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Excess Magnesium in the Blood in Cats

Hypermagnesemia in Cats

 

Electrolytes are required in the body for many vital functions, like keeping fluid balance, normal heart and brain functions, delivery of oxygen, and many more. Magnesium, after potassium, is the second most abundant positively charged electrolyte found inside cells. Bones and muscles contain a major portion of magnesium in the body. Hypermagnesemia is the term used to denote abnormally high levels of magnesium in the body. Higher levels of magnesium can result in serious complications like impaired nerve impulses (signals), as well as cardiac problems.

 

It is uncommon in cats, mostly seen in patients with underlying kidney diseases. High level of magnesium may result in life-threatening conditions, including those of the nervous system and the heart.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

Hypermagnesemia leads to the progressive loss of respiratory, cardiovascular, nervous, and muscle functions -- all of which can be fatal in the dog. Other symptoms associated with this issue include:

 

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Lowered heart rate
  • Paralysis
  • Mental depression
  • Poor reflexes
  • Respiratory depression
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Coma

 

Causes

 

  • Kidney failure
  • Poor intestinal motility
  • Constipation
  • Administration of high levels of magnesium
  • Endocrine disorders (e.g., hypoadrenocorticism, hypothyroidism, hyperparathyroidism)

 

Diagnosis

 

After recording a detailed history from you, the veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination. Routine laboratory tests include: a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. These tests help determine the levels of magnesium in the blood, which will record more than normal in affected cats. Abnormally high levels of calcium are also found in affected cats. As hypermagnesemia mostly occurs in patients with kidney problems, urinalysis and other laboratory tests may reveal abnormalities related to an underlying disease. Additionally, your veterinarian will perform an electrocardiography (ECG), as characteristic ECG changes are seen in patients with hypermagnesemia.

 
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