Disorders of calcium and the parathyroid glands

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Calcium is an element essential to various physiological processes; most notably normal neuromuscular function, cell membrane permeability, muscular contraction and blood clotting, as well as acting as a messenger within many cells. Calcium disorders are not infrequently encountered in veterinary medicine and early recognition of clinical signs is essential as cardiac arrhythmias and seizures are potentially fatal with both hyper– and hypocalcaemia. Disorders of calcium homeostasis may arise through primary dysfunction of the parathyroid glands, or as a result of disease processes distant from the glands which alter calcium balance and cause a secondary (appropriate) response from the glands.

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