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Cat diagnosed with hypercalcemia

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Our question this week was:

My cat is suffering from Hypercalcemia, and I was wondering if his high intake of cheese (a particular favourite of his) could possibly be a cause?

Joolz (UK)


Answer

Hi - thanks for your email.

As you probably know, hypercalcemia refers to an abnormally high blood concentration of calcium. There are many causes for hypercalcemia and there are also some causes for false positive results. Your question is: is feeding cheese a possible cause for a high blood calcium level? I'd say the answer is no.

Here is some information from our article on the site about Hypercalcemia in Cats that might be helpful.

Some relatively common (and benign) situations can cause erroneously high blood calcium concentrations to be reported by the laboratory depending on the analyzer used. Examples include blood samples with high fat content (lipemia) due, for example, to collection of blood soon after a meal or release of hemoglobin from the red blood cells during processing of the blood (hemolysis). Certain anticoagulants and detergents used to clean laboratory glassware also may cause erroneously high blood calcium concentrations to be reported. In these situations, the blood calcium concentration should be determined again using a properly collected blood sample that is free of lipemia and hemolysis.

Dehydration is a common clinical situation that can result in mildly increased blood calcium concentration. Blood calcium concentration should be re-evaluated after the patient has been rehydrated by intravenous or subcutaneous (under the skin) administration of fluids.
Other medical causes include:

  • Lymphosarcoma, a type of cancer

  • Chronic kidney failure sometimes caused by hereditary kidney disease

  • Primary hyperparathyroidism, which is overactivity of the parathyroid gland usually due to a benign tumor called an adenoma

  • Hypoadrenocorticism, also known as Addison's disease, which is a hormonal disorder caused by insufficient production of steroid hormones by the adrenal glands

  • Apocrine gland adenocarcinoma of anal sac, or a cancer of the glands of the anal sacs

  • Vitamin D intoxication caused by consumption of vitamin D-containing rat poison

  • Vitamin D intoxication caused by consumption of vitamin D-containing plants such as day-blooming Jessamine (Cestrum diurnum)

  • Vitamin D intoxication caused by consumption of topical ointments containing calcipotriene used to treat psoriasis in people

  • Multiple myeloma, which is a cancer of antibody-producing cells called plasma cells

  • Other cancers including squamous cell carcinoma, thyroid adenosarcoma, nasal adenocarcinoma, mammary gland adenocarcinoma, and others

  • Acute kidney failure

  • Granulomatous diseases, which refer to a specific type of inflammation, such as blastomycosis (fungal infection). In these diseases, inflammatory cells (called macrophages) are thought to produce vitamin D-like chemicals

  • Osteomyelitis, bacterial infection of bone

  • Overactivity of the parathyroid glands due to nutritional disturbances

  • Dehydration with increased blood concentrations of albumin, a major protein of the blood

  • Hypercalcemia can occur normally in young growing cats


    Best of luck!

    Dr. Debra





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