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Ask the Doctor August 2013 Issue

Dear Doctor - Possible causes of twitching in cats

Letter to Tufts Veterinarians

Q I have a question about my 13-year-old female tabby, who I adopted when she was four weeks old. Molly “twitches” (that’s the best way I can describe it) when she is lying next to me (while she’s awake, not sleeping).

I have asked our trusted regular veterinarian, but nothing has been revealed through physical examination. Should I be concerned?
Diane Fritz

A Dear Diane: I will assume this a new issue, but if Molly has been “twitching” for her entire 13 years then I would be far less concerned.

Twitching is non-specific and may be caused by any one of the following: fright, loss of hearing, high thyroid levels, abnormal blood values of glucose, calcium, or potassium, high blood pressure and various neurologic disorders. Dogs frequently develop tremors as they age and I wonder if a similar disorder may be occurring in Molly.

You should consider additional testing for Molly. Basic blood work, blood pressure testing, and evaluation for a neurologic disorder would be prudent. If no cause is identified, watch for progression of the twitching. A lack of worsening of the twitching would suggest a benign disorder.
Michael Stone, DVM, ACVIM
Clinical Assistant Professor
Cummings School of Veterinary
Medicine at Tufts University


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