• adrenal gland;
  • electrolytes;
  • feline;
  • intensive care medicine


Objective – To report successful management of respiratory failure due to severe hypokalemia in a cat with hyperaldosteronism, including short-term mechanical ventilation strategies and aspects of medical and surgical treatment.

Case Summary – A cat presented with bilateral pelvic limb weakness that rapidly progressed to tetraparesis and respiratory muscle failure. Point-of-care testing revealed severe hypokalemia (1.9 mmol/L) and mild azotemia. Initial management included endotracheal intubation, mechanical ventilation, and aggressive potassium supplementation. Spironolactone was started due to a high index of suspicion for hyperaldosteronism. A right adrenal mass visualized during abdominal ultrasonographic examination and a serum aldosterone level greater than 3329 pmol/L confirmed the diagnosis. The cat made a full recovery following surgical removal of a right adrenal adenoma.

New or Unique Information Provided – We report successful management of respiratory failure in a cat with hyperaldosteronism using short-term mechanical ventilation. Respiratory failure due to severe hypokalemia should be considered a complication of hyperaldosteronism in cats and may require mechanical ventilation. However, full recovery is possible.