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How Do Cats Die From Kidney Failure

Can Cats Die Suddenly From Kidney Failure

What Are The Symptoms Of A Cat Dying Of Kidney Failure?

Acute kidney disease comes on suddenly and is most often brought on by trauma, poisoning or toxicity, or some condition that causes kidney failure. The more common diagnosis is chronic renal failure , a progressive disease that impacts kidney function over time. CRF is the leading cause of death among older cats.

Signs Of Renal Failure

Symptoms of kidney failure in cats vary and not all cats will experience the indicators which range from blindness to depression.

Diagnosis of Feline Kidney Disease

Your vet will need to carry out a clinical examination to determine whether further testing will be required. A blood test will measure the amounts of blood urea nitrogen and creatinine a high level will point to abnormal kidney filtering. A high level of phosphorus is also an indicative mark as it accumulates in the blood.

Further examination may also show evidence of nodules or cyst on the kidney that may indicate cancer. Or kidneys may be undersized or abnormal in shape. Lymph nodes may also be enlarged.

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How Does Kidney Failure Occur

Hypersensitivity reactions can occur with any medication, but tend to be very rare for Albon use in cats.

Kidney failure occurs when at least two-thirds of each kidney is damaged. With this much damage, the kidneys cannot perform their essential functions.

Kidney failure can be acute or chronic.

Acute kidney failure occurs when the kidneys suddenly stop working. Some of the many causes of acute kidney failure are toxin ingestion and shock.

Chronic kidney failure, also called chronic kidney disease, develops over many years. It usually begins when cats are about six years old and becomes progressively worse as the nephrons slowly die. When more nephrons die than can be replaced, kidney failure becomes apparent.

Chronic kidney failure is much more common than acute kidney failure in cats, so well focus on chronic kidney failure.

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Treatment Of Kidney Failure In Cats

Since the kidneys cannot repair themselves, there is no cure for CKD. Several things can be done to slow the progression of disease, however. One of the best things that can be done for a cat with CKD is to feed them a veterinary therapeutic renal diet that has been clinically proven to prolong survival time.

These diets are low in protein to decrease the workload of the kidneys, and they contain low levels of phosphorus to slow disease progression and increased fat to supply extra calories. If a cat will not eat a renal diet, however, they should be fed whatever food they will eat to ensure that they receive enough calories and nutrients.

In addition, phosphate binders can be prescribed for cats with high phosphate levels that do not lessen with dietary management, and ACE inhibitors can be used to reduce the presence of protein in the urine.

Any underlying diseases, like hypertension, urinary tract infections, or anemia, should be addressed to prevent deterioration. Fluid therapy can be considered to keep cats hydrated, and some owners may even be able to give subcutaneous fluids at home.

Lastly, anti-nausea medications and appetite stimulants can be considered in cats with decreased appetite, nausea, or vomiting.

The frequency of monitoring in cats with kidney failure depends upon IRIS stage and how stable the patient is, with more frequent monitoring required for cats with more severe disease.

How Is Kidney Disease Treated

The truth about renal diets for cats

Both acute and chronic kidney disease have some similar consequences: changes in blood volume, dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, change to urine production, acid-base imbalance, anorexia, vomiting, and heart and brain disorders. General treatment aims to address these consequences.

Im going to give you way more info here than youll ever need. But hopefully, it will give you some idea of what to expect if kidney failure treatment is recommended for your cat. Feel free to skim read!!

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Types Of Kidney Failure In Cats

There are two types of kidney failure in cats. Each type differs in causes, treatment options and prognosis.

Acute Renal Failure

If your cat is suffering from acute kidney failure, it means that their kidneys are suddenly unable to function properly. This type of kidney failure occurs suddenly, within days or weeks. If diagnosed in time, acute renal failure can often be reversed.

It can happen in cats of any age and typically results from poisons, trauma, infection, organ failure, urethral blockages, dehydration and other causes. Poisons, such as toxic plants, pesticides, cleaning fluids and human medications, are the most common cause of acute renal failure.

Chronic Kidney Failure

Chronic kidney failure in cats is a gradual condition that typically develops over several months or even years. This type of kidney failure is typically caused by autoimmune diseases, cysts in the kidneys, and genetics.

Chronic kidney failure is a progressive illness that can lead to total kidney failure, where the kidneys gradually stop working as they lose the ability to filter toxins out of the blood.

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Kidney Failure In Cats: Vet’s Guide To Symptoms And Treatment

Kidney failure due to chronic kidney disease is commonly diagnosed in older catsread on to learn more about this condition and how to spot it

Kidney failure in cats can be due to CKD, Chronic kidney disease, or acute kidney injury. CKD is a type of kidney failure, and it is one of the most common diseases seen in geriatric cats.

Having pet insurance in place when you get a cat can help offset the financial costs associated with CKD and kidney failure so that you can focus your attention on caring for your feline friend.

Keep reading to learn more about kidney failure in cats, what signs to look out for, and how its treated.

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First Signs Of Kidney Failure

Kidney failure might be acute or chronic.

  • Acute kidney failure develops in a matter of days, usually because thedog ingested a toxic substance such as antifreeze or human medication.
  • Chronic kidney failure is the result of underlying medical conditions and affects older dogs.

Surprisingly, dental disease is one of the causes for renal failure in dogs because mouth bacteria enter the bloodstream and attack the organs.

At first, you wont notice any noticeable signs.

However, since the kidneys are struggling to filter the toxins, urine production increases in an attempt to remove as much waste as possible. As a result, Lucky starts to drink more often.

So, the initial symptoms of kidney failure in dogs are excessive drinking and increased urination.

Youll probably notice that your fur baby is making frequent trips to the water bowl or that you have to fill the bowl far more often than before.

Your pooch might also start to have accidents in the night or pee in the house during the day.

Unfortunately, pet owners overlook inappropriate urination. They think its a behavior problem when its a medical one.

Thats why its important to take the dog to the vet if you observe any change in his habits.

Moreover, the symptoms of renal failure do not appear until a large portion of the kidneys has been damaged.

So, when you notice these first signs, its likely that your dog has been ill for quite some time.

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What Are Signs Of Illnesses In Cats

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General signs of the disease. Affected cats often have fever and fatigue that are not easily recognized in feral cats. If your cat seems to have lost her appetite, is losing weight, has diarrhea and is vomiting, see your vet as these symptoms can indicate anything from an underlying gastrointestinal problem to a life-threatening infestation.

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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.

Is My Senior Cat Dying

As cats grow older, illnesses become increasingly likely. Heart disease, cancer, and kidney failure become a greater risk in older cats. Senior cats also have weaker immunity, so respiratory infections and other illnesses take a greater toll.

Your cats health may appear to take a sudden turn to the worse. This is not as abrupt as it seems, as cats are adept at hiding pain and illness. However, your cat could have been sick for some time but hidden it from you. If your cat is reaching the end of its life, it will be more likely to display the following behaviors:

  • Hiding or clinginess
  • Heavy, labored breathing

If you notice these signs, your cat is not dying. However, if your cat is geriatric, it will be far closer to goodbye than hello. Prepare yourself for this in order to manage the psychological impact of the loss of your cat. You may also need to make a difficult decision. A dying cat may be in pain, so it could be more humane to consider euthanasia.

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What Are The Stages Of Kidney Failure

An official staging system, developed by the International Renal Interest Society , assigns a stage to chronic kidney failure according to fasting blood creatinine levels. There are also sub-stages, which consider blood pressure and protein in the urine.

The main stages are 1 to 4 . Your cats stage of kidney failure will guide treatment.

You can find the most recent IRIS staging guidelines here.

What Are The Symptoms Of End Stage Kidney Failure In Cats

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Symptoms of end stage kidney failure in cats include dull sunken eyes, inability to walk, body odour, incontinence in bladder or bowels, refusal to eat or drink, seizures, confusion, pacing and restlessness, withdrawing, hiding and running away.

Though more than one of these symptoms will be present, you may not see all of them in your cat. With kidney failure, there are no easy answers, as different symptoms may be present at different times.

These symptoms can also be signs of other illnesses, which is why early diagnosis, disease management and communication with your vet is critical.

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Kidney Failure Treatment Options

Depending on the type and stage, several treatment options may be available for your cat.

Mainly, the treatment of cats with kidney failure is done to manage symptoms and slow down the diseases development.

Options include dietary therapy, vitamin injections, supplements to correct low potassium and iron levels, management of high blood pressure, and fluid replacement, especially for dehydration.

Though these methods may not completely reverse kidney disease, it can improve your cats quality of life and longevity and bring it back to almost normal.

For elderly cats with end stage kidney failure, however, the best option may simply be to make them as comfortable as possible, keeping them nice and warm with their food, water, and litter box nearby.

All they may crave as the number of their days dwindles is your quiet human presence.

If your cat is visibly suffering and in pain, you may want to discuss the option of euthanasia with your vet.

What Is Involved In The First Phase Of Treatment

In the first phase, high doses of intravenous fluids are given to flush out the kidneys and bloodstream. This flushing process is called diuresis and helps mildly damaged kidney cells to function again by removing the toxic metabolites and creating a healthier environment for healing.

If enough functional kidney cells remain, they may be able to adequately meet the bodys needs for filtration and waste removal. Fluid therapy includes replacement of various electrolytes, especially potassium. Other important aspects of initial treatment include proper nutrition and drugs to control vomiting and diarrhea. Your dog will often begin to feel better soon after this stage of treatment is begun.

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How Is Ckd Treated

Dietary management and correction and prevention of dehydration are crucial factors in treatment. Other treatments, such as supplementing with potassium or phosphate binders, and treatment for hypertension or anemia may also be recommended. Your veterinarian will thoroughly discuss your cats treatment plan and your role in it. We recommend that you prepare any questions you may have and actively participate in the conversation.

Cats with CKD need extra support, but theyll return your effort with the love only a cat can give hopefully for years to come!

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This article was reviewed by Cat Healthy feline specialist Dr. Margie Scherk, DVM, DABVP andsponsored by IDEXX.

Nursing The Cat In End Stage Kidney Failure

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Nursing is an essential part of caring for a seriously ill cat. You should keep the cat indoors for her own protection. Bed the cat down on a comfortable padded surface, such as Vetbed or a puppy pad on top of blankets. Check the cat regularly in case she has soiled and is lying in urine. If she is not moving around, encourage her to change position when awake to reduce the risk of bedsores. She may feel the cold easily, so ensure the room is warm or provide a heat mat.

The cat will not want to walk far so place a litter box, food, and water within easy reach. Most sick cats feel better for a gentle brush and having their eyes, nose, and mouth wiped clean with damp cotton wool. Let her rest but also provide quiet companionship and fuss when she is awake.

“Today I made the decision to put my Mister down. It wasn’t fair to him to prolong the inevitable. The vet was amazing and I held him through the entire process. I have a huge gaping hole in heart but I know that I did the right thing.” — Reader comment from Sherry Purdue

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How Long Can My Cat Survive If It Has Kidney Failure

First and foremost, it is probably ambiguous as to how long your cat may actually live with kidney failure. It can be scary too because watching your cat go through all the pain when you could just put it down to relieve it can be tough.

But many times, cats with kidney failure end up surviving and living a healthy life, so it is important to have an idea of what time range you are looking at for your cat.

Now, we know that every cat is different, and a lot of factors come into play when we talk about how long kidney failure takes a cats life.

But generally, if your cat with kidney failure is old, then it may survive for around 2 months, with medications at most.

Kidney failure is very common in cats above 14 years, and their chances of survival significantly drop after that age.

However, the survival period may vary in younger cats, because their other organs are working well and work together to keep the cat alive.

Do note, that no one can affirm when your cat will pass away, vet estimates are the closest thing you can find to accuracy and even then some cats outlive these deadlines, which is a good thing.

Learning these facts will help you analyze whether your cat needs to be euthanized or not.

Creating Brighter Futures For Cats With Chronic Kidney Disease

Katie Burns

Cats with chronic kidney disease can now live longer, better lives than ever before.

Its been a very exciting time over the last decade or so in that weve really enhanced our abilities to diagnose and detect chronic kidney disease, said Dr. Shelly L. Vaden, a professor of internal medicine at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Weve also made many improvements in medical management.

Dr. Vaden was speaking during the New Therapeutic Approaches to Chronic Care Symposium at the AVMA Virtual Convention 2020 this past August. Another convention presentation focused on RenalTech, a new tool from Antech Diagnostics that uses artificial intelligence to predict which cats will develop chronic kidney disease in the next two years.

During an October 2020 webinar from Morris Animal Foundation, Dr. Jessica Quimby, an associate professor of small animal internal medicine at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, spoke about trying to develop a deeper understanding of CKD in cats while still improving on practical aspects of treatment.

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How Is Kidney Failure In Cats Diagnosed And Treated

Your vet will do a comprehensive examination of your cat, including blood and urine tests, X-Rays, and possibly an ultrasound. A kidney biopsy might also be required to diagnose kidney failure.

If kidney disease is found, treatments could include intravenous fluids to correct dehydration, vitamin injections, supplements, medications, and possibly surgery to remove blockages. When treating kidney failure the goal is to manage the symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease.

You can support your cats treatment with a carefully managed diet and plenty of clean fresh water. Your vet will recommend that you gradually transition your cat to a kidney diet that is low in both phosphorus and protein, and is enriched with vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.

For cats with end-stage kidney failure, they will require palliative care in their final days will mean keeping them warm and comfortable, with food, water and a litter box nearby, as well as lots of loving human companionship.

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.


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