How is feline Hyperesthesia diagnosed?

  • Date: May 9, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Feline hyperesthesia, also known as twitch-skin syndrome, is a condition of the nervous system that affects cats. It is characterized by intense scratching, biting, licking and chewing of the skin, as well as twitching, chattering and other abnormal behaviors. Diagnosing feline hyperesthesia can be a difficult process as it can often be confused with other conditions such as allergies or parasites. However, with the help of veterinary professionals, it is possible to accurately diagnose and treat this condition. This article will discuss the various methods used to diagnose feline hyperesthesia and how to best treat it.

What is Feline Hyperesthesia?

Feline hyperesthesia syndrome (FHS), also known as “twitch-skin syndrome” and “psychomotor epilepsy,” is a disorder of cats characterized by intense itching, twitching, and licking of the skin. It is a complex disorder, and its cause is still unknown. The syndrome is thought to be a result of a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition, environmental triggers, and neurologic and/or metabolic disorders.

Signs and Symptoms of Feline Hyperesthesia

The most common signs of FHS are intense itching, biting, or licking of the skin. Cats may also display twitching or rippling of the skin along their back, tail, and flanks. Cats may also display changes in behavior, such as aggression or restlessness. Some cats may even show altered vocalization.

Diagnosing Feline Hyperesthesia

Diagnosing FHS can be a challenge due to the lack of definitive tests available. A thorough physical exam, including a detailed history of the cat’s behavior, is essential. Blood tests, urinalysis, and imaging studies may also be needed to rule out other medical causes.

If other medical causes have been ruled out, a neurologic examination may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis of FHS. This includes a full physical exam, including an evaluation of the cat’s coordination, reflexes, and behavior. If a neurologic cause is suspected, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan may be recommended.

Treatment of Feline Hyperesthesia

Treatment of FHS is typically focused on managing the symptoms. Anti-inflammatory and anticonvulsant medications may be prescribed to reduce itching and twitching. In addition, environmental modifications, such as providing a calm, low-stress environment, may be beneficial.

Behavioral modification techniques, such as desensitization and counterconditioning, may also be recommended. These techniques can help reduce stress and anxiety, which may be contributing to the FHS symptoms.

Conclusion

Feline hyperesthesia is a complex disorder with no known cause. Diagnosis of FHS is based on ruling out other medical causes and a thorough physical and neurologic examination. Treatment of FHS is typically focused on managing the symptoms and may include medications, environmental modifications, and behavioral modification techniques.

### Common Myths about Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome

**Myth 1: Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome (FHS) is a behavioral problem.**

FALSE – FHS is a neurological condition that affects a cat’s sensory processing ability. It is not a behavioral problem, and cats with FHS are not acting out due to lack of discipline or training.

**Myth 2: Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome is the same as Flea Allergy Dermatitis.**

FALSE – Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD) and Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome are two completely different conditions. FAD is an allergic reaction to flea bites, while FHS is a neurological condition that can cause cats to display abnormal behavior and physical reactions.

**Myth 3: Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome can be diagnosed through physical examination.**

FALSE – Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome can be difficult to diagnose and requires a combination of physical examination, lab testing, and behavioral assessment. Diagnosis of FHS typically requires a thorough physical exam, lab tests, and a detailed history of the cat’s behavior.

**Myth 4: Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome is always caused by stress.**

FALSE – While stress can be a factor in Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome, it is not always the cause. FHS can be caused by a variety of factors, including neurological disorders, medical conditions, and environmental stressors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are signs of Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome?

Answer: Common signs of Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome include excessive grooming, skin twitching, vocalizing, licking, biting, and running.

How is Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome treated?

Answer: Treatment for Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome is typically a combination of medication, environmental changes, and behavior modification. Anti-anxiety medication may be prescribed to help reduce the severity of the symptoms. Additionally, changes to the environment such as providing a quiet area and reducing stressors can help reduce the symptoms. Finally, behavior modification techniques can help reduce or eliminate the symptoms of Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome.

Conclusion

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Feline hyperesthesia syndrome (FHS) is a disorder characterized by intense itching, twitching, and licking of the skin. Causes are unknown, but may include genetic predisposition, environmental triggers, and neurologic and/or metabolic disorders. Diagnosis is based on ruling out other medical causes and a physical and neurologic examination. Treatment may include medications, environmental modifications, and behavioral modification techniques.

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