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Feline Hyperparathyroidism: Causes Symptoms and Treatment

Hyperparathyroidism in Cats: Symptoms and Types

Hyperparathyroidism is a condition characterized by the overproduction of parathyroid hormone (PTH) by one or more of the four parathyroid glands found in the neck. The main function of PTH is to regulate the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.

When the parathyroid glands produce too much PTH, it can lead to an imbalance of these minerals, causing various health problems. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms and types of hyperparathyroidism in cats.

Types of Hyperparathyroidism

Hyperparathyroidism in cats can either be primary or secondary. Primary hyperparathyroidism occurs when there is an abnormal growth or enlargement of one or more of the parathyroid glands, resulting in excessive production of PTH.

Secondary hyperparathyroidism, on the other hand, is the result of an underlying condition, such as chronic kidney disease, that causes low calcium levels. In response, the parathyroid glands try to compensate by producing more PTH.

Possible Genetic Component

In some cases, hyperparathyroidism in cats may have a genetic component. Certain breeds, such as Siamese and Burmese cats, are more prone to developing the condition.

If you have a cat of one of these breeds, it is important to be aware of the signs of hyperparathyroidism and to have your cat regularly screened by a veterinarian.

Average Age of Onset

While hyperparathyroidism can occur at any age, it is more common in older cats, typically over 10 years of age. It is important to keep in mind that symptoms may be mild or even absent early on, making it difficult to diagnose the condition in its early stages.

Symptoms of Hyperparathyroidism in Cats

Many cats with hyperparathyroidism do not appear ill, making it challenging for cat owners to recognize the symptoms. However, as the condition progresses, the cat may show signs of illness.

Mild Symptoms

One of the most common symptoms of hyperparathyroidism in cats is hypercalcemia, or high levels of calcium in the blood. This can lead to increased urination and thirst as the body tries to flush out excess calcium.

Your cat may begin to drink more water than normal and may need to urinate more frequently. Your cat may also seem to lack interest in food, become lethargic or weak.

Severe Symptoms

In more advanced cases of hyperparathyroidism, cats may experience vomiting. The high calcium levels in the blood can also lead to the formation of urinary stones, which can cause pain and discomfort, and may require surgical intervention.

In rare cases, cats may even experience stupor or coma if left untreated.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of hyperparathyroidism typically involves a combination of blood tests, urinalysis, and imaging tests, such as X-rays or ultrasound. Treatment options depend on the severity of the condition and may include medication to regulate calcium levels, dietary adjustments, or surgery to remove the affected gland.

In conclusion, hyperparathyroidism in cats is a condition characterized by the overproduction of parathyroid hormone, leading to an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus in the body. The condition can be asymptomatic in the early stages, making it difficult to diagnose.

However, as the condition progresses, cats may show signs of urinary issues, lack of appetite, weakness, vomiting, and in severe cases, stupor or coma. Diagnosis and treatment depend on the severity of the condition and may include medication, dietary adjustments, or surgery.

If you suspect that your cat may be showing symptoms of hyperparathyroidism, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

Causes and Diagnosis of Hyperparathyroidism in Cats

Hyperparathyroidism in cats occurs when the parathyroid glands produce too much parathyroid hormone (PTH), leading to an imbalance in calcium and phosphorus levels. There are two types of hyperparathyroidism -primary and secondary- and both types are caused by different factors that affect the parathyroid glands.

Primary Hyperparathyroidism

Primary hyperparathyroidism in cats is often caused by a benign tumor in one of the parathyroid glands, which causes excessive PTH secretion. This tumor may be limited to one gland or may involve several glands.

The tumor produces PTH continuously, which leads to increased calcium absorption from the bones and kidneys and a subsequent increase in blood calcium levels.

Secondary Hyperparathyroidism

In contrast, secondary hyperparathyroidism is often caused by an underlying condition, such as chronic kidney disease (CKD) or malnutrition. When the body’s calcium and phosphorus levels decrease, the parathyroid glands produce more PTH to help restore the balance.

CKD and malnutrition can both lead to low calcium and high phosphorus levels, which in turn can cause secondary hyperparathyroidism.

Other Possible

Causes and Diagnosis of Hyperparathyroidism in Cats

Hyperparathyroidism in cats may be mistaken for other conditions such as cancer, renal failure, or vitamin D intoxication.

However, diagnostic tests such as serum ionized calcium determination, urinalysis, and imaging are necessary to accurately diagnose hyperparathyroidism in cats. Serum ionized calcium determination is the most important test when diagnosing hyperparathyroidism in cats.

High levels of calcium in the blood may indicate overproduction of PTH by the parathyroid gland. Additionally, a urinalysis can confirm the presence of kidney stones, which are a common symptom of hyperparathyroidism.

Imaging tests, such as X-rays, ultrasound, and CT scans, may also be used to identify the presence of a tumor or abnormal growth in the parathyroid glands.

Treatment and

Prevention of Hyperparathyroidism in Cats

The treatment for hyperparathyroidism in cats depends on the type and severity of the condition. Primary hyperparathyroidism often requires surgical intervention, while secondary hyperparathyroidism can be managed with calcium supplements and a low-phosphorus diet.

Primary Hyperparathyroidism Treatment

Surgical removal of the affected parathyroid gland(s) is the primary treatment for cats with primary hyperparathyroidism. Successful surgery reduces the production of parathyroid hormone and restores normal calcium levels in the blood.

The procedure may involve the removal of one or more of the parathyroid glands or the removal of a tumor affecting the parathyroid glands.

Secondary Hyperparathyroidism Treatment

Secondary hyperparathyroidism can be treated by maintaining normal calcium and phosphorus levels through proper nutrition and medication. Calcium supplements and low-phosphorus diets can help manage the condition.

A low-phosphorus diet may also be recommended for cats with kidney disease, as high levels of phosphorus can exacerbate the condition. Regular monitoring by a veterinarian is also important to determine whether medication or dietary changes are necessary over time.

Prevention of Hyperparathyroidism in Cats

Prevention of hyperparathyroidism in cats involves maintaining a balanced diet and providing proper nutrition to avoid malnutrition. A diet that is high in calcium and low in phosphorus can help maintain healthy calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood, and may reduce the risk of developing secondary hyperparathyroidism.

Providing adequate water intake to cats can also help maintain normal calcium levels.

Postoperative Monitoring

After surgery, it is important to monitor cats for hypocalcemia, which can occur when the remaining parathyroid glands are unable to produce enough PTH. Hypocalcemia can be life-threatening and requires prompt veterinary care.

Symptoms of hypocalcemia include lethargy, seizures, tremors, and muscle weakness. In conclusion, hyperparathyroidism in cats can be either primary or secondary and is caused by various factors affecting the parathyroid glands.

Accurate diagnosis is essential for proper treatment, which may involve surgery, medication, or dietary changes. A balanced diet and proper nutrition can help prevent hyperparathyroidism in cats, and regular monitoring can help ensure the best possible outcome for affected cats.

Hyperparathyroidism in cats is a condition in which the parathyroid gland produces an excessive amount of parathyroid hormone, leading to imbalanced calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood. The primary cause of the condition is a PTH-secreting tumor, while malnutrition or chronic kidney disease are the primary causes of secondary hyperparathyroidism.

Tests such as serum ionized calcium determination, urinalysis, and imaging are necessary for an accurate diagnosis. Treatment options range from surgical intervention for primary hyperparathyroidism to low-phosphorus diets and calcium supplements for secondary hyperparathyroidism.

A balanced diet and proper nutrition can help prevent hyperparathyroidism in cats, and regular monitoring is essential. Consult your veterinarian if you suspect your cat may be experiencing symptoms of the condition.

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