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Hypokalemic kitten

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by lizward, May 19, 2010.


  1. lizward

    lizward PetForums VIP

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    This is a video I made of Gordon my hypokalemic kitten who has been having an episode recently.

    It still needs some editing but I thought people would be interested.

    YouTube - Gordon the Hypokalemic kitten

    Liz
     
  2. billyboysmammy

    billyboysmammy PetForums VIP

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    Excellent video into a fairly unknown disease, its not something i have ever seen personally.

    Is gordon treated with potassium supplements? What is his prognosis? Will they prevent more episodes?

    Well done for highlighting this. x
     
  3. lizward

    lizward PetForums VIP

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    Ha! Yes, supplements are a sore point right now. I get them online (£10 cheaper) and ordered one, by first class post, which they attempted to deliver 7 days ago.

    And now they have lost it, and Gordon has barely enough left to last the rest of the day.

    Three emails to the Post Office and a personal call into the sorting office have come up with nothing other than that they don't know where it is. I ordered another to be sent by first class, but since first class packets now seem to take anything up to nine days (no kidding, that's how long some small violin accessories recently took to reach us) I mailed back last night to say please could they change it to special delivery. No reply as yet. Gordon is bad now and is going to be far worse without his supplement so now I have no choice but to order another and hope that is sent out today - my own vet is probably the best bet, so I'll be paying full price again - and hoping their supplier has it in stock.

    It seems to work like this: there is a time delay between the potassium levels going too low and him having a full blown episode. He has had several mini-episodes where I have been out all day and then he has hidden in the evening and I can't find him so that he only gets one dose that day. That means he is quite bad the following morning but he does pick up within a few hours. The full blown episode lasts five days even with increasing the dose. Unsurprisingly the dose is increasing as he gets older. The supplement, Kaminox, is highly palatable - spills get licked up - but because it is only for Gordon, he has to have it syringed into his mouth and he doesn't like that. Not that he is difficult at all, he just runs away sometimes when he sees me coming to get him!

    Long term, I hear from others that the cat almost outgrows it eventually and that the dose can be decreased in a mature cat, but we are talking years not months for that to happen. The condition puts a strain on the kidneys so his life expectancy is less than normal but again we are talking several years. In Gordon's case he is very tiny too and generally underdeveloped - more like a five month old kitten than the nine months he really is. Whether that is a side-effect of the condition or purely co-incidental, I don't know.

    We know that a stud carrying this gene has been widely used in the breed, and a high degree of suspicion has fallen on a stud used further back who was so widely used that it is almost impossible to find a pedigree where he is not there. Under those circumstances you might think that there would be a great deal of support for our online pedigree database which I keep for our breed. But you would be wrong. The general reaction has been on of total apathy and one person has reacted with extreme hostility to the idea of anyone else being able to see her pedigrees. So alas, there is going to be an awful lot of this condition seen in our breed from now on, until the genetic test is available.

    Liz
     
    #3 lizward, May 19, 2010
    Last edited: May 19, 2010
  4. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    Oh no! Can you get some from your vet until they find your missing parcel or a replacement can be sent out?

    Very interesting, if heart-rending, vid. Thank you!
     
  5. lizward

    lizward PetForums VIP

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    O yes, we'll get it. The last I heard, the vet had half a bottle available at one of their surgeries so hopefully that is still around somewhere if anything goes wrong with the replacement which they now tell me they can send by special delivery if I call with a card number to pay the extra which, of course, I will. £7.99 extra for something that actually costs them about £5 extra - sigh.

    Liz
     
  6. billyboysmammy

    billyboysmammy PetForums VIP

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    Fingers crossed the vets still have their half bottle for you, or that the new supply arrives! Are the post office liable for compensation as they lost it?

    I guess the dosage is done by weight and severity rather than a standard dose for all cats regardless of age, size and symptoms?

    Is there anything at all that can prevent the full blown episodes? or alleviate them? If i have read correctly even the increased dose of potassium doesnt seem to prevent them?

    Liz are there any studies or papers i can read on the condition. Not because i have a cat with it, but purely for interest? I had heard that renal failure was part of the condition but i cant find much info about the heriditary forms. It sounds almost like spinal muscular atrophy or muscular dystrophy in its symptoms but with a physical cause (low potassium) as the CK (creatine kinase) levels in the blood are increased due to muscle death and damage... that gives me more hope for a long term treatment!

    What an absoloute joke! It never ceases to amaze me when breeders close ranks and stick their heads in the sand when a "new" genetic problem is found in their breed. There really needs to be more publicity about this illness as from what you said the affected genes are likely to be widely carried and so the condition will appear more and more frequently. Similar reactions happened when PKD became apparent and even now many breeders refuse to acknowledge its existance in their breeds. Totally irresponsible and complete madness imo. Any good breeder should be working hard to ensure all kittens they produce will live long and healthy lives.

    Are you now using studs and girls from unrelated (to the original studs) lines yourself?

    Is the AHT or some other genetic registry collecting the samples? what can we (as mere bystanders to the breeds) do to help?

    My concern is that burmese are used as outcrosses for other breeds (such as the cornish and devon rex) and of course are part of the history of many other breeds too. This is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode!

    Thanks again for highlighting this, and apologies for cutting into your post, it just seemed the easiest way to reply to each section!

    Perhaps this thread could be made a sticky as its vitally important for anyone breeding cats with burmese ancestry or burmese outcross programs

    xxx
     
  7. lizward

    lizward PetForums VIP

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    The supplement has now arrived - literally ten minutes after I phoned up to ask them to send the replacement by special delivery GRRRR! :incazzato:

    Liz
     
  8. billyboysmammy

    billyboysmammy PetForums VIP

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    ARGH!!!!


    I bet your spitting feathers!
     
  9. Milly22

    Milly22 PetForums VIP

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    Poor Gordon what a lovely boy he is. I hope he does get better as he gets older but agree that breeders sticking their heads in the sand isn't going to make it go away!
     
  10. lizward

    lizward PetForums VIP

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    I suppose so. The initial dose was what was suggested on the bottle but it has been doubled since then.

    I think the issue is that Gordon is growing (albeit not very fast) and so a change in the amount he needs is probably inevitable until he stops growing. That said, I have read of cats having episodes even though they seem to be stabilised on their supplements. I have no idea why this should be, it rather suggests that dietary potassium isn't always enough to make up the body's deficiency.

    I haven't found any papers on it at all, mostly it seems to occur in elderly cats with kidney failure, but this is clearly the hereditary variety.

    A joke indeed. This isn't a new condition. If people had been open about it from the start we probably wouldn't be seeing it much by now. People will say we haven't seen it a lot but I rather suspect that is due to misdiagnosis and / or refusing to admit to it. There had never been a confirmed case in the Asians before mine but one stud is now known to have sired a HK kitten about 8 years ago. The chances of there being no others are, I would say, rather small!

    Absolutely!

    This is the difficulty: the stud that is suspected of being the link between my two carrier cats, was so widely used in the breed that eliminating all his descendants would cause a severe bottle neck, leading to even worse problems. I am no longer breeding from either carrier, of course - fortunately I planned to move on from both of them fairly soon anyway so it wasn't too much of a hardship to have to do so a year or so earlier than planned. Unfortunately the boy was behind all my third generation Asians - and I have been waiting for my fourth generation for 15 years already (due to an almost total line wipeout with FIP plus something else never identified). So the plan is this: 1. to move on as fast as possible from my present third generation cats (unless the genetic test becomes available in the meantime) - the risk of a cat being a carrier effectively halves with every generation, as long as you do not mate to another carrier 2. Not to sell any of these cats for breeding - this is so unlike me, but very necessary. Unfortunately four of the girls I bred from that stud went for breeding in the last two years (I have, of course, alerted their owners) 3. To hold on to any kittens where there is any possibility of HK developing, until they are old enough to be sure it hasn't developed (this could potentially involve two litters, with a 1 in 4 chance per kitten of the kitten developing HK, but only of course if both parents turn out to be carriers. I am therefore hoping for two very small litters!) 4. If any of my cats are proved to be carriers, to remove them immediately from my breeding programme.

    Samples are being collected both by Tin Gruffydd-Jones at Bristol, and by Leslie Lyons in the USA. Please feel free to tell rescues and vets about this condition - I suspect many cats have been PTS simply because the wrong dianosis has been made.

    Indeed! The irony in my case is that neither of my burmese are under suspicion, my own Asian lines were clear until this generation, and both Gordon's parents were bought in as new breeding stock - and both have rather less Burmese in them than is the norm for this breed.

    Liz
     
    #10 lizward, May 19, 2010
    Last edited: May 19, 2010
  11. billyboysmammy

    billyboysmammy PetForums VIP

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    Thanks liz i will pass this all on to the rescues i am in touch with and ask them to do the same, i'll also pass it on to other breeders i'm touch with xx
     
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