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Idiopathic Hypercalcemia in Cats

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Idiopathic Hypercalcemia in Cats

Idiopathic Hypercalcemia in Cats | Innovet Pet

Almost all cat owners may attest that their cat is a beloved and important family member, and when their cat is not feeling well, hearing distressing talk from a vet causes anxiety. While it is vital that you listen to everything the veterinarian has to say after and during a visit, conduct extra research as a cat owner parent sometimes can assist in easing one’s nerves and offers some clarity. Here, in this post, Innovet Pet Products clears up your concerns and does the research for you.

A feline hypercalcemia diagnosis may sound concerning for any cat owner. But, understanding it on a clinical level is crucial so it’s able to offer your feline the best care they can during this challenging time. Essentially, the word translates to a spontaneous buildup of calcium within the impacted cat’s bloodstream. Instead of having a clear symptom signaling the problem, this problem usually is found by routine blood work during a veterinarian trip. As a matter of fact, this possible discovery is one of the several reasons it is vital that you take cats in for routine health checkups, at least one time per year. 

What Causes Idiopathic Hypercalcemia in Cats?

Idiopathic Hypercalcemia in Cats | Innovet Pet

When a beloved cat comes down with a health problem, it is natural – even though usually misplaced – for a cat owner to feel guilty. Though, in the instance of idiopathic hypercalcemia, it is virtually impossible for cat owners to have any part in their pet’s ailment: it is completely spontaneous.

Hypercalcemia in cats isn’t caused by:

  • Stressful environment
  • Other pets
  • Canine parasites or fleas
  • Grooming (or a lack thereof)
  • Activity level
  • Treats or diet

Therefore, for cat people who have been feeling as if there was more that might’ve been done to prevent the diagnosis, just relax: the most critical thing right now includes focusing on professional healing and treatment for the afflicted feline.

Is Hypercalcemia Cats Contagious?

Unlike specific feline health concerns such as feline distemper (more on this in next section), skin conditions, or cat fleas (more on this below), idiopathic hypercalcemia is not contagious. For kitty owners who own more than one feline in the house and are concerned that mutual grooming, co-sleeping, or sharing water and food bowls may transmit it, be assured that it isn’t going to spread to other pets or humans in the household. As a matter of fact, as a feline diagnosed with this ailment handles medication and treatment, he actually may find comfort in the existence of his cat roommate. However, alternately, if he routinely has fights or disagreements with other animals within the home, it might be smart to isolate him as he’s healing. If he’s administered medicine for his condition, this also can be a helpful step: if his water and food is isolated, it may be medicated for more convenient dosing.

Fleas in Cats

You might be handling some undesired parasitic passengers on your cat, if your pet has been:

  • Biting or chewing at his body or legs in a frantic, fast manner
  • Excessively scratching, particularly at the neck
  • Losing fur around the base of his tail or his back
  • Excessively vocalizing, even if he is not hungry or in obvious pain

Distemper in Cats: What is it?

If you’re a feline owner, it’s important to understand and know what distemper in felines is. You might be asking yourself, what’s feline distemper? Feline distemper, which is also referred to as FPV (Feline Panleukopenia Virus), is a very contagious and possibly deadly viral disease which affects the feline population. Cat distemper impacts cats on a cellular level and may be very dangerous if not immediately treated.

Introduction to Cat Distemper

FPV is a very contagious and dangerous viral disease which felines may contract. FPV impacts blood cells which are going through rapid cellular division inside the body. FPV oftentimes targets blood cells inside the intestinal tract, bone marrow, and inside the stem cells of a developing fetus. Because FPV targets blood cells inside the body, it may result in anemia. If a feline is in an anemic condition, he’ll become more vulnerable to infections from other ailments, both viral and bacterial. FPV is the most critical disease to be wary of inside the unvaccinated population of felines. FPV is able to survive for years within contaminated environments. It’s a very resilient causative virus whose harm is compounded by its extremely contagious nature. With this knowledge in mind, it now is possible to explore the Feline Panleukopenia Virus causes.

Feline Distemper Causes

FPV is caused by an initial Feline Parvovirus contraction. Most cats acquire Feline Parvovirus by touching infected feces, urine, fleas, or blood which have been living on an infected feline. Feline Parvovirus also is transferable from one cat to another by humans who’ve failed to wash their hands after holding an infected feline. Additionally, if bedding, food, equipment, or any additional materials are transferred from cat to cat without exercising vigilant sanitizing processes, Feline Parvovirus quickly can spread. While handling felines that have Feline Panleukopenia Virus or Feline Parvovirus, it’s important that water and soap be utilized to sanitize materials and hands after holding the infected feline so that the possibility of spreading the virus to healthy pets is substantially decreased.

Feline Parvovirus may be very resistant to being sanitized and is able to remain on multiple surfaces for up to one year, during which it’s able to infect any vulnerable cats which touch it. It’s important that clean and safe hygienic processes be used to prevent the spread of Feline Parvovirus, yet even with vigilant hygiene practices, it may be challenging to contain. It’s resistant to disinfectant, which makes it hard to rid materials and surfaces of all traces of the virus. Even one trace of remaining Feline Parvovirus may infect a feline. One common breeding ground for Feline Parvovirus is inside kennels and shelters because of their high density of felines, their close quarters, as well as the use of communal equipment and surfaces. If you kennel your pet when away on a holiday, their risk of obtaining Feline Panleukopenia Virus may significantly increase because of their proximity to other felines that are possibly infected. Feline Panleukopenia Virus cases significantly increase during the summertime. The summer season carries a greater risk of infection because it brings hotter weather, resulting in more felines going outdoors and having the ability to be around other felines who might be infected.

One thing to know about Feline Parvovirus is that kittens have the ability to contract the virus when they’re in utero or via breast milk if their mom is infected with it. The momma cat passes the virus to the kitten while nursing, and in the process, infecting them. The prognosis for kittens contracting Feline Parvovirus or FPV when in utero isn’t promising. If you own a cat that’s nursing or pregnant, it’s important that you keep them inside a clean and safe surroundings in which their exposure to the virus is limited.

Common Feline Distemper Symptoms 

Recognizing the common Feline Panleukopenia Virus symptoms is important to seek prompt and early treatment. Most of the Feline Panleukopenia Virus symptoms may mimic the symptoms of additional common conditions. If you see that your pet isn’t behaving normally or is developing symptoms which concern you, it’s vital to instantly seek the care of a licensed vet to get a diagnosis and subsequent treatment strategy in place.

Below we list the most common Feline Panleukopenia Virus symptoms.

  • Resting their chin on the ground for long time period
  • Trying to hide themselves for one or two days
  • Tucking feet underneath the body for prolonged time periods
  • Hanging head over their food or water bowl without trying to drink or eat
  • Depression
  • High fever
  • Rough hair coat
  • Complete lack of interest in food
  • Low white blood cell count
  • Anemia (because of reduced red blood cells)
  • Diarrhea/Bloody Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting

Besides the aforementioned symptoms, in some felines the Feline Panleukopenia Virus might attack the brain. If FPV attacks the brain, the feline will start developing neurological symptoms. The most typical neurological symptom related to FPV is a lack of coordination.

Diagnosing Cat Distemper 

Diagnosing FPV is crucial to treat it and save your pet’s life. If your pet starts exhibiting any of the above listed symptoms, it’s vital to instantly seek vet care. Once you get to your appointment with your vet, they’ll take a full medical history, which includes any history of conditions or procedures, overall exercise and health, eating habits, any medicines they’re on, and the severity and duration of their symptoms. Additionally, they’ll weigh the cat when you get to the appointment. From that point, the vet will start doing an initial physical exam. If you think your pet might have FPV before going to the appointment, it’s important to disclose these details to the vet so that they exercise extra care while handling equipment or materials your cat has come into contact with so they’re able to avoid infecting other felines.

The vet will probably ask you about your pet’s recent activities, if he recently has touched any other felines, and if he’s usually a cat that travels around and resides outdoors. Those questions are going to help give the vet an idea if they might’ve been exposed to FPV. Feline Panleukopenia Virus may mimic a variety of other conditions which felines may develop, like feline immunodeficiency disorder, pancreatitis, feline leukemia or poisoning. The degree of detail of the data you give to the vet is going to help them eliminate possible causes of the symptoms and is going to expedite the time to treatment.

Once the vet has gathered an in-depth history and has performed an initial physical exam, they’ll probably ask for extra lab tests. The most common lab tests requested includes a CBC (complete blood count), urinalysis, as well as biochemistry profile. Since those tests are pretty general, they oftentimes don’t detect minor changes inside the body. But, since FPV attacks rapidly dividing cells, the CBC test usually is going to show a reduced quantity of white and red blood cells. Additionally, the vet might ask for a fecal sample. This fecal sample might have the ability to show microscopic remnants of Feline Parvovirus which is going to help in making his final diagnosis.

Treating Cat Distemper

Idiopathic Hypercalcemia in Cats | Innovet Pet

Felines which are infected with FPV are going to require instant treatment to save their life. One common symptom of FPV includes dehydration, which quickly can endanger their life. In order to treat cat distemper, your pet has to instantly regain correct body fluid levels, as well as the proper electrolyte balance. Since FPV also impacts the immune system, as well as leaves infected felines open to contracting additional infections, the vet more than likely will prescribe a prophylactic antibiotic that prevents the cat from contracting more infections.

The cat is going to need consistent and supportive care if they obtain Feline Panleukopenia Virus. Getting the proper care truly can make all of the difference between life and death. If the cat is treated quickly and effectively and has the ability to remain alive during the initial two days (48 hours), there’s a good chance that they’ll make a complete recovery. If the kitty contracts FPV and successfully recovers from it, they’re immune from it for the remainder of their lives.

While the cat is recovering, she’ll have to rest until she is no longer in danger. In order to help the cat as she recovers, it’s vital to create a quiet, warm space in your house that’s separated from active spaces, children, or additional animals. In the space where your feline is going to be resting, make certain that you place water and food dishes, and their litter box, close to where they’re laying. She’ll be exhausted and weak from battling the virus and placing those important items close to them is going to keep them from overexerting themselves. One crucial measure to take if the cat is recovering from FPV includes keeping him separated from additional cats. While other felines may contract the infection from them, you can’t.

It Might Aggravate or Signal Other Health Problems 

Now, back to the topic of if feline idiopathic hypercalcemia is contagious. Typically, cat owners hear about the condition through their vet, post-bloodwork outcome. While the majority of vets are going to preemptively test for concurrent illnesses, idiopathic hypercalcemia in felines is a fairly new occurrence, with an exponential increase in cases over the past two decades. It might be advantageous to discuss the probability of cat chronic kidney disease or specific cancer diagnoses, too with the veterinarian clinic.

While idiopathic problems are, by definition, not connected with a cause, there’s a correlation between those more severe cat health issues and the existence of hypercalcemia. In addition, because of the nature of hypercalcemia, ailments that are caused by elevated calcium in cats like uroliths (kidney stones) may be exacerbated by the existence of high calcium levels in cats.

Hypercalcemia in Cats Treatment

While still a severe condition, hypercalcemia cat generally is thought to have a slow progression, and thereby a promising window of treatment. Hopefully, the first line of treatment generally is the more convenient, at least as far as administering medication is concerned. A special diet is suggested for around 1 - 2 months, one high in protein yet low in carbs. The vet might suggest a brand that is sold in their clinic or to a store brand which is going to meet the feline’s adjusted dietary needs. After his diet has had a chance to work, extra blood work is going to probably be assessed in order to test calcium levels, as well as judge if sufficient progress was made to continue.

If the outcome still points to too much unwanted calcium, your vet might suggest medicine that inhibits the feline’s reabsorption of shed calcium, as well as prevent the pattern from continuing. As any cat owner that has had to “pill” a pet may attest, it might be a challenging endeavor. In order to minimize trauma to one’s pet, attempt a 2-person approach, with one person swaddling the feline in a towel in order to prevent scratches, and the other person putting the pill inside the cat’s mouth and softly massaging the throat with the back of their finger to induce swallowing. Professionals also advise putting a small smear of butter on the tip of the kitty’s nose afterwards in order to induce swallowing and licking.

Maintaining the Feline’s Health

Once the affected cat is diagnosed with feline idiopathic hypercalcemia, he is going to always have it on the health radar, meaning pet owners are going to have to be vigilant as his caregivers. Even if the results go from worrying to vowing with diet alone, he is going to require routine checkups to ensure that it is not flaring up. So, continuing a dialogue, as well as regular follow-ups with a trusted veterinarian about the feline’s condition and general health is extremely important – make certain to request their advice on a testing schedule and/or appointment to ensure his well-being, as well as quality of life.

Sources:

Managing Feline Idiopathic Hypercalcemia With Chia Seeds
Hypercalcemia in Dogs and Cats
Nutritional Management of Endocrine Disease in Cats
Idiophatic Hypercalcemia in Cats
Feeding Cats with Idiopathic Hypecalcemia
Nutrition and Idiopathic Hypercalcemia

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