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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 10058
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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My cat has lost weight (11.5 lbs. in January 2012; 9.7 January

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My cat has lost weight (11.5 lbs. in January 2012; 9.7 January 2013; 8.14 lbs. now).
She also has been vomiting more frequently (sometimes hairballs but not always - approx. 2x a week). Her age is estimated at 8-9 years. She was eating dry food plus 1 heaping tablespoon of canned food each day. Several months ago, she didn't seem to like the dry food any longer so I've changed that 2-3 times since. She doesn't seem to like any of the brands I've been trying (all Purina). She still eats the canned food. I took her in for a blood test which indicated she has hypercalcemia (Protein = Trace; Platelet count = 147; Calcium = 12.2; Amylase = 1404). A urinalysis did not indicate any kidney disease. I know there are many causes of hypercalcemia. Do you think the food might be the issue,? I don't want to put my cat's health at risk but would like to avoid additional tests if the cause could be the food.
Hello. Thanks for writing in. Unless you are adding extra calcium supplementation, or she is getting in something that is high in calcium, it is unlikely to be due to the diet. Most cases of hypercalcemia in cats are related to kidney problems, but a certain type of cancer called lymphoma is also a big concern. The GI tract is the most common area for this cancer to show up in cats. Fungal diseases, parathyroid gland problems, adrenal gland problems, diseases that break down the bone excessively and granulomatous diseases (usually infectious and cause severe inflammation in the body) are all potential causes. Elevated calcium levels are commonly due to lab errors as well. So, I would make sure they correct the value according to the albumin level in the body and recheck the value to make sure it was not lab error. Otherwise, further labwork would most likely be needed at this point. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns before rating. Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you so much. When you say I should "make sure they correct the value according to the albumin level...", are you saying that the value seems incorrect?



You are very welcome. It is just that the calcium level can be incorrectly read if the albumin level is abnormal. I will usually get a corrected calcium value by subtracting the albumin value and adding 3.5. With that calcium value, that is most likely not the case. Just wanted to make sure we are covering all our basis, though.
Dr. John and 4 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am embarrassed to say this, but I listed my cat as a "Tabby-Mackerel" - That was my prior cat! The cat I am asking about is a tortoiseshell. I'm not sure if that would make a difference in your response but thought I should mention it. My apologies!!

No problem. It wouldn't make a difference, though. The same response would apply.

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