Audiogenic reflex seizures

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Feline audiogenic reflex seizures are characterized by generalised tonic–clonic seizures, myoclonic seizures and absence seizures.

There appears to be no sex bias, although cats exclusively suffer from FARS later in life within their second decade. The sounds responsible are high-pitched sounds, often relatively quiet sounds, with increasing loudness and persistence of a sound only serving to enhance the severity of epileptic seizures. Myoclonic jerks or seizures with or without impairment of consciousness appear as one of the cardinal signs of FARS, frequently occurring prior to a GTCS in this population[1].

One-third of the population was diagnosed with concurrent diseases; however, this most likely reflected the age of the population rather than a causal relationship. This rationale is made on the basis of the static or improving nature of the epilepsy in the cats with concurrent medical conditions. However, 50% of the population were reported to have hearing impairment or were deaf.

Therapeutic trials with levetiracetam suggest this may be more suitable than phenobarbital to control myoclonic seizures and GTCSs associated with this condition. Although seizures remained relatively non-progressive, other signs developed that were slowly progressive exclusively in cats suffering this epilepsy syndrome for >2 years[2].


  1. Lowrie M et al (2016) Audiogenic reflex seizures in cats. J Feline Med Surg 18(4):328-336
  2. Lowrie M et al (2015) Levetiracetam in the management of feline audiogenic reflex seizures: a randomised, controlled, open-label study. J Feline Med Surg Dec 21. pii: 1098612X15622806