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High-pitched sounds cause seizures in elderly cats
Cat with owner
The new syndrome has been termed feline audiogenic reflex seizures (FARS).

Tin foil, metal spoons and the crinkling of paper most common triggers

Elderly cats can suffer from seizures caused by certain high-pitched sounds, according to a study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine.
 
Neurologists at Davies Veterinary Specialists found that certain sounds induce 'absences' (non convulsive seizures), mycologic seizures (brief, shock-like jerks of a muscle or group of muscles), or generalised tonic-clonic seizures (where the cat loses consciousness and its body stiffens and jerks, often for several minutes). 

The new syndrome has been termed feline audiogenic reflex seizures (FARS).

The study found that FARS occurs in pedigree and non-pedigree cats.  With the average age of onset being 15 years, the study also indicated that FARS affects mostly elderly cats.

The most commonly reported triggers were the sound of crinkling tin foil, a metal spoon clanging in a ceramic feeding bowl, chinking or tapping of glass, and crinkling of paper or plastic bags.

Other less common triggers were the sound of digital alarms, velcro, running water, computer printers and firewood splitting.

Researchers say that avoiding the sounds could reduce the seizures. However, owners reported that it was sometimes difficult to avoid certain sounds.

Working with International Cat Care, the researchers compiled a questionnaire for owners to complete.  They received hundreds of replies across the world from owners who had noted a problem in their cats in response to certain types of sound.

The owners said that their local vets had no information at all about it, and often did not believe that a sound had triggered the seizure.

Lead author of the study, Mark Lowrie, says: "We have been overwhelmed by the response to our work. A second study is soon to be published suggesting that levetiracetam is an excellent choice of medication in managing this condition. Our experience is that it can completely rid a cat of these sound-induced seizures, including the myoclonic twitches – one owner reported that levetiracetam had 'truly been a miracle drug for my cat.'"

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Pair of endangered Amur leopard cubs born at Colchester Zoo

News Story 1
 Keepers at Colchester Zoo are hailing the arrival of a pair of critically endangered Amur leopard cubs.

The cubs were born to first-time parents Esra and Crispin on the 9 September. This is the first time the Zoo has bred Amur leopard cubs on-site.

Amur leopards originate from the Russian Far East and north-east China. In the wild they are threatened by climate change, habitat loss, deforestation and the illegal wildlife trade.

The cubs are said to be “looking well” and are expected to emerge from their den in a few weeks.  

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RCVS names Professor John Innes as chair of Fellowship Board

Professor John Innes has been elected chair of the 2019 RCVS Fellowship Board, replacing Professor Nick Bacon who comes to the end of his three-year term.


Professor Innes will be responsible for making sure the Fellowship progresses towards fulfilling its strategic goals, determining its ongoing strategy and objectives, and reporting to the RCVS Advancement of the Professions Committee on developments within the Fellowship.