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Excess Sodium in the Blood in Cats

Hypernatremia in Cats

 

Hypernatremia is the term used to denote abnormally high levels of sodium in blood. A vital electrolyte, sodium is involved in many critical bodily functions, including maintaining blood pressure, blood volume, maintain the delicate acid/base balance in the body, as well as play a role in the transmission of nerve impulses (signals) within nerves.

 

A common source of sodium is table salt (NaCl). Due to the presence of chloride (Cl) in NaCl, chloride derangements are commonly seen along with sodium.

 

If not treated quickly, hypernatremia can lead to severe consequences for the health of your cat.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

  • Increased thirst (polydipsia) and consumption of water
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Other symptoms may be related to underlying cause

 

Causes

 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • High water loss through urine (as seen with diabetes)
  • Intravenous fluid therapy containing NaCl
  • Lower water intake
  • High oral sodium intake (rare)

 

Diagnosis

 

Your veterinarian will take a detailed history of your cat, including a history of any previous medical treatment. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination. Routine laboratory tests include: complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis, which will reveal high levels of sodium along with other abnormalities. For cats with diabetes, urinalysis will reveal changes in urine, including low sodium levels. More specific testing for diagnosis of underlying diseases may need to be carried out.

 
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