The Stages Of Kidney Disease
Its important for cat owners to know the distinction between chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney failure. With treatment, cats with chronic kidney disease can live happily and healthily during the diseases first three stages. During this time, you might not even notice that anything is wrong. Most cats show few symptoms of chronic kidney disease in the early stages, which is why owners often dont detect the condition until significant damage has been done.
If left untreated or if it progresses significantly, chronic kidney disease will lead to stage four, or end-stage kidney failure, which is fatal. Cats experiencing end-stage kidney failure are most likely to display severe symptoms. Among the most common symptoms are loss of appetite and recurring nausea. Once kidney disease advances to stage four, the disease has caused irreversible damage to your kittys health, and the end may be near.
Feline Renal Failure Stages
Chronic feline renal failure isa progressive, degenerative disease that affects primarily older cats. This condition is one in which the kidneys are damaged more and more over an extended period of time. As they become damaged, they can no longer completely execute their task of purifying and filtering the liquids of the body. When feline renal failure reaches a certain crucialpoint, your pet will begin to develop outward symptoms. Left unmoderated, this condition can quickly become deadly. Chronic renal failure is not curable, but you and your vet can work together to help manage it, so that your pet can continue to lead a relatively normal, healthy life. According to the International Renal Interest Society, there are three primary stages of feline renal failure.
Monitoring Stage 4 Chronic Kidney Disease:
- Chronic condition exam every 3 months
- Reassess blood chemistries every 3 months
- Reassess blood phosphorus and calcium every 4-6 weeks until stable, then every 3 months
- Reassess blood pressure and urine protein every 3 months
- Home observation for decreased appetite, increased thirst or urination, increased vomiting, lethargy
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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.
Cats With End Stage Kidney Failure Face A Serious Prognosis
Cat kidney failure is one of the most serious conditions that can result in a median survival time of one month and a half. In this stage of a cats development, the kidneys produce a variety of side effects, including vomiting, dehydration, and anorexia, and the kidneys produce a large amount of pain. In most cases, chronic kidney failure does not appear to be a serious problem until it has progressed for several years. If your cat is suffering from acute kidney failure, you may notice a stiff back or an arched back. Your cats kidneys may be in pain as a result of the stiff back or an arched back.
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What Is Kidney Disease In Cats
Kidneys have the important job of eliminating protein waste, producing urine, and balancing the salts, acids, and water in your cats body.
They contribute to healthy blood pressure, make hormones, and are responsible for signaling bone marrow to create more red blood cells.
Kidney disease can interrupt any of these processes to catastrophic effects.
Kidney disease is also known as:
Its a frighteningly common problem for senior cats and even some younger felines.
Renal disease can either be congenital, which means it existed at birth, or it could be developmental, which means it developed over time.
For congenital and developmental, early diagnosis greatly increases the effectiveness of treatment and your cats quality of life.
Though it can be hard to detect, astute pet parents and veterinarians may be able to see the signs before its too late.
Could The Renal Failure Have Been Diagnosed Earlier
Until recently, early diagnosis of chronic renal failure was very difficult. Neither clinical signs of renal failure nor rises in BUN and creatinine are evident until significant loss of kidney function has occurred.
A recently developed blood test to assess levels of SDMA has been used to determine if early renal failure is occurring. SDMA concentrations increase above the normal reference interval well before serum creatinine becomes elevated. This will help your veterinarian provide for treatment for your cat at a much earlier stage in the disease.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Failure In Cats
If your cats kidneys have stopped removing waste from his or her body, you may notice your cat is drinking more water and trying to urinate more. Because toxins are accumulating in the cats body, they may feel nauseated and quit eating their food. Generally, your cat will appear lethargic and not very happy.
Typically, symptoms of kidney failure in cats may include:
If your cat is suffering from acute kidney failure you may also notice an arched back or stiff-legged gait, symptoms that your cats kidneys are causing pain.
Chronic kidney failure gradually progresses over years, and the signs may not be noticeable. By the time you do see symptoms, the disease may already be leading to total kidney failure.
While there is no cure for chronic kidney disease, if its detected and treated early your cats longevity and quality of life can be improved.
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.
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What Do My Cats Kidneys Do
The kidneys have many functions. They principally act to remove protein waste products from the blood stream, retain essential nutrients such as potassium and protein at the correct levels, maintain hydration, and remove waste in urine. They also help regulate red blood cell production, blood pressure and body temperature.
What Are The Specific Types Of Feline Kidney Disease
There are many types of kidney disease in cats. Some are congenital and some are developmental.
Your veterinarian will be able to tell you which type your cat has.
While I cant get into every specific type of renal disease, here are some types you may encounter.
- Renal agenesis is the failure of kidney formation: sometimes kidneys dont form at all.
- Renal dysplasia: means abnormal kidney development.
- If one or both kidneys are displaced, your cat may be diagnosed with renal ectopia.
- And then there is polycystic kidney disease which comes with the formation of cysts throughout the kidney tissue.
Kidneys are complex.
That means there are a lot of things that could go wrong.
Structural issues, blood vessel problems, responses to outside influences, all the way down to the cells that make up the kidneystheres so much to know about these small but important organs.
While listing all of the exact diseases and congenital problems are beyond the scope of this article, I found a comprehensive list right here.
This informative video can also help shed some light on kidney failure in cats:
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How Can You Diagnose Kidney Disease In Cats
The only accurate way to diagnose kidney disease in cats is through diagnostic testing. Your veterinarian will often perform diagnostic blood work and urine analysis testing.
The threat of kidney disease in cats is one of the main reasons why routine exams and senior diagnostics are so important. By performing diagnostics at their recommended time, you can catch this disease in the early stages. Catching kidney disease in cats early will help to prolong your cats life, and prolong their quality of life.
How Can I Treat My Cats Kidney Disease At Home
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to treat your cats kidney disease will vary depending on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. However, there are some general tips that may help to improve your cats kidney health and quality of life. These include feeding a high-quality diet, providing plenty of fresh water, and avoiding dehydration. You may also want to consider supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, which may help to protect the kidneys and reduce inflammation. If your cat is taking medication for their kidney disease, it is important to follow your veterinarians instructions and monitor your cat closely for any adverse effects.
The most common type of chronic kidney disease in cats is one of the most difficult to detect. The disease is usually found in older cats, but it can develop more dramatically and cause significant harm as they age. A cats quality of life and life expectancy can be improved if early detection, support, and treatment are provided. It is very important for cats, just as it is for humans, to have their annual physical. If he exhibits any of the acute symptoms listed below, he should be immediately evaluated by a veterinarian. To make the process easier, cats with CKD require additional assistance, but they will return your effort with the love only a cat can provide hopefully for a long time to come.
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What Causes Kidney Disease In Cats
The causes of renal failure in felines range from hereditary to environmental and everything in between.
Kidneys are delicate and prone to injury, infection, and problems with diet. Sometimes, there is no real reason behind kidney issues other than age. Unfortunately, some veterinary medications can also cause kidney damage over time.
Common causes of kidney disease include:
- ages greater than 7 years old
Types Of Kidney Failure Seen 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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Cats With Kidney Disease Can Safely Take Nsaids New Study Finds
Animal research suggests that NSAIDs can be safely administered to cats with stable International renal Interest Society stage I and II chronic kidney disease . NSAID use can help relieve pain and inflammation in cats withCKD, because cats withCKD have a higher risk of developing pain and inflammation. As previously stated, cats with chronic kidney disease are at an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal issues, and the administration of NSAIDs may help with these issues. In the event that your cat is diagnosed with kidney disease, there are a number of treatments available to you, including intravenous fluids to correct dehydration, supplements, medications, vitamin injections, and possibly surgery. Kidney failure is being treated to slow its progress and manage its symptoms. During veterinary visits, a medication known as gabapentin has been shown to reduce stress in cats. There is some evidence that a lower sedation dose of gabapentin may be beneficial in reducing stress for younger cats, but a lower dose may not be appropriate for cats suffering fromCKD. Gabapentin may also reduce GI pain in cats with CKD because it is more likely to cause GI problems.
How Is Kidney Failure In Cats Is Diagnosed & 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.
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 palliative care will be required in their final days. This will include 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.
If your cat is exhibiting symptoms of kidney failure contact our Greensboro Vets right away or visit your nearest animal emergency hospital.
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How Is Kidney Failure Treated
While not curable, kidney failure in cats is treated using a range of therapies, with most aiming to reduce the kidneys workload, minimize waste products in the blood, replace lost nutrients, and manage clinical signs. Subcutaneous fluids are often administered to cats who have become dehydrated.
Chronic kidney failure is not curable. Treatment goals include reducing the kidneys workload, minimizing waste products from the blood, replacing lost nutrients, and managing clinical signs.
Treatments can generally be grouped into dietary changes and medications. Be aware that not every cat in kidney failure will need every available treatment.
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 Is Kidney Disease Diagnosed In Cats
None of the signs are specific for chronic kidney disease in cats, so we will need to carry out a number of tests to find out what is causing them.
Initially, your cat will need a thorough clinical examination in a free consultation with one of our vets. In addition to the presence of the signs above, we may be able to feel that your cats kidneys are enlarged, painful or shrunken.
There will often be an increase in kidney values on blood tests. These include Urea, Creatinine, Phosphate and electrolyte imbalances. In addition, a newer, more sensitive marker SDMA is helping us to detect the condition at an earlier stage. Even so, we are unable to detect kidney failure until 66% or more of the kidneys are not working normally.
Before your appointment with the vet, we will ask for you to collect, or hospitalise your cat to obtain, a urine sample. Cats with kidney failure will usually have protein in their urine and sometimes blood or cells dependent on the cause.
If your cat is compliant, we will advise blood pressure testing. Blood pressure is often high due to excessive salt retention by the kidneys. We may also suggest X-rays or an ultrasound scan to check for conditions such as polycystic kidneys, kidney stones or tumours.
Diet And Treatment Options For Cats With Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease patients benefit greatly from dietary modification, which is a proven and effective treatment strategy. Low-protein, phosphorus, and sodium diets containing a high concentration of water-soluble vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants may be beneficial to cats with chronic kidney disease, and they may prolong their lives. Do cats kidneys repair themselves? Because of the kidneys limited capacity for regeneration and healing, it is subject to guarded prognoses. Your veterinarian will provide you with a more accurate diagnosis based on your cats clinical signs, laboratory test results, and individual conditions. Does kidney disease cause cats to urinate more? Your cat may require IV fluids to correct dehydration, supplements, medications, vitamin injections, and possibly surgery to remove any obstructions. It is the goal of kidney failure treatment to reduce the severity and duration of symptoms as well as slowing their progression.
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