Malignant Hyperthermia in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment How to Manage and Prevent Malignant Hyperthermia In Cats

Malignant Hyperthermia in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Cats may experience the unusual and potentially fatal condition known as malignant hyperthermia (MH), which causes a rapid and hazardous rise in body temperature. Here is how to manage this disease.

Malignant Hyperthermia (MH) is a rare and potentially fatal disorder that can affect cats, causing a rapid and dangerous rise in body temperature. Exposure to certain drugs or anesthetics frequently causes MH, which can have major side effects such as organ damage, brain damage, and even death.

In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for Malignant Hyperthermia in cats and provide important information for cat owners to help keep their pets safe and healthy.

Can Cats Get Hyperthermia?

Yes, cats may have Hyperthermia. Malignant hyperthermia triggers include certain medications or anesthetics. In particular, it is frequently brought on by the use of depolarizing muscle relaxants like succinylcholine or inhalant anesthetics like halothane or isoflurane. These medications have the potential to quickly and dangerously raise calcium levels in muscle cells, resulting in uncontrollable muscle spasms and an increase in body temperature. Additionally, certain genetic mutations may make some cats more susceptible to developing MH.

Malignant Hyperthermia Symptoms

The symptoms of cat hyperthermia can develop and advance swiftly and can comprise:

  • Rapid and severe body temperature increase (hyperthermia)

  • Shallow, quick breathing

  • Quick heartbeat (tachycardia)

  • Stiffness and/or contractions of the muscles

  • Urine with a deep color

  • Seizures

  • Collapse or loss of consciousness

However, not all cats with MH will exhibit every symptom; some may only show a subset of these signs.


Malignant hyperthermia (MH) in cats can be difficult to diagnose since its symptoms can resemble those of other illnesses. However, there are a number of diagnostic procedures that can aid in determining and validating the presence of MH, such as:

  • Blood tests: Blood tests can be used to check for high levels of muscle enzymes, such as creatine kinase (CK), which can be a sign of muscle breakdown.

  • Urine tests: Urine tests can check for high levels of myoglobin, a protein released when muscles break down.

  • Muscle biopsy: A muscle biopsy can be performed to check for abnormalities in the muscle cells that may be indicative of MH.

  • Genetic testing: Genetic testing can assist in identifying cats that may have a genetic mutation that increases their risk of acquiring MH.

Treatment and Recovery

The goal of treatment for cat hyperthermia is to reduce body temperature quickly, stop muscle spasms, and offer supportive care to address any additional symptoms or problems. The following therapies are available:

  • Stop using the triggering drug or anesthesia right away.

  • Use cooling blankets, ice baths, or fans to quickly cool the cat.

  • Administer muscle relaxants, such as Methocarbamol and Cosequin, to prevent further muscle contractions and lower body temperature.

  • Provide supportive care, such as intravenous fluids, oxygen therapy, and medications to manage seizures or other symptoms.

The degree of the reaction and the speed at which treatment is started determine whether someone recovers from MH. Many cats can totally recover from an MH incident if they receive timely and efficient treatment. However, in extreme circumstances, internal organ and tissue damage may be irreversible, and some cats may develop long-term consequences such as muscle weakness or organ damage.

Prevention Tips

To prevent hyperthermia in kittens or older cats, it is important to inform your veterinarian about any previous adverse reactions to anesthesia or medications and to discuss any potential risks or alternative treatment options. Additionally, it is important to closely monitor your cat during and after any medical procedures involving anesthesia or medications and to seek prompt veterinary care if you suspect any adverse reactions.

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