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The three main types of Neuromuscular Degenerative Disorders are those that involves the muscles (myopathies) Those that involve the junction of the muscles (junctionopathies) and those that involve the nerves of the muscles (neuronopathies).
There are several neuron motor conditions and the ones cited here are just a few.
Motor Neuron Disease affects the motor neurons in the cat and usually occurs only when the cat is an adult. The disease destroys the motor neurons responsible for voluntary motor actions such as walking, speaking, and breathing. Cats will suffer from muscular problems and have weak muscles and difficulty in walking.
Polyneuropathy in cats is a number of disorders that affect several of the peripheral nerves in muscles in cats. These diseases are believed to be prevalent in certain breeds. They affect the motor ability (the ability of the cat to walk, vocalize, breath etc).
Polyneuropathy is also known as
Lower Motor Neuron Disease.
Birman Cat distal polyneuropathy is an inherited disease in Birman Cats. It occurs because of a decreased number of axons (cell fibers that carries messages away from the body of the cells). There is also a condition called astrogliosis, which produces an abnormal increase of astrocytes (glial cells that are responsible for brain functioning and they also transport chemicals to other neurons). The increase in astrocytes is a compensation for the cells destroyed because of oxygen deprivation.
Also legions are found in certain parts of the body like the spinal chord. The symptoms include falling and walking on the part of the leg that would be called the heel in a human. The condition starts in a cat when they are around eight weeks of age. This prognosis for this condition is poor.
Diabetic neuropathy is a condition where there is too much blood sugar that has been accumulating over time. It is similar to the human version of the disease. In cats, it affects the tibia nerves in the legs and can be corrected with medication for diabetes.
[H]Feline Dysautonomia[/H] also known as [H]Key-Gaskell Disease[/H] affects the neurons in the autoimmune system and the symptoms usually have to do with the gastro intestinal tract more than to do with motor ability.
Myasthenia Gravis is a condition whereby there is a reduction of acetylcholine receptors because the neuromuscular junctions also known as synapses are not sending enough messages for the acetylcholine receptors to pick up. This disease seems to be problematic for Abyssinian and Somali cats. The symptoms include stiffness, weakness, tremors, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, drooling, facial weakness, and shortness of breath.
Some myopathies are inherited while others are acquired. To dates it appears that myopathies are sex related being reported in male cats. The symptoms include, muscular atrophy, part of the tongue hanging from the mouth, excessive amounts of saliva, vomiting, stiff gait, intolerance towards exercise and "bunny-hopping" instead of running.
Diagnosis is done by neurobiology methods where the diagnostian studies electrical activity of the nerves through electron microscopy, microscopic staining and more.
Electromyography (EMG) is a needle procedure, inserting electrodes to measure the electrical activity. There are also biopsies of muscle material taken.
Treatment includes dietary changes, exercise, medication and in some cases corrective surgery.
Depending on the feline neuromuscular problem there is a chance that your pet can have either a good or poor prognosis. The important thing is to have your cat examined by the veterinarian to determine the cause of the problem and determine the appropriate action to take.
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