Chronic Renal Failure in Cats
failure can take place so slowly that by the time the symptoms have become
obvious, it may be too late to treat effectively. While cats of any age can be
diagnosed with kidney failure, it is most commonly seen in older cats. This is
why routine annual blood work is recommended in cats starting at the age of 7.
responsible for regulating blood pressure, filtering the blood, electrolyte
balancing, and production of red blood cells and some hormones among other
things. For this reason, symptoms may
vary and occur gradually.
-Seizures and comas
-Blood in the urine (hematuria)
-Increase in the frequency and volume
Causes of kidney failure include
primary kidney disease, certain medications, lymphoma, and hereditary factors.
Due to the
many symptoms and causes of kidney failure recommended tests include a blood
chemistry profile, a complete blood cell count, and a urinalysis. These
tests look for the levels of certain protein enzymes and chemicals such as
creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN).
Another important diagnostic tool for of chronic kidney failure is
x-rays and/or ultrasound imaging. These help to observe the size and shape of
the kidneys to see if there are any noticeable abnormalities. Often, chronic
kidney failure causes the kidneys to become abnormally small.
there is no cure for chronic kidney failure, there are numerous steps that can
be taken to minimize the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Cats suffering from chronic kidney failure
may need to undergo fluid therapy often to assist with depleted body fluid
levels (dehydration). Maintaining hydration is critical. Intravenous (IV) fluid therapy may be
necessary for some patients, while subcutaneous (under the skin) fluid therapy
may be indicated in others depending on the progression of the disease and
level of dehydration. At times
subcutaneous fluids may need to be continued at home.
Dietary protein is sometimes
restricted since it can further compound the condition. Specially formulated food will have a higher
level of potassium and polysaturated fatty acids (omega 6 and 3 fatty acids);
both have shown to be beneficial to kidney health.
Phosphorus binders and vitamin D
supplements may be implemented in an attempt to improve calcium and phosphorous
level, and to reduce some of the secondary effects of renal failure. Other medications, including appetite
stimulants and anti-vomiting medications are sometimes needed to treat the
secondary gastric (stomach) ulcers and gastritis that develop, secondary to
renal disease, which often reduces the patient?s appetite. Hypertension (high
blood pressure) is prevalent in cats with chronic kidney failure and medications
to control the blood pressure may be warranted.
Chronic kidney failure is a
progressive disease. Cats experiencing
this disease should be monitored on an ongoing basis with frequent check-ups including
blood work, urinalysis, and blood pressure to ensure that it is not necessary
to make changes to the medications, diet, or fluid therapy.
The patient?s prognosis depends on
the severity of the disease, how fast it is progressing. The best way to manage this disease is to
follow through with the treatments your veterinarian prescribes.