Feline Kidney Disease

Feline kidney disease is more common in older cats, but can occasionally be found in younger cats as well. Symptoms can come on suddenly, which is known as acute renal failure. Sometimes however it will happen more gradually, taking months or even years to show fully. This is known as chronic renal failure.

With these types of diseases the kidneys begin to shut down. They stop functioning as they should, and ultimately lose the ability to concentrate the cat's urine.

Acute kidney disease happens rather quickly, and the cat may develop ulcers in the mouth. This makes it difficult for the cat to eat or drink.

The most common cause of acute kidney failure is from a cat swallowing something harmful or poisonous, like antifreeze or an Easter Lilly. It is important to treat a cat right away to prevent as much damage to the kidneys as possible.

What Feline Kidney Disease Symptoms Should I Look For?

One of the first noticeable symptoms is the increased drinking of water and peeing. This is also a sign of other feline diseases, so a blood test needs be done by your vet.

Most symptoms however, will not show up until it is almost too late, usually when about 75% of the kidney tissue has lost its function.

Here is a list of symptoms to look for:

  • Excess thirst and urination
  • Nausea
  • Grinding of jaw
  • Vomiting and drooling
  • Dehydration
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Oral Ulcers
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Bad Smelling Breath (of ammonia)
  • Lethargy
  • Low Temperature, Convulsions, Coma (end stages)

Important Note: If you have a cat with kidney disease or kidney failure, he should not be vaccinated. This is because research suggests that there is a correlation between the feline distemper vaccination and a chemical cause of chronic renal failure.

What Feline Kidney Disease Treatment Options Are There?

There is no cure for feline kidney disease. The condition can be treated over time through proper diet, medication and diuresis.

Newly available is the use of kidney transplant and dialysis.

How Is Feline Kidney Disease Diagnosed?

If you have any suspicions that your cat is suffering from this disease, you should take him to the vet at once. Your veterinarian will do some tests that will analyze his blood and urine

These tests will determine whether or not your cat's kidneys are able to pass any waste, and if the urine is diluted.

What's the Proper Diet For Feline Kidney Disease?

Feeding your cat the right food is important, but there is some confusion with what the right diet is for a cat going through kidney failure is.

There are some who recommend restricting protein. This is rather controversial according to the Colorado State University, which is conducting new research. Their research indicates that protein does not cause a cat's kidneys to fail, and has no effect on renal disease. Certain studies even suggest that not giving enough protein will cause even more damage to the kidneys, amongst other organs in your cat's body.

Giving your cat an all dry food diet has also been suggested as a cause of chronic renal failure in cats. The reason for this is the lack of water that they ingest from the dry food, versus if you were to serve canned or natural foods.

The most important thing is to consult your vet, and then do what you feel is best for your cat. 


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