In detail

Cat holds its head askew: what does it have?


If your cat's head is crooked, it will suffer from a so-called head tilt. As a rule, this attitude is triggered by other diseases that affect the animal's organ of balance. Read here what exactly can be behind it. If a cat keeps its head crooked permanently, there may be an illness behind it - shutterstock / Nicola Bertolini

Long-term crooked head is the most common symptom of a disease of the balance organ in cats, also known as vestibular syndrome. If your cat only keeps her head crooked for a short time, she may have something in her ear, the hearing organ is inflamed or she feels disturbed. The cat can still move its head here normally. The situation is different with vestibular syndrome: here the animal cannot keep its head straight for a long time.

Other symptoms of vestibular syndrome

In addition to crooked head, other symptoms appear in many cases, which indicate a disturbance of the balance organ. These include:

● The animal may not be able to walk straight, often tilts to the side or rolls in one direction.
● The cat is squinting.
● The Horner symptom: The pupils are small here. In addition, the eye may lie deeper in the cavity, the third eyelid may have protruded, or the lower eyelid may hang.
● dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
● Severe symptoms such as fainting or a seizure suggest disorders in the brain that affect the balance organ.

You should take these symptoms seriously, because the causes are varied and sometimes extremely dangerous. If in doubt, always go to the vet with your cat.

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Oblique head posture due to vestibular syndrome: causes

The possible causes often concern impairments and damage directly on the balance organ, which as peripheral diseases be designated. They include:

● Inner ear inflammation
● Injury to the eardrum
● middle ear inflammation
● polyps
● Congenital vestibular syndrome
● Idiopathic vestibular syndrome, a special form with a previously unknown cause. It can appear suddenly and at any age. The cat usually recovers after a few days.
● Fracture of the petrous bone, a bony structure on the inner ear
● tumors
● poisoning

Other diseases affect the nerves or the brain. They trigger that the information can no longer be processed correctly. These impairments and damages are called central diseases, They include:

● heart attack
● Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
● bleeding
● An injury and associated traumatic brain injury
● Tumors in the brain and nerves
● Lack of thiamine
Inflammation of the brain and meninges (meningoencephalitis)
● Parasites (protozoa)

Your cat's head is crooked: this is how you react properly

Go to the vet if your head is crooked. He has to find out the exact causes and assign the vestibular syndrome to a peripheral or central disease. A comprehensive laboratory examination with blood count, serum biochemistry and a thyroid hormone profile is usually necessary for this. The veterinarian can use otoscopy to determine whether an ear infection is the cause.