid extraction).

After these tests, you will have a diagnostic and you will be assigned a proper treatment for the disease in question. “In the case of epilepsy, the treatment is based on antiepileptic drugs. In some cases, adjuvant therapy such as dietary modifications is valued. As for meningitis, it depends on whether it is inflammatory or infectious and anti-inflammatories are generally recommended and in some cases antibiotics. In tumours, it totally depends: surgery, radiotherapy, medical treatment, care…”, concludes Dr Suñol.

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