Excess Potassium Research Paper

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Excessive Potassium in the Blood in Cats
What is Excessive Potassium?

Potassium is an essential electrolyte found in the blood of cats as well as humans. In a cat, potassium helps to regulate several body functions, including muscle contractions, nerve impulses and heart function. Without it, the heart, skeleton, blood pressure and muscles are unable to function properly.

Although some potassium is necessary, it is possible for your cat to have too much. This condition is known to veterinarians as hyperkalemia. Several different health problems can cause elevated potassium levels and though treatable, all can cause serious health problems if left unchecked. Your cat may not show any symptoms if his potassium levels are only slightly elevated,
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Though your vet will surely notice this symptom, you are not likely to. Coughing and fainting spells are possible, however, if the arrhythmia is severe.

Causes of Excess Potassium

In cats, the kidneys are responsible for filtering excess potassium from the blood so that it can be excreted through urination. As a result, a high potassium levels in cats is almost always caused by problems in the urinary tract. Diabetes, however, can also be to blame. Likely causes of high potassium include:

• Kidney failure
• Urinary tract blockage
• Ruptured bladder (typically associated with traumatic injury)
• Addison's disease

Diagnosis of Excessive Potassium

The detection of high potassium levels requires a simple blood test. Your veterinarian will take a blood sample from your cat and send it to a lab to determine exactly how much potassium is present. In cats, a normal potassium level is between 3.4 and 5.6 MEQ/L. Although the exact measurement can vary a bit from one cat to another, levels of 6 to 6.5 MEQ/L or higher typically indicate an excess of calcium in the

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