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What killed this cat?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Necropsy on 2 year old Maine Coon stated he died of heart failure caused by elevated Potassium levels caused by a UTI. No indication of a problem from the cat. Fine one day and gone the next. Ever hear of such a thing?
post #2 of 7
I've heard of them dying suddenly from an unknown heart condition. This happened to my friend who had a five year-old feral cat. He was found by the cleaning lady. His heart had been enlarged and it hadn't been detected.

I'm sorry for your loss.
post #3 of 7
It sounds like he may have had a blockage--if they can't urinate at all, potassium can build up in the bloodstream or the bladder can rupture:


Unfortunately, it doesn't take very long for a blockage to become life-threatening--as little as 24 hours. I'm so sorry for the loss of your cat.
post #4 of 7
Did this cat have any pre-existing HCM (hypertrophic cardio myopathy?) HCM can be fairly common in the Maine Coon breeds and mixes. If so, his heart may not been able to handle the arrythmias that elevated Potassium levels will cause. HCM would have shown up on necropsy, but they might not have mentioned it as such....possibly just calling it heart failure. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your sweet kitty. My heart goes out to you.
post #5 of 7
Originally Posted by cloud_shade View Post
It sounds like he may have had a blockage--
But wouldn't that have been found in the necropsy?
post #6 of 7
I'm not sure--it may have if they had been looking for it but I'm not sure whether they would have been. Also, it could be that he became "unblocked" too late. Was he peeing normally before he passed?

Also, Pookie-Poo's comment about HCM is one I wondered about myself. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy often shows no signs (though often there is a heart murmur), and it can take them very quickly--that's what my Spot died from. He was fine when I left the house, and when I returned he was gravely ill with a very high fever. He died the following day. Have you asked your vet for more information about the necropsy results? It might help you determine the cause more precisely.
post #7 of 7
First of all, I am so sorry for your loss. I know the pain of losing a young cat suddenly, it's heartbreaking.

As previously mentioned, it's possible the UTI could have caused an obstruction, which could cause ARF (acute renal failure) and this caused the elevated potassium levels (hyperkalemia), which in turn, caused heart failure. Or, it's possible your cat had CRF (chronic renal failure), that caused hyperkalemia. Hard to say. Probably more likely the former, due to your saying the cat was fine and then not.

Hyperkalemia (excess potassium) may result from the inability of the kidneys of end-stage CRF cats to sufficiently rid their bodies of excess potassium. Hyperkalemia can stress the heart and could potentially cause heart failure and/or other associated problems.
No matter what elevated the potassium levels, it isn't unusual for heart failure to be the end result if the levels went high enough because severe changes in potassium levels disrupt normal cardiac function (whether it be too much potassium or too little) . It does sound like the kidneys did fail at some point, whether due to infection/obstruction or underlying disease.

Maybe call the vet and ask for a clarification, sometimes they don't really explain things very thoroughly and leave us just scratching our heads.

Again, so terribly sorry for your loss.
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