Researchers at the University College of London School of Pharmacy and neurologist Dr. Mark Lowrie at Davies Veterinary Specialists in Hertfordshire in the U.K. previously identified an epilepsy syndrome in geriatric cats. They named it Feline Audiogenic Reflex Seizures (FARS), a condition triggered by high-pitched sounds such as crinkling tin foil and clanging metal spoons.
Their follow-up study, published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, compared levetiracetam, used to treat certain forms of epilepsy in humans, with the older drug phenobarbital.
When 28 cats with FARS took levetiracetam for three months, the researchers found that all of them had 50 percent fewer days in which they experienced myoclonic seizures — brief, shock-like jerks of a muscle or group of muscles. Only 3 percent of the 29 cats treated with phenobarbital showed the same reduction.