Eclampsia in Maine Coon cats

18 July 2022

Eclampsia is a critical decrease in the level of total serum calcium in a pregnant or lactating cat. The name of the disease “eklampsis” from the Greek language is translated as an outbreak or sudden onset. Synonyms are “milk fever” or “postpartum tetany”. Found in animals and humans.

Causes of eclampsia in Maine Coon cats

The essence of the disease is the negative balance of calcium, which occurs as a result of increased demand and insufficient intake of this element in the body.
At the moment, there are more than 30 theories of the occurrence of eclampsia, each recognizes the leading role of calcium, but what exactly triggers this mechanism can only be assumed.

Calcium in the body is found mainly in bone tissue and extracellular fluid.

Bone tissue is a “depot” for calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium and potassium. Calcium in the bones is present in pairs with phosphorus, with carbonic salt, with salts of organic acids in the form of strong crystalline compounds around bone cells. The bone is constantly under load, so normally the cells here are destroyed and restored, and the level of calcium can change.

The extracellular fluid, in particular blood serum, contains up to 50% calcium in free form, and the rest is in combination with proteins and organic substances. The concentration of calcium in the blood is strictly regulated.

Quantitative indicators of calcium compounds in bone tissue are in balance with calcium and phosphorus ions in the blood.

In general, maintaining the constancy of calcium in the body is a complex mechanism. It consists of the processes of absorption and excretion of calcium, and is mainly regulated by hormones. An unconditional influence is exerted by the nature of the feed, the level of metabolism and, in part, the biological rhythm of the body.

Directly on the level of calcium in the body is affected by:

  • Parathyroid hormone, which is produced by the parathyroid glands. It is elevated by increased bone marrow release, excretion of calcium concentration in the urine, and stimulation of intestinal absorption of cholesterol and phosphorus.
  • Calcitonin is a thyroid hormone. It is released during formation in the blood and inhibits the effects of parathyroid hormone on bone tissue. In addition, there is an excretion of potassium, sodium and phosphorus from the body.
  • Vitamin D. It is involved in the production of special foods used for intestinal absorption in the intestines and its excretion through the kidneys. Vitamin D is indispensable for the normal process of bone growth, therefore it is its presence that causes the detection of parathyroid hormone in bone tissue.

Thus, the process of regulating the level of concentration in the body is as follows: with a decrease in the concentration of blood ions in the release of parathyroid hormone, which increases the dissolution of mineral formations in the bones. Parallel to parathyroid hormone, derivatives of carbohydrates D are formed in the kidneys, which dramatically affects absorption (reabsorption) in them. As a result of the concentration in the blood. If necessary, lower this level allows calcitonin.

Change in the number of cats harmful to the body. For example, an increase in extracellular accumulation to the deposition of its crystals in the tissues, and in the kidneys – in the form of stones. If in the process of growth bone formation occurs. With a pronounced decrease in the extracellular composition, there is a violation of the transmission of nerve impulses between the nervous system and muscles.

To understand the nature of eclampsia in cats, it is necessary to know a few more observations.

Calcium for the body is one of the representatives of various elements, it is involved in:

  • formation of bones, teeth
  • blood clotting
  • work of neuromuscular excitability
  • skeletal muscle contraction
  • work of the cardiovascular system
  • maintaining vascular tone
  • enzymatic processes.

It is this multifunctionality of calcium that determines the various signs of eclampsia in a cat.

Maximum calcium demand at the end of pregnancy, when there is an accumulation of inorganic substances in the bones of the fetal skeleton, and during lactation. This explains the time of manifestation of the disease – the end of pregnancy and the first 4 weeks of breastfeeding.

Diagnosis of eclampsia in cats
Due to the various clinical signs of the disease, only a veterinarian can establish a diagnosis; he will offer approximately the following algorithm:

  • collection of information about the history of life, the course of pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period;
  • clinical examination of the animal: here it is necessary to exclude epilepsy, injuries of the brain and spinal cord, pathology of cerebral vessels and other neurological diseases;
  • biochemical blood test with determination of calcium concentration. Normally, this indicator in a cat is:
    – total calcium (or bound) – 8.0-11.5 mg / dl (2.00-2.88 mmol / g);
    – free calcium -4.5-5.5 mg / dl (1.13-1.38 mmol / l).

A total calcium value of less than 7 mg/dl can lead to seizures.

A slight decrease in the concentration of calcium in the blood, as a rule, the cat is asymptomatic.

Eclampsia in a cat may be accompanied by a decrease in blood sugar levels, which is also determined by a biochemical blood test.

Treatment of eclampsia in cats
Treatment of eclampsia in cats is urgent! In fact, the body falls into a vicious circle: calcium is needed, but it is not in the reserves. The cat develops a serious condition, there is no appetite, so calcium is not supplied with food. The only way out is the introduction of drugs containing calcium. If no assistance is provided, the death of the animal can occur 12 hours after the first attack from heart failure. But with early treatment, the prognosis is favorable.
Treatment can be prescribed and carried out only by a veterinarian, approximately according to the following scheme:

  1. If signs of the disease appeared in the late stages of pregnancy, then a caesarean section is indicated.
  2. Immediate administration of drugs containing calcium, control of the heart is mandatory. In the future, these drugs are used for 7-10 days, and according to the patient’s condition, additional therapy is prescribed.
  3. If the disease manifests itself in a nursing cat, then the kittens are isolated, at least for a day, by artificially feeding them. The cat itself is placed in a dark room with a calm atmosphere.

In order not to put the animal at risk, it is necessary to carefully monitor the general condition. At the first signs of eclampsia, consult a doctor immediately.

Prevention of eclampsia in Maine Coon

  1. The responsible owner must know the state of health of his cat, therefore, together with a veterinarian, it is necessary to prepare the animal for pregnancy (clinical examination, laboratory diagnostics, etc.).
  2. Monitoring the diet for the content of calcium, phosphorus, minerals.

If the cat was previously susceptible to the disease, then you need:

  • observation of the animal during the entire period of bearing and feeding kittens by a veterinarian;
  • long breaks between births.

Feline eclampsia is a dangerous disease that requires immediate treatment and further prevention throughout the life of the animal.

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