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Cat Hyperparathyroidism

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Cat Hyperparathyroidism


This disorder is the result of excessive secretion of PTH, which is the parathyroid hormone. There are several parathyroid glands in the neck. This results in elevated calcium in the bloodstream. Excessive calcium can have harmful effects in cats.

Hyperparathyroidism is usually a benign tumor called an adenoma. The occurrence of malignant parathyroid tumors is rare. Primary tumors are somewhat prevalent in cats. Older animals are more susceptible with the average age being ten years. There is no difference in gender occurrence.

Initially the slightly elevated calcium does not cause any symptoms. As time moves on and calcium continues to rise, several clinical symptoms arise. The three systems that are usually affected by these elevated calcium levels are the nervous system, kidneys and the gastrointestinal tract.

Signs and Symptoms

Be on the alert if your cat shows any of the following symptoms.

• Listlessness

Cat Increased Thirst followed by Cat Increased Urination

Cat Loss of Appetite

• Shivering

• Weakness

Cat Vomiting

• Stiff gait

• Decrease in muscle mass

• Urine may be bloody, your cat can have difficulty passing urine and there will be an increase in the frequency


• Standard blood tests will be performed by your vet including calcium levels

• A complete medical history and physical exam will be performed as well

• Urinalysis

• X-rays

• EKG will be done to evaluate the electrical activity of the heart. Calcium can affect heart rhythm

• Ultrasound of the neck

Treatment Options

Admission to a veterinary hospital is likely. If the calcium levels are exceptionally high, there are several medications as well as intravenous fluids that will be administered. Removing the affected parathyroid gland surgically is the next step in treatment.

Home Care

Any surgical procedure will cause pain. Your veterinarian will most likely prescribe pain medication and it should be given as directed. By keeping your cat comfortable, you can hasten recovery. Providing comfortable sleeping areas will also aid in that comfort. If your cat has a favorite spot in the home, you may notice him spending more and more time there during his recovery period. This is your cat’s safe place and when in pain they seek areas of comfort more frequently.

It is also possible that your cat will have low calcium post operatively. This can occur within the first week after surgery. Be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of dangerously low calcium:

• You may notice your cat panting more

• Your cat may appear nervous and edgy

• There can be muscle twitching

• Leg cramps are possible

• Your cats gait may become stiff

• If too severe, Cat Seizures may occur

Currently the cause of primary hyperparathyroidism is not known. Due to that fact, there is no way to prevent it.

By providing your cat with the prescribed pain medication and a comfortable place to sleep, you will play a big part in their recovery. Should you notice any severe changes, notify your veterinarian.

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