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J Feline Med Surg. 2014 Oct;16(10):853-7. doi: 10.1177/1098612X14527474. Epub 2014 Mar 12.

Hypokalaemia in a hyperthyroid domestic shorthair cat with adrenal hyperplasia.

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Acorn House Veterinary Surgery, Bedford, UK
Davies Veterinary Specialists, Hitchin, UK.


A 13-year-old female domestic shorthair cat presented with polyphagia and weight loss. Marked systolic hypertension was found on examination. Elevated total thyroxine levels confirmed hyperthyroidism, and hypokalaemia was also documented. A euthyroid state and normotension were achieved following 4 weeks of treatment with carbimazole and amlodipine. Despite potassium supplementation, the hypokalaemia worsened. Abdominal ultrasonography revealed left adrenomegaly. Plasma aldosterone concentrations were initially in the lower half of the reference interval and, when repeated 2 months later, were undetectable. Urea and creatinine remained in the lower half of the reference interval throughout treatment, and urine specific gravity suggested good urine concentrating ability. The fractional excretion of potassium confirmed a renal source of potassium loss. Blood gas analysis was unremarkable. It was theorised that an aldosterone precursor was causing signs of mineralocorticoid excess and undetectable plasma aldosterone levels. Treatment with an aldosterone receptor antagonist successfully increased the serum potassium concentration. Owing to difficulties administering medication and associated effects on life quality the cat was euthanased. Adrenal hyperplasia was apparent on post-mortem histopathology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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