Chronic Kidney Failure in Cats

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Geriatric cats (8 years of age or older) can develop significant weight loss, increased drinking, increased urination, vomiting and/or diarrhea for various reasons. Most commonly, as doctors, we think of ruling out three common conditions in elderly cats presenting with these signs: hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, and chronic kidney failure. 

Now there are some purebred cats, such as Persians, that statistically exhibit a higher incidence of kidney failure but no type of cat, purebred or otherwise, is exempt from this disease. Since the signs can be more anomalous, bloodwork and a urinalysis are necessary to discern kidney disease from other conditions.

Veterinary medicine has many options to offer in the management of kidney failure in cats, including kidney transplants! However, the typical course for addressing a cat's kidney disease after lab results are obtained depends directly on how compromised your cat's health is and how high and out of range the kidney values are out of normal. By the time elevations in kidney values are seen, it is approximated that 75% of their filtering capacity is already gone.

Recommendations can vary from a mere diet change to medications and subcutaneous fluids (fluids administered under the skin) to admission to one of our local emergency/critical care facilities for aggressive intravenous (IV) fluid therapy and injectable medications administered usually over three days/72 hours, minimum. The intensity of care can be directly dependent on how soon an owner recognizes changes in their cat's appearance and appetite.

We understand that can be tough in a multi-cat household but splitting pets up to find the cat that is either inappropriately urinating, vomiting or not eating can be helpful. If you feel your pet is exhibiting signs similar to kidney disease, call the staff at Piney Creek Square Integrative Veterinary Medicine to schedule an appointment.

Additional information regarding this condition can be found at the following links: