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Motion Sickness in Cats

By William B. Thomas, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Neurology), Professor, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Tennessee ; Kyle G. Braund, BVSc, MVSc, PhD, FRCVS, DACVIM (Neurology), Director, Veterinary Neurological Consulting Services ; Cheryl L. Chrisman, DVM, MS, EDS, DACVIM (Neurology), Professor of Veterinary Neurology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida ; Caroline N. Hahn, DVM, MSc, PhD, DECEIM, DECVN, MRCVS, Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Clinical Neuroscience, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh ; Charles M. Hendrix, DVM, PhD, Professor, Department of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University ; Karen R. Munana, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Neurology), Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine,North Carolina State University ; T. Mark Neer, DVM, DACVIM, Professor and Hospital Director, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University ; Charles E. Rupprecht, VMD, MS, PhD, Director, LYSSA LLC ; Robert Wylie, BVSc, QDA

Also see professional content regarding motion sickness.

Motion sickness results in nausea, excessive salivation, vomiting, and occasionally other signs. Animals may yawn, whine, show signs of uneasiness or apprehension, or have diarrhea. Motion sickness is usually seen during travel by land, sea, or air, and signs usually disappear when the motion of the vehicle ceases.

The principal cause of motion sickness is a problem in the inner ear, which has connections to the brain stem. Fear of the vehicle may be a contributing factor in cats, and signs may occur even in a vehicle that is not moving.

In some cases, motion sickness can be overcome by conditioning the animal to travel. See also Introduction to Travel with Pets In others, drug treatment can help prevent motion sickness, provide sedation, and decrease drooling.