Head pressing happens with both dogs and cats and involves the animal pressing the top of its head against a hard surface. If you see your pet doing this, call your vet immediately.
There are several health issues head pressing might indicate. They include anything from a neurological disorder to liver damage. It can even indicate a rabies infection or some kid of parasite.If the problem is your pet’s liver – called a liver shunt – the behavior is due to toxins building up in the body because the infected organ can no longer filter them safely out of the animal’s system. This condition is usually genetic and hereditary. If it’s neurological, it could be a brain tumor or a stroke or even the result of head trauma. Encephalitis and meningoencephalitis are also common causes.
Some of the causes are unavoidable, but keeping your pet up-to-date on vaccines and well visits can help prevent rabies and parasite infestations. Treatment and prognosis depend on the cause of the head pressing, but seeking treatment as soon as possible will increase your pet’s recovery chances.Keep in mind that head pressing is not the same as when cats rub their heads and faces against surfaces to mark territory or when dogs or cats rub their heads up against people and other animals affectionately – head butting. It is the prolonged pressing of the head against a stationary, hard surface.
Other symptoms are
- Pushing the head into the ground.
- Problems with vision.
- Pacing and walking in circles.
- Problems with reflexes.
- Getting stuck in corners.
- Staring at walls.