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Kidney Disease In Cats

Education > Cat Health & Behaviour 5th April 2019
 


The kidneys play a vital role in removing waste products from the bloodstream, retaining essential nutrients such as potassium, maintaining hydration, and producing urine.

For cats with chronic renal failure, the function of their kidneys has deteriorated. This results in the body’s inability to remove waste matter and purify the blood. Cats usually show no signs of disease until 75% of their kidney function is gone. This means by the time your cat shows obvious signs of the disease, it could already be in the advanced stages.

SIGNS OF KIDNEY DISEASE

Excessive thirst and increased urination are the main signs that your cat’s kidneys are not functioning properly. However, diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, and liver disease are a few other conditions that share these symptoms. Other signs include:

  • weight loss
  • poor coat quality
  • inappropriate urination
  • vomiting

Renal failure is usually diagnosed by a blood test and urinalysis to determine the extent of the disease and allow our vets to proceed with the best course of treatment.

The risks associated with chronic renal failure can be minimised by maintaining a high-quality diet and good hydration. Some cats may require regular subcutaneous fluids administration to prevent dehydration.

MY PET IS NOT DRINKING ENOUGH WATER. WHAT CAN I DO?

  • Always make sure fresh water is available and change it regularly.
  • If your pet prefers running water, try a water fountain.
  • Experiment to see if your pet prefers shallow or deep bowls, stainless steel or ceramic bowls.
  • Add water to food whether it is dry or canned food. Start with a small amount.
  • Add flavouring to the water by mixing in small amounts of broth or canned food.
  • Use a syringe to feed small amount of water through the side of the mouth.

Once kidney disease is diagnosed, there are many specific diets available which can help support the kidneys to maintain good function. The key is early diagnosis through regular screening tests. Health screening is not just for seniors – it is for dogs and cats of all life stages. Many animals do not display signs of diseases that may have developed. Early detection, pain control and treatment can prolong the quality of our pets’ life.