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Cat dehydration

Feline Dehydration Causes, Treatments:

Cat dehydration is also known as hypohydration.

This can be a very serious and potentially life threatening condition. The disorder is characterized by the excessive loss of water. With the loss of water, there could also be a loss of electrolytes, which are basically chloride, potassium, and sodium.

Our bodies contain at least sixty percent water and almost all the chemical reactions of our bodies occur in the solution form. Therefore, if the water levels fall even 5% below the normal levels, it can really affect the body. A dehydrated cat should be taken to a doctor immediately.

If immediate attention is not given, it may lead to complications and eventual death. Some of the common cat dehydration symptoms are increased lethargy, heavy panting and dryness in the mouth, therefore, the constant licking of the lips, decreased elasticity of the skin, continued loss of appetite, sunken eyes, and an elevated heart rate. The cat may also appear to be depressed. Cat dehydration causes include chronic vomiting or diarrhea, heatstroke, bladder infections that cause frequent urination, sickness due to which the cat begins to avoid water, shock or blood loss, lack of availability of potable water, and fever.

If the dehydration only causes about 5% decrease in the hydration levels, it is considered to be mild and can be treated at home by increasing the availability of water and electrolytes. If the dehydration causes a 5% to 10% decrease in the water levels of the body, it is considered a moderate loss and should be treated by a doctor. In case the water loss is more than 10%, the cat may need to be hospitalized. When a cat is dehydrated, the capillary refill time is slower and the lack of moisture in the body may also cause constipation because of the re-absorption of water from the colon.

To diagnose cat dehydration, the doctor will grasp the skin at the base of the cat’s neck and slightly pull it up. If the cat is hydrated, the skin will go back to its place normally. However, if the cat is dehydrated, the skin will not retract normally; it will take time to go back to its normal position. The time taken for the skin to retract will determine the extent of the dehydration. Cat dehydration treatments are largely based on the extent of the dehydration. Oral rehydration solutions that consist of water, salt, and sugar should be given to the cat repeatedly. If the cat is not drinking water, it may have to be rehydrated intravenously.

  Submitted on March 2, 2010  

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