Feb 18 2015

Bruce’s Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome

A week ago Erik brought his 6 month old Siamese mix kitten into the hospital to be seen. Bruce has been very sensitive when he has been rubbed over his mid back, and tail base. Dr. Whiting closely examined Bruce to determine what had been the cause of these reactions. After examination it was determined by the doctors at KAH that Bruce has Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome. This condition is closely related to Fibromyalgia in humans.

Unfortunately this is a poorly understood condition in the veterinary field that possibly has neurological, dermatological, pain, and behavioral components. The clinical picture varies between cats such that individuals may exhibit all or a select few of the described signs.

Initial signs of the condition consist of:

  1. Pacing
  2. Agitation
  3. Excessive licking at the tail or back legs

These signs can later be followed by:

  1. Hissing (Either when touched or just laying by the window sill)


2. Growling
3. Biting at the tail or back legs
4. They may vocalize
5. Suddenly run, and hide


The hallmark sign of this condition is rippling or trembling of the skin over the back. This behavior can be difficult to interrupt, and can be induced by simply rubbing over the cats back.

The first step is to rule out other possible causes of the condition.

  1. Parasites
  2. Yeast infections
  3. Allergies
  4. Seizures

Management and treatment of the condition:

  1. Gabapentin
  2. Phenobarbital
  3. Clomipramine
  4. Fluoxetine
  5. Avoid triggers that may incite the behavior, or the cat

Bruce is doing well at home as you can see below resting peacefully in Erik’s lap. He still roles around the floor, and cuddles with the family. The doctors at KAH are working on finding the best protocol for Bruce’s condition.


Written by Erik technician at KAH

jhummitzsch | Uncategorized

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