In our practice on the most common diseases we see in cats over 7 years old are hyperthyroidism, diabetes and kidney disease. In this article I am focusing on the symptoms of kidney disease in cats (renal failure), the causes and treatment.
Kidney disease can occur suddenly (acute) or gradually (chronic) in cats and there are many causes. A diet of pre-prepared dry food must be accompanied by plenty of fresh available water. Sadly, although convenient, this is not an ideal diet for your cat and may be one of the causes of kidney disease in cats. Other causes that have been suggested in research surround annual vaccination against feline distemper.
Unfortunately, in chronic renal failure (CRF) the onset of the clinical signs is gradual and in many cases may only become apparent when 75% of the kidney nephrons are failing. This process is not reversible. Younger animals can also be affected depending on the cause.
Symptoms of kidney disease in cats include:
– Weight loss
– Loss of appetite
– Increased urination
– Increased thirst
If your cat has any of these symptoms, I strongly recommend that you make an appointment to see your veterinarian.
Cats suffering from chronic renal failure drink a lot of water. However, they cannot drink the amount they need and your veterinarian may well advise the use of subcutaneous fluids which help keep the toxins flushed out of the bloodstream. This is a treatment you will be able to do at home too.
Attention to diet is the best way to keep your cat living comfortably as long as possible. If he or she is used to home prepared foods then so much the better but ensuring your cat eats to maintain weight is the most important consideration. A natural diet of fresh, raw foods based on fish and meats is important while a potassium supplement is often recommended.