Tinker and Feline Hyperesthesia

Tinker and Feline Hyperesthesia

The symptoms appeared suddenly. Tinker would look anxious and suddenly take off running. The episodes continued to increase in frequency over three to four days. Sometimes he would abruptly lick his back then take off running. Sometimes his back would ripple, and he would take off running. Sometimes the would look at his back region as if bitten and take off running. He was no longer willing to play with the other cat. Food no longer interested him. Tinker was very anxious and hypervigilant in between the episodes. The events occurred throughout the day and night and were increasing in severity.

What is Feline Hyperesthesia?

The exact cause of feline hyperesthesia syndrome is unknown. The trigger can be one of many factors such as parasites like fleas, allergies, environmental stress, myositis, idiopathic seizures, neuropathic pain, meningitis, and more. In some individuals, it is the result of compulsive behavioral disorders. Determining the causative factor for the hyperesthesia factor in most patients is often difficult involving a rule out process.

From the Western perspective, treatment focuses on the causative factor. If the causative factor is unable to be determined, supportive therapy is implemented, addressing any pain issues and reducing the level of environmental stress.

Acupuncture and Laser Treatments for Tinker

Tinker’s symptoms started on acupuncture treatments five days after his first episode. Tinker tolerated needle placement over his back, but he did not appreciate needle placement in his limbs, so the laser was used to stimulate those acupuncture points. Tinker had a total of ten sessions. Tinker responded quickly to the acupuncture sessions. After the first session,  his owner reported only two episodes during the week between treatments. No more episodes after the fourth treatment. He was treated once a week for four sessions, once every ten days to two weeks for two sessions, once every three weeks for two sessions, and the last two were one month apart.

I believe that Tinker’s immediate response to the acupuncture was due to early intervention. Unfortunately, many patients are not seen by a veterinarian until weeks have passed. During that time period, the cycle of behavior becomes entrenched, more permanent, making it difficult to break.