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Living with low potassium

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi
You may remember us posting about Blue back in March when he was very ill, and had trouble lifting his head and and strange frozen face etc.. and all tests came back clear so he was put on steroids and sent home? Well he had been thriving infact he was actually better afterwards then he was before he got ill! On Friday evening i noticed that he was very quiet in his bed and eaten his tea or drunk any water, so Saturday morning we took him to the vet who discovered he had a temprature so perscribed anti biotics and and a steriod jab, Saturday night he had perked up and managed to eat a sachet of Gourmet, Sunday morning he had gone downhill again, he was breathing through his mouth and couldnt walk father than a few steps so rushed him into the hospital who done bloods and put him on drip, bloods came back clear as did chest xrays and other tests for heart, kidneys etc, so again as before they were stumped. Vet called this morning to say they were going to test his salt levels and call the outside lab that they use to see if they could shed any light as when he was in back in March his potassium levels were fine but low fine. She called earlier to say yes that his potassium is low and the lab are sure that the muscle weakness, drooping head and lack of appetite etc all relate to the low potassium levels. So they are giving him potassium through his drip. She said if that is the problem then he can come home when feeling well enough and go on potassium supplements. Then do a urine test to see how is kidneys are doing once he is off the drip and home. Have any of you have any experiences of living with this and what is the long term diagnosis for poor Blue?
Many thanks xxx
post #2 of 11
You mentioned "other tests" that were done for Blue's heart and kidneys. Do you know which tests they were?

The most common reason for low potassium is kidney disease, but Blue's tests don't indicate that. Other possible reasons could be diabetes, liver disease and lower urinary tract disease - these can all deplete potassium. Were these things ruled out?

My oldest kitty gets a potassium supplement because she's got kidney disease. I've been giving it to her for *years* and she readily accepts it mixed into her food. It's been one of the easiest meds/supplements to give her!
It's called Tumil-K , potassium gluconate (there is another form of potassium but you want to use the gluconate because it's most palatable). I give my cat one tablet twice per day. I crush the tablet into fine pieces and mix well into her food.

A couple of websites that help explain low potassium and supplementation:

www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/geriatric.html
http://www.felinegood.co.uk/treatmen...otassium.shtml

I hope your vet will be able to figure out why Blue needs potassium. His prognosis depends, in part, on the cause of the low potassium. In the meantime, though, the potassium supplement should make him feel much better.

Good wishes to Blue that he'll soon feel chipper again.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thankyou KTLynn for your reasurring reply diabetes was first thought of yesterday when his first lot of bloods were done because the glucose levels were high but the vet said that this can be because Blue was stressed at being there so they re tested later in the day and glucose was back to normal.
I think they have more or less tested everything as she said he is very healthy for his age (13 yrs) apparantly even his teeth are in good shape she did say that it is likely to be his kidneys at his age which is why she wants a urine test when off the drip. I think the vet was just pleased to be able to finally find something that they could treat rather than just taking wild guesses at why he was so ill.x
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Just thought i would update you all with latest about Blue, yesterday was a bad day, his temprature had returned and although he was getting potassium through hs drip it had dropped again and they were syringe feeding his as he was still refusing food apart from once when they gave him an appetite stimulator, so the vet was going give him a different anti inflammatory and also start giving potassium orally.
She called today and the latest is that his potassium is up to 2.9, temprature is normal and for the first time since he has been there he got up to be stroked and also ate his breakfast without being forced i will let you all know what she says when she calls tomorrow morning so please keep sending vibes for poor Blue
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgoff1 View Post
...so the vet was going give him a different anti inflammatory...
This is the first mention, I believe, of ANY anti-inflammatory...

Do you know why this is being given?

I would urge you to ask about this...and, to ask which drug is being used.

Cats do not tolerate NSAIDs - non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - the most dangerous of all for cats appears to be METACAM.
"There are clearly documented risks associated with the offlabel
use of Metacam Oral in cats which may lead to kidney
failure and death."

"Unfortunately meloxicam is nephrotoxic, i.e. toxic to the kidneys. In fact, it can cause permanent damage to the kidneys (papillary necrosis), with the result that a number of cats seem to have developed acute or chronic renal failure after taking meloxicam..."
post #6 of 11
Coco had a Metacam Shot but has never had the oral because my Vet said its not worth the Risks. Was the Steroid Depo Medrol? Coco gets that for her Asthma and can not have it again now. it can cause Diabetis. Coco has another Bladder Infection caused by the Depo. The Vet was afraid it would happen. In 2001 I was told she had Diabetes and it wasnt. Her Gluclose was 329 at the time. Her Bun was 91.6. They did so many tests and said to have her Pts. She is 16 now. It turned out she had Fia. I hope your Cat feels better.
post #7 of 11
I'm very glad that Blue's doing better today, after his setback. It must be very frustrating not being able to determine exactly what's causing the low potassium levels.

I'm unfamiliar with Metacam, and I think Blaise's suggestion to speak with your doctor about whether or not Blue is getting that med is important. It's always a good idea to ask questions about any med or treatment that a vet wants to give. Vets should be willing to tell you the pros and cons of meds and treatments, including side effects. Getting as much information as you can will help you ensure that Blue gets the best treatment possible.

Thanks for keeping us updated on Blue's progress.
Lots of good wishes going out to your boy that he continues to feel better.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Blue is coming home today Vet phoned this morning to say his temp was still normal and he had been eating fish and biscuits and she was going to retest his potassium level this afternoon.
She has just phoned and potassium is 3. something (i cant remember the exact count as i have information overload) his breathing is a bit fast so she had a collegue recheck his chest xrays to be sure she hadnt missed anything and they couldnt find anything so they think it may be because his levels have been so low and hopefully as he gets better the breathing will become normal again. He has to go back Saturday to have his temp checked then in a week or so have a urine sample taken. He will be on his potassium tablets so will have to have his bloods tested regularly. Re the anti inflammatory i will be asking the question when we collect him later and let you know xx
post #9 of 11
That's great news! So glad to hear Blue's doing well enough to come home!

Just a suggestion to limit the number of vet visits you have to make: perhaps you could have your vet teach you to take Blue's temperature at home and report it to her. At least that would save you the trip (and Blue some stress!) if that's all your vet needs to do.

Looking forward to the next update - hope your boy continues to do well!
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
We picked Blue up yesterday evening, i was preparing myself for him to be in a bit of a state but apart from many shaved areas on his front legs and chest and looking thinner he looked perfectly fine! Very alert and perky and vocal when he got home he wanted to go straight out and sit his spot in the front garden and take in some fresh air, he ate a little fresh cod and later on some wet food and had a drink before bedtime.

This morning he has been demanding his breakfast but turning his nose up and everything i have offered him! He ended up having a weebox stick treat which is his most fave treat ever, he is taking his potassium tablets well considering they are quite big! Any ideas on what i can tempt him to eat with or should i stop fussing and worrying and just let him decided when and what he wants?

Regards the Metacam there was no mention of it being administerd on his War and Peace size vets bill. we are now going to have to live on bread and water for the rest of the year but its worth it to have our boy back home with us
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgoff1 View Post
We picked Blue up yesterday evening, i was preparing myself for him to be in a bit of a state but apart from many shaved areas on his front legs and chest and looking thinner he looked perfectly fine! Very alert and perky and vocal when he got home he wanted to go straight out and sit his spot in the front garden and take in some fresh air, he ate a little fresh cod and later on some wet food and had a drink before bedtime.
It must be wonderful to have Blue back home! It's a good sign that he wanted to do his usual things, and that he ate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgoff View Post
This morning he has been demanding his breakfast but turning his nose up and everything i have offered him! He ended up having a weebox stick treat which is his most fave treat ever, he is taking his potassium tablets well considering they are quite big! Any ideas on what i can tempt him to eat with or should i stop fussing and worrying and just let him decided when and what he wants?
Well, the good news is that Blue *wants* to eat. How close to a normal amount of food did he eat when you first got him home? I would keep offering him food, especially since he's lost weight. Try a little plain baby food - chicken or turkey flavors are easily digested. Make sure it does NOT contain onion. You might also try bite sized pieces of fresh turkey or chicken, roasted or boiled, with no skin, as a little "bribe" on top of his regular canned cat food. or as a meal on its own.

How are you giving Blue the potassium tabs? Did you try mixing the crushed tabs into his food? I'm glad he's doing alright with them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgoff View Post
Regards the Metacam there was no mention of it being administerd on his War and Peace size vets bill.
You could give your vet a call and ask if Metacam was administered.
Did the vet ever reach a conclusion about what's causing Blue's low potassium level?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgoff View Post
we are now going to have to live on bread and water for the rest of the year but its worth it to have our boy back home with us
I know that feeling too!

Wishing Blue continued good health!!!
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