Treating Eclampsia During Feline Pregnancy

Although there are a variety of complications that may arise during or after a feline pregnancy, eclampsia is one of the most serious. Learn to recognize the causes and symptoms of eclampsia in a pregnant cat so that you may quickly and adequately respond to this life-threatening condition.

What Is Feline Eclampsia?

Feline eclampsia is a condition in which a pregnant cat's blood calcium levels drop, resulting in hypocalcemia. Without prompt treatment, a cat suffering from hypocalcemia may suffer permanent injury or even death.

What Are the Causes of Feline Eclampsia?

As a pregnant cat prepares to give birth, or as a new mother nurses her young, her body uses up more calcium than usual. As this happens, the mother's blood calcium becomes depleted, and the cat becomes hypocalcemic. Although this is a normal process, it is important to have a veterinarian monitor your cat's blood calcium levels during and after a pregnancy. Feline eclampsia usually develops when there are additional factors that contribute to hypocalcemia.

Feline eclampsia is exacerbated by inappropriate or calcium-low diets, or if your cat has a condition that prevents her from processing calcium sufficiently. In these cases, your cat's blood calcium levels may be abnormally low before pregnancy, and the additional calcium necessary to carry the pregnancy to term may cause feline eclampsia.

What Are the Symptoms of Feline Eclampsia?

Look for the following symptoms of eclampsia if your cat is pregnant or has recently given birth:

  • Twitching or convulsions
  • Lethargy
  • Panting or quick breathing
  • Difficulty walking or eating
  • Fever

If you detect one or more of these symptoms, have your cat examined by a veterinarian immediately. In order to diagnose the condition, the veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical exam and a series of blood tests.

How to Treat Feline Eclampsia

The appropriate treatment method for feline eclampsia depends upon your cat and the severity of the condition. In emergency situations, intravenous calcium or calcium supplements may be necessary. These boost your pet's calcium levels immediately. Although it may seem counterintuitive, providing your pet with calcium supplements if she does not already have feline eclampsia may disrupt her ability to absorb calcium appropriately, which may in turn cause her to develop the condition.

Vitamin D supplements help your cat to absorb calcium, either from food, an oral supplement, or an intravenous dextrose solution. Your veterinarian may also prescribe valium for your pet in order to ease her symptoms.

Preventing Feline Eclampsia

The best prevention for feline eclampsia is a high quality diet. Ensure that your cat eats all of her food so that she receives all of the nutritional benefits provided. It is also crucial to take your pregnant cat for routine veterinary examinations. These may prove helpful in detecting hypocalcemia before it becomes a serious threat to your pet's livelihood.

Understand the prevention methods, causes and symptoms of feline eclampsia in order to best protect your pregnant cats against this dangerous health condition.