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15-month old female kitty, low potassium, low weight . . . but otherwise fine???

Cashlaw
May 3rd, 2010, 09:57 AM
I'm stumped. I took my kitty to the vet for her annual vaccinations, and the vet ran a comprehensive blood/urine panel.

Everything came back fine, except her potassium level was a little low, and she had some crystals in the urine.

The vet was concerned because she only weighs about 6 pounds. He suggested a potassium supplement and a special prescription food. He's not sure if the low potassium means a kidney problem, or if it was just in passing.

I'm stumped (after getting frantic at the thought that she was sick). My cat is about 15 months old. She's very active. Her eyes and coat are bright and look good. Her teeth are clean. I see her eating and drinking water regularly. There aren't any toxic plants in the house she could have eaten.

But she is kind of small for her age . . . though the momma cat was also very small.

Any thoughts on what could be going on? I'm just apprehensive that she could have CRF or something awful starting to happen. She's just too young and nice of a cat to be sick.

EDIT: She gets Science Diet dry food and filtered water. She was getting a spoon full of crunchy kitty treats once a day, but I stopped that, since apparently those are just like junk food for cats.

sugarcatmom
May 3rd, 2010, 10:54 AM
EDIT: She gets Science Diet dry food and filtered water. She was getting a spoon full of crunchy kitty treats once a day, but I stopped that, since apparently those are just like junk food for cats.

It would be a very good idea to ditch the dry food completely and start feeding wet food instead. Unfortunately vets aren't typically that knowlegable about what cats should be eating and tend to promote the products they're selling. When you get a chance, a really good site to read regarding feline nutrition is this one: www.catinfo.org

Dr Lee
May 8th, 2010, 02:05 PM
[QUOTE=Cashlaw;914479]... not sure if the low potassium means a kidney problem, or if it was just in passing.QUOTE]

The causes for low potassium include: dietary, decreased food intake, gastrointestinal inflammation leading to potassium loss, kidney disease, Addison's disease, certain drugs, intravenous or subcutaneous fluid therapy, metabolic acidosis, hypothermia, hypokalemic myopathy of Burmese cats, hyperthyroidism, etc.

For it to be secondary to kidney disease, we really need to see either an elevation of creatinine or a decrease in urine concentration. If urine concentration is > 1.035 and creatinine is <1.1 then kidney disease is less likely a cause of low potassium.

I cannot what the cause is at this time. However rechecking the value in 1-3 weeks is a good idea. If it is consistent then further diagnostics can be done. Further diagnostics should evaluate for gastrointestinal problems (look for parasites, congenital or acquired disorders), abdominal ultrasound to further look at the kidneys, liver, intestines, etc.

If the potassium recheck is normal, then as long as there are no clinical signs, then the low potassium may have just been an incidental finding.

Hope this helps. :pawprint:

Dr Lee
May 8th, 2010, 02:08 PM
Oh and I cannot resist! Sugarcatmom's recommendation of wet food... :thumbs up

Wet food is much similar to what cats get in the wild. It has a more appropriate protein level and better protein:carb ratio. Two large protein meals allow stimulation of intestinal serotonin which keep the intestinal tract healthy and "regular". Also cats on dry food are 50% behind their water intake and so need to drink extra to compensate. As cats are not usually so great at keeping up, dry food cats have higher urine concentration because they are constantly asking their kidneys to retain water and concentrate the urine.

So again... wet food is better for cats.:cat:

chico2
May 8th, 2010, 04:28 PM
Dr Lee,thank you for that,my vet feels the same way and is pleased I feed my cats Wellness and EaglePack,my old vet's(there was several in the offeice)kept pushing me to change,but of course I did not.