If your dog or cat ever does this, go to the vet IMMEDIATELY!
Symptom: The head against the wall
It is important to pay attention to your pets because their behavior may reveal a health issue which if not treated early can end up costing them their life. If you notice that your dog or cat is in a confused state, walking around along the perimeter of the walls and presses its head against them inexplicably — take your pet to the vet right away and report the behavior!
In fact, these are the symptoms of a serious condition that require immediate action. Here is what this behavior means…
In veterinary medicine, it is called “Head Pressing”. This is when animals manifest mental confusion, disorientation, and press their head against a wall.
Many diseases can have head pressing as a clinical sign, but most often we associate it with hepatic encephalopathy, a condition that occurs in pets with liver disease. The liver is meant to remove toxins from the blood stream. When it doesn’t function properly, ammonia and other toxins build up and create this neurologic syndrome of head pressing.
Many breeds are predisposed to liver shunts, a condition in which blood bypasses the liver. Head pressing is a common clinical sign in these pups because of the hepatic encephalopathy that occurs secondary to the liver shunt. Head Pressing is a sign of a severe neurological disorder. Other conditions that can cause head pressing are a head injury, a brain tumor or infection of the nervous system.
It is equally common in dogs as in cats and also in cows, horses, and goats. Often when animals press their head against a wall is mistaken for a game. However, once you know about this serious condition, the symptoms are perfectly distinguishable. In addition to pressing their head against walls or furniture, the animals are in a state of perpetual anxiety, their reflexes are slow, and can have epileptic seizures.
What is the prognosis of an animal that displays this behavior? Does waiting to seek treatment make a difference?
Prognosis largely depends on the underlying cause. There are treatments for many of the conditions that lead to head pressing, and often pets can make a full recovery. For most veterinary illnesses, the sooner treatment is sought, the better. When pets come to us already weak and dehydrated from several days or weeks of illness, we are behind the 8 ball before we even begin.
It is important to act immediately and take the animal to a vet, who will proceed with the appropriate tests.
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It is very important to let everyone know about this very common health issue. Save your pets lives! Do not underestimate this seemingly funny or humorous behavior!