Does Too Much Protein Cause Kidney Failure In Dogs & Cats
You may have heard that restricting protein is recommended for pets in kidney failure. This has been the standard treatment for decades in dogs and humans. However, in cats, it remains controversial.
The real culprit is not protein but phosphorus, which combines with calcium and gets deposited in the kidneys, causing further damage. Meat contains a lot of phosphorus, so the easiest way to restrict phosphorus is to restrict meat protein. Decreasing phosphorus intake can help some pets feel better, so it may be worth a try if the symptoms are a problem.
However, some studies have suggested that excessive restriction of protein in cats may actually cause further damage to the kidneys and other organs, because there is not enough protein for normal body maintenance and repair. Experts say that these diets are not appropriate for cats until the BUN is at least double what it should be normally , and should never be fed to kittens or healthy cats.
For many animals, a diet with HIGH QUALITY protein will be better than a low-protein diet. Low-protein diets, if not carefully managed, can lead to malnutrition. If a low-protein diet is necessary, bear in mind that non-prescription canned foods are much higher in protein than similar dry foods, but prescription-type foods typically contain poor quality ingredients.
a diet with HIGH QUALITY protein will be better than a low-protein diet.
Signs To Watch Out For
While cats with chronic kidney disease can live for years while undergoing treatment, there may come a point where their kidneys have become too damaged to keep them stable. When this happens, you might observe a few symptoms that are different from the minor ones your cat was displaying before.
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.
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Diagnosing Chronic Kidney Failure
Early stages of chronic kidney disease can be diagnosed with routine yearly blood work and urine tests before clinical symptoms even develop. If your vet suspects kidney failure, they will recommend basic blood work, urinalysis , and blood pressure measurements to help diagnose kidney failure, stage the kidney failure, and discuss proper treatments and supportive care.
Kidney failure is staged in 4 levels, with Stage 1 being the mildest and Stage 4 being the most severe.
Diagnosing Renal Failure In Cats
If you suspect your cat has developed renal failure or kidney disease, a veterinarian examination is warranted. Both urine and blood tests are likely to be run to look for signs of disease and kidney damage. Your cat’s blood pressure may be taken. Your vet will ask you questions to try to discern if there was any potential exposure to toxins or medications.
If there is evidence of kidney damage or a problem with your cat’s kidney’s ability to function normally, X-rays and/or an ultrasound may be recommended.
Recently, a new test has been developed that measures the concentration of symmetric dimethyl arginine , a waste product of protein metabolism. This test is used to detect chronic kidney disease in cats sooner than the traditional blood and urine tests. Earlier detection can lead to treatment that helps prolong cats’ lives.
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Chronic Renal Failure In Dogs Faqs
How long can a dog live with kidney failure without treatment?
Left untreated, dogs in kidney failure will die, usually within a few days to a few weeks. Death is often preceded by loss of appetite, dehydration, weight loss, vomiting, and multi-organ failure.
Can dogs recover from chronic renal failure?
There is no cure for CRF. However, if CRF is caught early and managed correctly, most dogs that experience kidney disease can go on to live a relatively normal life with some changes and long-term management.
Can chronic renal failure in dogs be reversed?
While CRF is not reversible, early treatment can provide your pet with a happier, longer, and fuller life. Regular, semi-annual checkups are key to early diagnosis and treatment of the development of chronic renal disease.
Is Kidney Disease Painful
Kidney disease does not typically cause pain, but it does cause overall discomfort. Managing symptoms is key to making sure your cat feels comfortable, so work with your vet to address any new concerns as they crop up. For example, cats with chronic kidney disease may feel nauseous and refuse to eat. You can ask your vet about ways to coax your kitty to eat her new food.
Your kitty also needs lots of water, as cats with kidney disease quickly become dehydrated. Make sure the water bowl is always full and consider placing multiple water bowls throughout your home for easy access. You can also offer a circulating water fountain, which may appeal to a cat who loves to lick from the faucet.
With a little extra effort, many cats can continue to live happy lives. “Cats can live for years with kidney disease,” Mears says. “It really depends on whether they’re in the earlier or later stages. But often they live for three to six years after diagnosis.”
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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.
Signs & Symptoms Of Kidney Failure In Dogs
There are many signs and symptoms that may indicate your dog is experiencing kidney failure.
Not all of the signs and symptoms may present themselves, so its important to contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice any change in your dogs wellbeing.
There are two types of kidney failure, acute and chronic symptoms and prognosis vary for each.
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Kidney Failure In Cats: Symptoms Diagnosis & Treatment
With old age in cats comes age-related health problems. One of these problems is kidney failure, a progressive disease defined by a significant loss of kidney function.
Kidney failure in cats is a big topic, so were going to cover a lot of material in this article. Well start with some background about the kidneys, then take a deep dive into the nuts and bolts of kidney failure.
Treatment Of Acute Kidney Failure
Acute kidney failure is a serious condition. Aggressive and quick treatment to support the kidneys and manage the underlying cause can be life-saving. Treatment typically consists of hospitalizing your cat and keeping them on IV fluids, administering anti-nausea medications, administering antibiotics if needed, and ensuring they receive proper nutrition. The treatment may take days to weeks. Rechecking blood work and urine tests will help your vet monitor your cats response to treatment.
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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.
Treatment Of Chronic Kidney Failure
Once your vet has diagnosed and staged your cats kidney failure, treatment will be discussed. Options can range from medications that lower blood pressure, treatment to reduce protein loss in the urine, intravenous or subcutaneous fluids, potassium replacement, medications to help improve red blood cell levels, and dietary changes.
There are a variety of prescription kidney supportive diets available. These diets can help your cat feel better and live longer, often for years, depending on the stage of kidney failure your cat is experiencing. Since cats can be picky eaters, you may need to try a variety of diets to find one they enjoy, so dont be discouraged if they refuse a few types!
Encouraging your cat to drink more water will also help support the kidneys. Canned foods contain more fluids compared to dry kibble, so feeding your cat canned food and eliminating the kibble may be recommended. Cats also like to drink from moving water, so purchasing a recirculating water bowl might also entice them to drink more.
Signs Of Kidney Disease In Cats
There are some problems that mimic chronic kidney failure in cats, so the best thing you can do is take them to your vet if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- constipation or diarrhea
- vomiting, or sometimes just nausea
- drinking more than normal
- urinating more than normal, sometimes outside the litter box
- ulcers in the mouth
- depressed, with less energy than normal
Some veterinarians and experienced cat owners can tell you if a cat has kidney disease just based on these signs and how things are going at home, but no one can tell you for sure how bad it is until you have things checked out by a vet.
Symptoms Of Kidney Failure
If your cats kidneys arent removing waste from his or her body, you may notice many signs. General symptoms of kidney failure in cats can include:
Additionally, indications of acute kidney failure include an arched back or stiff-legged gait , and either frequent or no urination.
Because chronic kidney failure may gradually progress over years, you may not notice it. By the time you see symptoms, the disease may already have advanced.
However, with appropriate treatment some cats that have experienced chronic kidney failure live a good quality of life for years to come.
Symptoms of chronic kidney failure include easily bruising or bleeding, and increased urination.
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What Do The Kidneys Do
Regardlessif its in humans or in animals, kidneys are still 100% vital. For dogs,kidneys are found in the middle abdomen, close to their backs. Its actuallyvery closely similar to where the human kidneys are located. Kidneys areconnected to a blood vessel network that is extensive, and also connected tothe vital organs. Kidneys are pretty complicated, both in humans and in animals they do many different things and serve many functions. Kidneys basicallymaintain PH balance and electrolyte balance in our blood. They also filter outthe waste and produce the urine afterwards. The waste is then excreted throughthe urine.
Also, thekidneys that produce the enzymes in the hormones which help to regulatedifferent functions in our bodies. the kidneys and the heart work together in unisonto keep the body operating completely and functioning properly. Just like ushumans, dogs will die if their kidneys fail. However, just like us, they canalso function on just one kidney.
Recovery And Management Of Kidney Disease In Cats
Cats diagnosed early on with kidney disease will benefit from nutritional management and more frequent veterinary attention which may include more frequent checkups and blood work.
Cats in stages I and II may often be monitored for further progression of signs, and some may be given a prescription diet specifically geared to help the kidneys by limiting the amount of work they have to do. Many cats can go on to have a decent quality of life for many months or years, depending on the specific diagnosis.
Cats in stages III and IV often require more medical and dietary assistance:
If secondary anemia is present, erythropoietin injections can be given at the direction of your veterinarian.
Dietary supplements may be prescribed to help with low potassium.
Phosphorus binders may be prescribed to treat high phosphorus levels.
Anti-nausea and anti-emetic medications can be given to cats with a poor appetite, vomiting, or nausea.
Fluids given either intravenously or underneath the skin can help with dehydration, and your veterinarian can show you how to administer these fluids at home.
Because of the severity of signs often seen in cats in stages III and IV and the amount of care and effort required to support these cats, some may be humanely euthanized.
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How Does Crf Affect My Cat
Because the kidneys perform a variety of different functions, the clinical signs of renal failure can be somewhat variable. The most common changes seen are weight loss, poor hair quality, halitosis , variable appetite which may be associated with mouth ulcers, lethargy, and depression. Less common signs include increased drinking or urinating, vomiting, diarrhea, and anemia.
How Is The Disease Diagnosed
Renal disease is usually diagnosed by looking at the level of two biochemical byproducts in the bloodstream, blood urea nitrogen and creatinine, in conjunction with the urine specific gravity . Microalbuminuria is another indicator of CRF. Tests to measure the blood levels of other substances such as proteins, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium, as well as the red and white blood cell counts are important in order to determine the extent of kidney failure and the best course of treatment.
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How Long Can I Expect My Cat To Live
Unfortunately, once the kidneys are damaged, they have very limited ability to recover. However, with proper management, most CRF cases progress very slowly. With treatment, your cat may have several years of good quality, active life ahead.
|Contributors: Ernest Ward, DVM Updated by Amy Panning, DVM|
If He Finds It Difficult To Drink Try These Few Tips :
- Try the water cooler.
- Put a few drops of liquid tuna into the container of water
- You should have several bowls of freshwater within your accommodations
- Change the water every day, or even twice a day in summer
- Avoid plastic bowls and favor those with a wide rim
- Moisten your croquettes with lukewarm water
- When its hot, put an ice cube in its bowl of water.
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Not Eating Or Drinking
If your cat is suffering from kidney failure and reaches a point where they refuse to eat or drink, you should be concerned. Failure to eat or drink will lead to lethargy, dehydration, and weight loss.
You can seek veterinary assistance for medications to help boost your cats appetite. Your veterinarian will recommend medications to combat nausea and appetite stimulants to encourage your cat to eat. Be careful not to force your cat to drink more water than it can as this can cause aspiration pneumonia.
How To Treat Your Cat’s Kidney Disease
Most cats with chronic kidney failure can be treated with either dietary changes or medications. This includes feeding them a diet that is high in protein and low in phosphorus and sodium, which can be supplied through commercial cat food. They will also be given supplements to make up for the nutrients they are not getting from their diet.
Even if your pet has been diagnosed with kidney disease, he can live for many years if he is given the right treatment and care. This all starts with a visit to your vert.
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