How Is Kidney Failure In Cats Treated
The goal of treating kidney failure is to slow the progression of the disease and manage symptoms. Depending on the symptoms and their stages, treatment options may include intravenous fluids to correct dehydration, vitamin injections, medication to manage nausea, supplements to correct low potassium levels, and other measures.
Our Huntersville vets are experienced at treating many conditions and diseases in cats, including co-occuring illnesses. Using advanced technology in our in-house lab, our veterinary team can provide same-day testing and results for efficient, effective care.
For cats with end stage kidney failure, nursing them in their final days will mean keeping them warm and comfortable, with food, water and a litter box nearby, as well as lots of quiet human companionship.
If your cat is in pain with seizures, regular vomiting and soiling, you may want to discuss with your vet whether euthanization should be considered. Though this is probably the most difficult part of pet ownership, if all other measures have failed, it may be time.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition, please make an appointment with your vet.
Is your cat showing signs of kidney disease or other serious illness? At LakeCross Veterinary Hospital, our Huntersville vets can diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions. today.
What Are Symptoms Of End Stage Kidney Failure In Cats
Sometimes, indications of kidney failure in cats are not detected early enough. Thats when the disease progresses to its end stage.
Symptoms of end stage kidney failure in cats include general symptoms we listed above, in addition to inability to walk, body odor, sunken, dull eyes, confusion, incontinence in bladder, bowels seizures, running away, hiding or withdrawing, restlessness, pacing, blindness, twitching, and refusal to eat or drink.
Though your cat will have more than one of these symptoms, you may not see all of them. Their condition may also improve suddenly, but do not let this fool you into thinking he or she is better.
There are no easy answers with kidney failures, as different symptoms may appear at different times. These symptoms may also indicate other illnesses, which is why early diagnosis, disease management and clear communication with your vet is critical to prognosis.
When it comes to symptoms of kidney failure in cats, which stage they are in will factor heavily into his or her prognosis. While chronic kidney disease cannot be cured, your cats longevity and quality of life can improve with early detection, diagnosis and treatment.
About Joanna Pendergrass Dvm
JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM, is a veterinarian and freelance medical writer in Atlanta, GA. After graduating from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine with her veterinary degree, JoAnna completed a 2-year research fellowship in neuroscience at Emory University. During this fellowship, she learned that she could make a career out of combining her loves of science and writing. As a medical writer, JoAnna is passionate about providing pet parents with clear, concise, and engaging information about pet care. Through her writing, she strives not only to educate pet parents, but also empower them to make good health decisions for their pets. JoAnna is a member of the American Medical Writers Association and Dog Writers Association of America.
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The Symptoms Of Cats Kidney Disease
There are various symptoms that will be obvious as the disease progresses, and the disease has impacted its kidney ability to function normally. The following are some symptoms of potential kidney disease you may notice in your cat:
- Increase in urine volume and frequent urination
- The poor condition of the cat coat
If you are not sure of the cause of such health issue, it is better to discuss with your veterinarian immediately to ascertain the cause. The process will consist of some tests on the cat blood and urine to confirm if there is a problem in the pets kidney. Other experiments such as radiographs and ultrasound can also be performed to find out the condition.
Can Kidney Disease Be Reversed
Kidney disease can be managed and deterioration can be slowed down, but it cant necessarily be reversed.
Through proper management, you can certainly improve their kidney values and prolong their life, but you wont ever completely eradicate the disease.
The only situations in which you could reverse kidney failure is when the acute damage is due to infectious disease, urethral obstruction, toxin ingestion, or any other treatable situation.
If kidney damage is the result of an acute and treatable illness, then it is possible to reverse the damage with aggressive care.
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How Can I Help My Cat With Kidney Disease
The best way to help cats with kidney disease is to reduce the amount of work the kidneys have to do. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means theyre designed to eat almost exclusively protein and fat. The kidneys have the job of excreting waste products from the metabolism of protein, so cats kidneys have to work harder than dogs and humans .
Because the kidneys have to work harder, they also age faster, with fibrous tissue being laid down instead of functioning kidney tissue over time. This process is inevitable and irreversible, but cats can actually cope perfectly well even if 75 per cent of their kidneys have aged and become non-functional. By feeding a diet that is reduced in protein, salt and phosphorous, you can reduce the rate at which the kidneys age senior diets or specialist kidney or renal diets are designed to support kidney function.
There is some evidence that omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants may also help cats with kidney disease. Increasing water intake will also help your cat to stay hydrated. They will lose more water-soluble vitamins in the urine, so these may need to be supplemented. Certain medications may be recommended by a vet, if there is protein loss through the kidneys or high phosphorous levels.
What Causes Chronic Kidney Disease
CKD occurs where there is long-standing, irreversible damage to the kidneys that impairs their ability to function and remove waste products from the blood. In most cases, the exact cause of CKD is unknown. Samples from affected kidneys often show a mixture of fibrosis and inflammation termed chronic interstitial nephritis. These are non-specific end stage changes though, and do not tell us anything about the underlying cause. Although most cases of CKD are idiopathic , some causes are well recognised. These include:
- Polycystic kidney disease this is an inherited disease seen mainly in Persian and related cats where normal kidney tissue is gradually replaced by multiple fluid filled cysts
- Kidney tumours for example lymphoma can affect the kidneys
- Infections bacterial infection of the kidneys may lead to sufficient damage to cause CKD
- Toxins certain toxins and drugs can damage the kidneys
- Glomerulonephritis this refers to inflammation of the glomeruli they may become inflamed for various reasons and if prolonged this can lead to CKD
Other conditions such as birth defects affecting the kidneys, trauma, hypokalaemia , and hypercalcaemia may also cause CKD, but work is still going on to discover the underlying cause of most cases of this disease.
How common is CKD?
What is the normal role of the kidneys?
Like all mammals, cats have two kidneys located in the abdomen, which perform a wide variety of important roles, including :
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Can You Manage Ckd In Cats
You can absolutely manage chronic kidney disease in cats. Each cats treatment plan will vary depending on the severity of their disease, but there are almost always options for effective management.
Some ways your veterinarian help to manage your cats disease are:
- Special kidney cat food diets
- Routine blood work
The most important part of managing kidney disease is close communication and follow up with your veterinarian. By working closely with your vet, you can find a management plan that works best for your furry friend.
Dietary Treatment For Kidney Disease
In the early stages, CKD can often be successfully managed with a specialised kidney diet. These diets are balanced to help support the reduced kidney function. They have restricted nutrient levels of protein, as protein breakdown products have to be excreted via the kidneys and can cause further damage. They are often also lower in phosphate, which the kidneys can no longer excrete efficiently, and higher in potassium, which the kidneys can no longer retain.
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How Do The Kidneys Work
When it comes to kidney function, the key word to remember is nephron. Nephrons are the functional units of the kidney. Were all born with more nephrons than we need and as we age, nephrons die off by simple wear and tear and through disease. If too many nephrons are lost, renal failure develops when it happens quickly, its acute and when it happens gradually, its chronic.
The anatomy and physiology of the kidney
One reason cats are more prone to kidney disease than other species is that they dont start their lives with as many spare nephrons. For example:
cats start out with about 200,000 nephrons in each kidney
dogs have about 400,000 per kidney
humans have somewhere around 1,000,000 in each kidney
We can help our cats live longer lives with good diets and advances in medical care, but we cant give them more nephrons.
Treatment Of Chronic Kidney Disease
In many ways the treatment of CKD is simpler than AKD were not trying to reverse the process. Were looking to address symptoms that affect quality of life and hopefully slow down the progression of the disease. Treatment varies with each patient and with the stage of disease.
There are four stages of CKD:
Creatinine 140250 umol/L
SDMA is > 14, but if SDMA is 25, we should consider this cat is in or moving into stage 3
Creatinine 251440 umol/L
SDMA is 25, but if SDMA is 45, the cat may be in or moving into stage 4
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Supplements For Cats With Kidney Disease
Along with a new, healthier diet, your vet may recommend supplements.
Phosphorus binders are one common supplement for cats suffering renal failure.
Vitamin D supplements are another favorite.
Its important to avoid any home remedies or herbal supplements.
Your sweet kitty is depending on you to make good decisions regarding her care now that she is suffering from kidney disease.
Some herbal supplements will do much more harm than good. Its just not worth the risk.
Be sure to follow your vets dietary and supplement advice carefully.
How Is Feline Kidney Disease Diagnosed
If you are concerned that your cat may be suffering from kidney disease, even if theyre not showing any of the symptoms listed here, its worth the peace of mind to visit your veterinarian.
She can run a series of tests to either set your mind at ease or diagnose the problem and begin treatment right away.
At the vets office, your kitty will have a series of quick and painless blood tests done, which includes a chemical blood profile and a complete blood count.
Your vet will also perform a urinalysis and complete physical exam.
Anemia is common in cats with chronic kidney disease.
Your vet will also check electrolyte levels and blood pressure.
If your cat is suffering from renal issues, creatine and blood urea nitrogen will be high.
Ultrasound and x-rays are often used to measure the size and shape of cats kidneys.
As you can see above for my Bubs, his left kidney was almost double to size of a normal kidney.
Also see, that you really cant see his right kidney.
Below is another view showing the size of his right kidney versus his left:
Kitties suffering chronic renal failure often have abnormally small kidneys, which are easy to see on ultrasound and x-rays.
In some cases, your vet may decide to do a biopsy.
This small tissue sample is a reliable way to diagnose kidney problems.
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How Long Can Cats Live With Kidney Disease
The kidney problemâs prognosis is quite variable basing on the response to the treatmentâs initial stage as well as your ability to maintain the follow-up care. In most situations, experts suggest treatment since many cats will be able to respond as well as maintain a sound well-being and quality life for up to 4 years.
Cats Are Masters At Hiding Illnesses But The Sooner Renal Problems Are Diagnosed The Better
One of the earliest and most telltale signs of kidney disease is an unusually wet litter box, which corresponds with increased urination. Kidney failure is a leading cause of death in domestic cats. Generally, this is from chronic kidney failure, but acute kidney failure can be fatal as well.
The kidneys filter out toxins, drug metabolites, and waste materials from the blood via the production of urine. The buildup of toxins in the blood and body may manifest as neurologic signs, vomiting, depression, and even seizures and death, explains Joseph J. Wakshlag, DVM, Ph.D., Cornell Associate Professor, Section of Clinical Nutrition, Section Chief, and a diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Nutrition.
While filtering out the bad substances, the kidneys also work to retain good substances, such as water to help with hydration, sodium to keep blood pressure steady, plus calcium and vitamin D to maintain healthy bones. Potassium is another essential electrolyte that the kidneys help to regulate. While doing that filtration work, the kidneys also manufacture erythropoietin, which is important for the production of red blood cells. Clearly, healthy kidneys are essential to your cats health.
Start by mixing in just a small amount of the new food. As your cat becomes comfortable with the change, add in more of the kidney diet and decrease the amount of his previous diet. Do not use treats or give any table foods that may complicate your cats condition.
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Hills Prescription Diet K/d Kidney Care Wet Cat Food
- Gives good energy to remain active
- E.A.T design to increase appetite
- Variety of flavor among packs
- Packs of 2 sachets and 4 cans
- Suits adult & senior cats
Hills prescription diet cat food is among the top cat foods for sale that are currently available to curb kidney-related ailments. Entire kit contains 8 packs in total, which is enough to maintain cats for a good enough time. Being available in different packaging made our team members highly prefer it. These stated 8 packs appear in a combination of cans and sachets that contain either stew or minced food. Thus, it is very convenient for families with more than one cat, which go for different recipes time and again. Apart from being a dry cat food for renal disease, this one also turns out to be wet minced food hence one can term it as versatile in nature. All packs, which we tried on cats while reviewing, turned out to be of good quality and great taste that no feline resists.
Medication For Kidney Disease
Phosphate binders e.g Pronefra, Ipakitine can be used to reduce excessive phosphate and toxin levels in your cats blood.
ACE inhibitors e.g Benazecare, Fortekor may be used if your cats blood pressure is raised to prevent further damage to the kidneys and any other secondary effects of high blood pressure e.g stroke, heart disease and blindness.
Angiotensin blockers such as Semintra can be used to reduce blood pressure and protein loss through the kidneys. Excessive protein loss through the kidneys is associated with a shorter life expectancy in a cat suffering from CKD.
Potassium supplements may be required in addition to diet, and appetite stimulants and antacids may be prescribed for cats with poor appetite or gastric ulcers.
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How Long Does It Take To Die From Kidney Failure
People with kidney failure may survive days to weeks without dialysis, depending on the amount of kidney function they have, how severe their symptoms are, and their overall medical condition. Is death from kidney failure painful? Not usually. If you do feel any discomfort, pain medication may be prescribed for you.
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Management/ Treatments Of Cats Kidney Disease
Following the diagnosis of chronic kidney disease in cats, a difficult journey to provide treatment and well manage the disease begins. The treatment should include addressing the underlying disease that contributes to current renal damage, strategies designed to reduce the development of the infection and symptomatic support of the kidney complications, such as:
The right diet for cats with kidney problems: It is common to recommend a particular dietary therapy because this has been shown to advance the quality of life and survival of pet with cats kidney disease and can reduce the rate of the illness progression. These diets generally have limited levels of high-quality protein, which limits the amount of protein breakdown waste products for the sick kidneys to excrete. Phosphate levels are also restricted because cats with kidney failure have a propensity to retain excessive amounts of this in the body, which may lead to their feeling sick. These diets also increase the amount of B vitamins and potassium that cats with kidney disease are prone to losing in their urine and increase the number of calories that help cats with little appetite to retain standard body weight. These diets usually have lower levels of sodium which may help reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure.