Polyneuropathy in Cats
The symptoms may begin very slowly or attack violently

Polyneuropathy in cats is a vicious set of occurrences that can cause your pet to lose their balance and become extremely weak both in their head as well as in several of their body muscles.

If it is severe enough, it can also cause shrinkage of your cat’s muscles, sudden and violet seizures, as well as temporary or permanent blindness.

What makes this condition so especially dangerous to your cat is that there are several potential causes and the actual cause may never be found.


Polyneuropathy in cats is a neurological disorder that occurs when the peripheral nerves in your cats body start to malfunction all at the same time.

It can be acute, meaning that it suddenly attacks your cat, or it can be chronic, meaning that it develops over a period of time.

Polyneuropathy in cats is a neurological disorder.

It occurs when the peripheral nerves in your cats body start to malfunction all at the same time.

It can be acute, meaning that it suddenly attacks your cat, or it can be chronic, meaning that it develops over a period of time.

Polyneuropathy in cats can affect both motor and sensory nerves as well as the nervous system itself.

Because of this it is helpful to understand exactly what the nerves in your cat are, where they are located, as well as their functions.


The nerves in your cat are basically bundles of fibers that are made up of a series of cells that receive several different types of signals from and to your cat’s brain.

If these nerves did not exist, your pets stomach, their muscular system, and even their heart would not be able to function.

Nerves have three distinctive responsibilities; sensory, motor, or both.

Sensory nerves relay information about the different sensations that your cats feel, motor nerves cause the activation of their muscles, and mixed nerves do both.

The majority of these nerves extend from your cats brain or the spinal cord where they carry the information to the muscles as well as several organs.

These nerves control your cats eyes, nose, teeth and their tongue, while yet another group that travels in pairs go from the spinal column though the vertebrae and control movement.

The basic units of these nerves are called the neuron, which is extremely specialized, and has two major functions: irritability and conductivity.

These functions are what cause your cat to respond to stimulation and gives them the ability to conduct these impulses.

Green eyes in catsPolyneuropathy in cats can attack very quickly

The nervous system in your cat is a very fine tuned and miraculous mechanism, until it is attacked.

Unlike several other challenges your cat faces in their lifetime, Polyneuropathy can damage and impact several of the nerves and their functions all at the same time.

Most any other type of nerve condition only affects one set of nerves, and this is what makes this particular condition so potentially damaging to your cat.


The symptoms of polyneuropathy in cats can start very slowly in your pet and develop more intense over a period of time.

Or they can hit very suddenly and with so much force that can it can literally disable your cat almost instantly.

If this condition is inherited or chronic, the first set of symptoms that you will see will be a gradual weakness in your cat.

As this weakness develops, your pet will develop muscle tremors that will cause shaking first in their body, and then move to their head.

Once that happens, because all nerves are being attacked simultaneously, their muscles start to shrink and they develop ataxia.

Ataxia is a condition where your cat can no longer walk steadily and they will start to fall. Once it reaches this stage, your cat will develop seizures and will slowly lose their sight.

If it is an acquired condition, and is acute, your cat may show virtually all of these symptoms but they will not be gradual.

Instead they all hit almost at the same time which will leave both you and your cat in complete devastation as to what has happened and what has caused this condition.


Polyneuropathy in cats is very difficult to both treat and understand, simply because it can have so many different causes.

The potential causes can be inherited, acquired, some type of an infection, or even a toxicity of some kind.

However, it could also be the result of syndrome.

If this is the cause, it is generally from a form of cancer in which case your cat may have very little chance of survival.

This is even more likely if they have the acute symptoms.

Inherited causes may start with a condition known as spinal muscular atrophy, also known as SMA.

This is shrinkage of your cats muscles in their spine as well as a degeneration of the cells in their spinal cord.

It eventually causes a progressive muscle weakness that may leave your cat with very limited mobility.

Another potential cause is from Lysosomal storage disease which is a dysfunction or a deficiency of enzymes that are required for metabolism.

Without this function, all nerves become affected.

Acquired causes of polyneuropathy in cats may be the result of inflammation of your cat’s muscles, their joints, or parts of their kidneys.

When inflammation occurs in these areas, it severely impacts the nerves ability to transmit properly.

However, the most likely cause is from an immune mediated or hyperactive immune system.

Immune mediated diseases are especially dangerous because your cat’s immune system starts to attack itself.

When this occurs, it places all of your cat’s nerves at risk and the result is Polyneuropathy.

The cause may also be the result of some type of toxicity, especially from mercury lead poisoning, copper, or zinc that your cat may have come in contact with.

However, the most likely form of toxicity will come from Thallium.

Thallium is considered as toxic as arsenic, and even very small levels can affect your cats entire nervous system or cause a sudden death if enough ifs digested.

Thallium is found in low melting alloys as well as metals, but it is also used in insecticides as well as rat poison, where it does exactly what it is made to do.

It destroys the nerves in rats as well as mice.

If your cat develops a very sudden onset of Polyneuropathy, the chances are very good that they have ingested rat poison.

The last set of potential causes of Polyneuropathy in cats may be from Paraneoplastic syndrome, which induces nerve disorders as the result of a cancerous tumor.

The most common cause will be from Lymphosarcoma, which is very common in middle aged or older cats, or mast cell tumors, which can affect all ages of cats.

Myeloma may also be the cause.


Polyneuropathy in cats may develop very slowly, or it can hit your cat will such deadly force that neither you nor your cat will have the time to understand what hit them.

In most cases, unless it is cancer or Thallium toxicity, if you understand the symptoms and get your cat to your veterinarian as soon as possible, testing as well as treatment can be very positive.

Pet Medications for Polyneuropathy in Cats

Cat Vitamin Store

Feline Facial Nerve Paresis