Audiogenic reflex seizures in cats.
This study aimed to characterise feline audiogenic reflex seizures (FARS).
An online questionnaire was developed to capture information from owners with cats suffering from FARS. This was collated with the medical records from the primary veterinarian. Ninety-six cats were included.
Myoclonic seizures were one of the cardinal signs of this syndrome (90/96), frequently occurring prior to generalised tonic-clonic seizures (GTCSs) in this population. Other features include a late onset (median 15 years) and absence seizures (6/96), with most seizures triggered by high-frequency sounds amid occasional spontaneous seizures (up to 20%). Half the population (48/96) had hearing impairment or were deaf. One-third of cats (35/96) had concurrent diseases, most likely reflecting the age distribution. Birmans were strongly represented (30/96). Levetiracetam gave good seizure control. The course of the epilepsy was non-progressive in the majority (68/96), with an improvement over time in some (23/96). Only 33/96 and 11/90 owners, respectively, felt the GTCSs and myoclonic seizures affected their cat's quality of life (QoL). Despite this, many owners (50/96) reported a slow decline in their cat's health, becoming less responsive (43/50), not jumping (41/50), becoming uncoordinated or weak in the pelvic limbs (24/50) and exhibiting dramatic weight loss (39/50). These signs were exclusively reported in cats experiencing seizures for >2 years, with 42/50 owners stating these signs affected their cat's QoL.
In gathering data on audiogenic seizures in cats, we have identified a new epilepsy syndrome named FARS with a geriatric onset. Further studies are warranted to investigate potential genetic predispositions to this condition.