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Nutritional Secondary Hyperparathyroidism in Cats

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism is a nutritional/metabolic disorder caused by an elevation of parathyroid hormone (PTH), usually secondary to poor nutrition. It is the body's normal compensatory response to nutritionally induced hypocalcemia, or low calcium.

Inadequate diet stimulates increased PTH release through low calcium, high phosphate and low vitamin D. All meat or all grain diets are the most common cause.

This disorder is seen in both males and females and is most common in young animals. It can affect any breed.

What to Watch For

  • Some patients may have no clinical signs
  • Limping
  • Bone deformities
  • Spontaneous fractures

    Diagnosis

    Clinical signs and dietary history are very helpful in making the diagnosis.

  • Complete blood cell count (CBC)
  • Biochemical profile
  • Urinalysis
  • Radiographs (X-rays) of the long leg bones and spine

    Treatment

    Treatment of patients with nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism should be directed at the underlying cause if identified. Most of these individuals can be treated as outpatients.

  • Dietary correction and calcium supplementation
  • Restriction of activity to prevent bone fractures
  • External splinting for support of bone fractures

    Home Care and Prevention

    Administer all medication/supplementation and dietary recommendations as directed by your veterinarian. Reevaluating laboratory data and radiographs at intervals set by your veterinarian are helpful in assessing improvement and response to therapy.

    Animals without severe bone deformities have a good prognosis. Bones often normalize within a two to three months period. Fractures may have delayed healing.

    Feeding a proper diet can prevent this disorder.

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