Shock Due to Decrease in Circulation in Dogs

By PetMD Editorial on Nov. 2, 2011

Hypovolemic Shock in Cats

Hypovolemic shock is a condition that occurs when a cat's blood volume or fluid levels drastically drop and shock can begin rapidly. This medical condition affects the renal, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and the respiratory systems of the cat. Hypovolemic shock is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.


  • Severe weakness
  • Cool feet
  • Poor pulse; a pulse that is difficult to read
  • Very low blood pressure
  • Severe lethargy or inactivity
  • Hyperventilation
  • Respiratory failure
  • Hemorrhage


Extensive vomiting, diarrhea, severe external burns and injury can cause blood and fluid loss. Shock may also be result of exposure to anticoagulant substances, recurring illnesses and hazardous materials.

If your cat has gastrointestinal bleeding, it may be unable to circulate blood volume, which is another way shock can occur.


Your veterinarian will want to determine the underlying cause. Blood tests, including blood gas tests will help to determine electrolyte causes or blood related problems. Imaging can reveal if any cardiac problems have led to the shock. Electrocardiography will identify any issues with your cat's heart. Blood pressure readings are used to determine if the issue is related to the heart's pressure and its ability to circulate blood volume through your cat's body.


Treatment is usually administered on an inpatient basis. Immediately, fluid therapy will be given to your cat in order to increase circulation volume and flow.

In order to ensure a successful recovery, ongoing monitoring of your cat's heart rate, pulse, respiratory rate, urine output and body temperature will be taken to. Also, therapeutic steps will be taken to restore your cat's blood volume and circulation levels.

If your cat's body temperature has dropped severely, warming techniques will be used immediately.

Living and Management

There are several possible complications of this medical condition, including electrolyte disturbances, anemia, low protein levels (hypoproteinemia), abnormal cardiac rhythms, and cardiac arrest.


There are no known preventative measures for this medical condition.

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