Diazepam, marketed under the name Valium, is a tranquilizer in humans. For cats, Valium is used for anxiety disorders and as a sedative, but its most important role might be for emergency treatment of seizures as well as long-term management. Diazepam can save Kitty's life.
Seizures can last a few second or go on for hours. If you see Kitty experiencing a seizure, it's pretty frightening but keep your wits about you. Kitty needs you. Kitty might suddenly collapse, begin salivating or foaming at the mouth, chatter his jaws uncontrollably, lose control of his bowels or start urinating, or move his legs aimlessly. Get Kitty to a vet as soon as possible, even if he recovers quickly and seems normal. While he's seizing, remove any breakable objects and place soft items like pillows and blankets around him. Turn off the TV or radio and try to make the atmosphere as calm as possible.
Poison is one of the prime causes of cat seizures. On your way to the vet, think about whether there are any substances in your house Kitty might have gotten into, such as insectides. If he's an outdoors cat, there's a wide range of substances he might have ingested, from antifreeze leaking out of your car to something a sick individual might have put out to harm animals.
If Kitty's seizure lasts five minutes or longer or if he continues with on-and-off seizing, your vet may administer intravenous Valium to stop the seizing and prevent brain damage. According to Dr. Barbara Forney, Valium is "the treatment of choice" for cluster seizures or those resulting from poisoning. If Valium doesn't stop the seizures, it might be due to the vet not giving Kitty enough of the medication. While intravenous Valium is the best route, if that is not available the vet can give the drug via the rectum. The vet might have to administer several doses of Valium, either intravenously or rectally, to stop a feline seizure.
If Kitty's seizures are due to the brain disease epilepsy, Valium probably isn't the first choice to stop convulsions. The drug of choice for feline epileptic seizures is phenobarbital. While Valium can control epileptic seizures, long-term use of the drug in cats might cause liver problems. Usually, cats receiving medication to control epileptic seizures must take it every day.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.