Feline hyperesthesia syndrome—which is also known as rolling skin syndrome and twitchy cat disease—is a rather unique issue that we occasionally see in our feline patients. It is characterized by hypersensitivity of the skin, usually on the back. A local vet offers some information in this article.
It’s good for you to know what to look for. Twitching or rippling skin on the back is a common sign. Some other red flags include excessive and/or unusual meowing, drooling, scratching, tail chasing, dilated pupils, jumping and running frantically, and excessive sleepiness. Fluffy may also bite or lick herself, particularly on her flanks, lower back, rear paws, bottom, and/or tail. Cats with feline hyperesthesia often seem to feel pain or discomfort when they are being petted or held. Contact your vet if you notice any of these issues in your kitty.
Feline hyperesthesia syndrome has been linked to several potential causes, with skin problems, such as allergies, being one of the most common. It can also be caused by neurological issues, such as seizures or nerve pain. It can also be a psychological issue, as it has been linked to anxiety, stress, compulsive behavior, and even attention seeking behavior. Food sensitivity is another possibility. It’s worth noting that feline hyperesthesia is most common in cats that are younger than age seven. The average age at onset is just one year old. Breed may also play a role. For instance, Burmese, Persian, Abyssinian, and Siamese kitties are particularly prone to this condition.
Fortunately, feline hyperesthesia syndrome isn’t fatal. However, it can impact your kitty’s happiness and quality of life. If you know or suspect that Fluffy is afflicted, contact your veterinary clinic immediately. Mild cases can often be scheduled in advance as a regular appointment. However, severe ones would warrant immediate emergency care. There are treatments available. Of course, your vet will need to determine if Fluffy does have feline hyperesthesia syndrome. It’s also important to rule out other causes. Several other medical conditions that can cause similar problems. These include intervertebral disc extrusions, spinal arthritis, skin problems, parasites, allergies, and fungal infections. As far as treatment, medication is often successful, though it is important to realize that some kitties will respond differently than others. Your vet may also recommend things like behavioral counseling and/or environmental changes.
Do you have questions about your kitty’s health or care? Contact us, your local animal clinic in North Miami, FL!