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Dr. Drew
Dr. Drew, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16846
Experience:  Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
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Hi. Were giving our cat Potassium Gluconate powder, due to

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Hi. We're giving our cat Potassium Gluconate powder, due to a recent bout of dehydration. He just had IV potassium at the vet after sudden dehydration, accompanied by 5 days of constipation (not obstipation)---he was fine before, but declined rapidly, almost within hours. But now he is a bit fussy with food, and he isn't getting his full dose of required potassium gluconate through his food. ---Our question: is there any other form of electrolyte treatment, or something we can put in his water to supplement his potassium safely? (The gel-in-the-cheek method seems unlikely, though). We want to avoid another episode. ---Background---Our cat is male, 16 years old. He has marginal kidney function, normal creatine, high urea (but same levels for 6 months). He also has hyperthyroidism, being treated with Tapazole 2.5 mg/day. He has been acting healthy and happy, but has progressively lost weight over the past 3 years, although he was quite heavy before.----Thank you!
How low was his potassium level before treatment?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hi. Thanks for answering.

Unfortunately, we're not 100% sure, since we don't have the details in front of us, but we're pretty certain we were told it was 2.9 before treatment, and after treatment 2 days ago, when he left the vet, it came back as 3.7--- BUT we're not 100% sure the 2.9 level from 5 days ago (before treatment) is correct. (I don't know the units used for these tests, but we were told that 3.9 is the lower end of the "normal range", if that helps decipher it).

Thanks very much.

OK, thanks for the information.

The usual low end of the normal potassium range that we use is 2.9, and I generally don't get concerned until 2.6 or lower. I don't consider oral supplementation necessary until that level, usually.

Some cats don't tolerate the oral potassium gluconate powder, so gel forms are available. Tumil-K is a gel that can be applied to the feet or nose, and licked off, to allow potassium supplementation.

You may also wish to test for high blood pressure, and if it's high, start medication to control it. If the pressure is high, also test for Hyperaldosteronism because that can cause high blood pressure and low potassium too.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
OK, thank you.

So there's nothing we can put in his water, to ensure he his at least getting some potassium intake, when he doesn't eat enough of it through the K-gluconate in his food? ((I have read that putting electrolyte solutions such as Pedialyte, or plain electrolyte powders, in small quantities in cats' water is safe and helpful, but I want to make sure this is ok)).

Thanks again.

I caution against adding anything to the water, since most cats don't drink nearly enough to begin with! If we add something to the water, it may create an aversion to drinking, which will make things worse!

If he likes the taste of the pedialyte, etc, then go ahead and use it -- but be sure to have plain water out as well so that he doesn't dehydrate if he doesn't like the taste.
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