When cats are unable to eliminate urine and waste, they often struggle with internal toxic build-up which can result in kidney failure. This disease can be categorized by two distinctions: acute and chronic kidney failure. Acute kidney disease occurs suddenly, and is usually due to shock, trauma, infection or overexposure to toxins.  This often happens when the cat ingests something poisonous and his body attempts to reject it.   Chronic kidney disease can be the result of genetic illness, a history of infection, long term kidney inflammation, and damage of the nephrons (the kidney’s main functional element).  Whatever form of illness may be assailing the feline, it is imperative to remember that kidney disease is one of the leading causes of death in cats. Fortunately, most cases of kidney disease can be managed over a lengthy period of time, so long as they are properly handled.  Stay informed about the symptoms, causes, treatments and prevention tips to protect your cat from this disease.

Causes

  • High blood pressure
  • Infections
  • Poisoning/Bacteria (this includes anything from antifreeze, to ibuprofen, to detergent).
  • Shock (caused by dehydration, heatstroke, or rapid blood loss, etc).
  • Slower blood flow to the kidneys
  • Kidney stones (or other aspects of obstruction).
  • Organ Trauma (Kidney rupture, bruising, bladder bursting, etc.)
  • Hereditary diseases

Symptoms

  • Increased drinking and urinating
  • Vomiting
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Weakness due to dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Dry coat
  • Constipation
  • Cancerous growths
  • Stumbling or aimlessly walking
  • Pain or sensitivity in the kidney area
  • Hypertension (since kidneys help monitor blood pressure)
  • Bad breath

Treatments

If there is cause for concern,  the veterinarian will take blood samples and run urinalysis to determine the diagnosis.  Once the illness has been confirmed, the vet generally prescribes several of the following treatments:

  • Hospitalization and fluid therapy: This is usually done in cases of acute kidney disease, and allows the feline to replenish fluids and electrolytes intravenously so he will be more likely to recover.   For chronic kidney disease, drastic changes to the lifestyle ought to be made.
  • Change in diet: Monitoring levels of phosphorus and proteins, while making sure the cat stays hydrated will help decrease the symptoms of chronic kidney disease.
  • Medication: Vets can recommend medication to lower high blood pressure, to help guard against anemia, or to treat whatever caused the trauma (such as antibiotics for the infection), etc.
  • Surgery: When objects are obstructing the flow in and out of the kidney, they may be need to be surgically removed. In dire circumstances, kidney removal or kidney transplants are necessary when the organ trauma is irreparable.

Prevention

  • Be aware of genetic disease in certain breeds. Some breeds are more susceptible to this disease than others. Many believe that both Persians and Abyssinian cats are most likely to develop kidney disease.
  • Remove exposure to toxins. Keep human medication, cleaning fluid, poisonous house plants, and dangerous foods far from your cat’s access.
  • Keep your cat indoors. Not only are diseases rampant amongst other animals your cat might come in contact with outdoors, but there are also toxins, bacteria and infections that could be detrimental to your pet’s health and ought to be avoided.
  • Feed your cat a balanced diet. Limit the protein portions, and only offer high quality meats like turkey, liver, and well-cooked eggs. Supply ample omega-3s and vitamin D to help strengthen your cat’s liver.
  • See the vet for yearly check-ups to monitor the kitty’s health. In conjunction with the annual visit to the vet, take action when you notice any physical or behavioral signs of abnormalities. The moment kidney disease symptoms occur, bring your cat to the vet to determine if his kidney is in good condition.

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