"Hypercalcaemia in Cats
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"Hypercalcaemia in Cats

Cats
Health & Safety

Hypercalcaemia in cats sees them producing high levels of calcium in their blood. The glands responsible for regulating these levels are found just behind the thyroid gland and are known as parathyroid glands of which there are four. These glands secrete hormones that regulate phosphorus and calcium in a cat’s blood stream. The interaction these hormones have with vitamin D ensure enough calcium is released from various parts of a cat's body which includes their bones, kidneys and gut which then get deposited in their bloodstream. When anything disturbs the interaction or cancerous cells starts forming, it can lead to hypercalcaemia in cats.

Signs to Watch Out For

When a cat develops the condition, there are signs to watch out for that something is wrong with them and this includes the following symptoms which are often associated with hypercalcaemia:

  • An increased need to urinate - a condition known as polyuria
  • An increased thirst - a condition known as polydipsia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Hypertension
  • Gastrointestinal function disturbed
  • Bladder stones
  • Collapse and coma - in severe cases or if a cat is left untreated

The Causes

There are various reasons why a cat might develop hypercalcaemia which could include the following:

  • A compromised parathyroid gland that does not function as it should
  • Hyperparathyroidism - which is when a parathyroid gland over works
  • Cancer and tumours
  • Bone disease
  • Kidney disease either long-term or sudden
  • Compromised adrenal glands
  • Toxins
  • Aluminum toxicity

Diagnosing the Problem

A vet would need to know a cat's full medical history and how the symptoms first manifested themselves. They would thoroughly examine a cat suspected of suffering from hypercalcaemia and would typically recommend carrying out the following tests which would help confirm a diagnosis:

  • A complete blood count
  • A full blood chemistry
  • A urinalysis
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasound
  • Bone marrow biopsy

Treatment Options

When a vet diagnoses hypercalcaemia, a cat would typically need to be hospitalised so they can be closely monitored and given fluid therapy. The vet would need to treat the underlying cause of the problem before they could start a treatment. A cat's serum calcium levels would need to be checked every day to make sure they are going back to normal. Once allowed home, a cat would still need to be checked over on a regular basis to make sure a treatment is working and that the calcium levels in their blood are normal and not rising again which would lead to them suffering from hypercalcaemia again.

Prognosis

Providing a cat is treated in a timely way and the vet can identify the underlying cause of the problem, the prognosis tends to be good. However, if left untreated a cat’s condition would worsen and it put them at much greater risk of succumbing to the symptoms associated with hypercalcaemia.

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