Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy



or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

PetMD Seal

Unintentional Eye Movement in Cats

Nystagmus in Cats

 

Nystagmus causes the involuntary and rhythmic oscillation of the eyeballs; meaning, the eyes unintentionally move or swing back and forth. Nystagmus can occur in both dogs and cats and is a characteristic sign of a problem in the animal's nervous system.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

There are two types of nystagmus: jerk nystagmus and pendular nystagmus. Jerk nystagmus is characterized by slow eye movements in one direction with a rapid correction phase in the opposite direction, while pendular nystagmus is characterized by small oscillations of the eyes with no movement being distinctively slower or faster than the other. Of these two types, jerk nystagmus is more commonly seen in cats. Other common signs associated with nystagmus include head tilting and circling.

 

Causes

 

There are a variety of causes that may lead to nystagmus, many of which stem either from a peripheral vestibular or central vestibular disease. Sometimes called the “balance system,” the vestibular system is the sensory system responsible for maintaining proper balance of the head and body.

 

Peripheral vestibular diseases that may lead to nystagmus include hypothyroidism, traumatic injuries (such as those acquired in a car accident), and neoplastic tumors. Nystagmus-causing central vestibular disorders include tumors, thiamine deficiency, viral infections (such as feline infectious peritonitis), and consequent inflammation, heart attacks, hemorrhages in the heart, and exposure to toxins (such as lead).

 

Diagnosis

 

Nystagmus is often diagnosed via an analysis of cerebrospinal fluid, which can also reveal inflammation associated with the disorder. Brain imaging (e.g., CT scan) is another diagnostic procedure used to identify brain abnormalities. Otherwise, your veterinarian may conduct analysis on the urine and bacterial cultures and serologic testing to check for infectious agents in the body.

 

 

 

Related Articles

Head Tilt, Disorientation in Cats
Head tilt is a medical condition that may be indicative of a serious underlying disorder,...
READ MORE
Loss of Balance (Unbalanced Gait) in Cats
Ataxia, in general, is a condition relating to a sensory dysfunction that produces...
READ MORE

Do you have a plan for your pet(s) in case of natural disaster or emergency evacuation?

  • Lifetime Credits:
  • Today's Credits:
Hurry Before All Seats are Taken!
Enroll
Be an A++ Pet Parent! Take fun & free courses to earn badges & certifications. Choose a course»
Search cat Articles

 

 

Around the Web
MORE FROM PETMD.COM