kidney failure in cats is a disease more common than I would like to recognize, especially in older cats, but can also affect cats of any age.

You already know that I like to keep you informed of the most common cat health problems and I have dedicated efforts to let you know why your cat does not urinate or why it does not use the litter box correctly.

If a while ago I told you about cystitiskidney stones, and urine infections, today is the time to find out what kidney failure in cats consists of .

I want you to know the symptoms to put you on alert and also, how to prevent and control the progression of this ailment that can be fatal for your dear life partner.

What causes kidney failure in cats

Renal failure in cats occurs when one or both kidneys fail. It is not really a disease as such, but rather it is a syndrome that reduces their functionality.

At this point I want you to understand the vital importance of the renal system for the proper functioning of the body , since it is responsible for filtering the blood and eliminating waste through the urine.The usual thing is that when the kidneys begin to fail, they compensate until the damage is so advanced that symptoms derived from the accumulation of toxic substances begin to appear. At this point, if you go to the vet your cat will already be very sick.

This implies that the disease has been developing for a long time, hence it is advisable to perform blood and urine tests once a year in felines from 7 years old.

There are certain factors inherent to the cat and the environment that predispose to chronic kidney disease. For example, aging has been related to difficulties in the kidney’s protective systems, but initial causes such as:

  • Polycystic kidney disease, the most common congenital pathology that affects Persian cats and their crosses.
  • Stones in the upper urinary tract.
  • Chronic viral infections such as leukemia or immunodeficiency.
  • Bacterial pyelonephritis.
  • Renal lymphoma.
  • Unbalanced diets
  • Poisonings
  • Ischemia is a result of reduced blood flow.

Apart from the chronic version of kidney failure in cats, there is also an acute variant that can appear suddenly and is usually due to poisoning or infections. What’s more, an untreated urine infection can progress and damage the kidneys. This type of failure is more likely in young felines.

The veterinarian through a blood and urine test will be able to know the state of the cat’s kidneys. The professional will assess the density of urine and blood, values ​​such as urea, creatinine, and the biomarker SDMA. As an adjunct, ultrasound scans can also be done to determine kidney function and the extent of the damage.

Unbelievable Things You Should Know About Kidney Failure in Cats 1

Stages of kidney failure in cats

This disease can be of greater or lesser severity, and depending on it, an agreement has been reached to classify it into different stages.

According to the IRIS (International Renal Interest Society) classification, there are four stages, each with its own characteristics and specific treatment recommendations.

  • Stage 1: it assumes a creatinine value lower than 1.6, with the SDMA not higher than 18. It implies that there is no azotemia, that is, an increase in certain substances in the urine.
  • Stage 2: creatinine is between 1.6 and 2.8. SDMA is between 18 and 25. There are substances in the urine in a mild form, but without clinical signs. Apparently, the feline is healthy. At this point, it is advisable to start with a specific diet.
  • Stage 3: defined by a creatinine value between 2.9 and 5 and an SDMA between 26 and 38. Azotemia is moderate and at this time some symptoms begin to appear.
  • Stage 4: creatinine reaches a value greater than 5 and SDMA exceeds 38. Azotemia or the presence of substances in the urine is serious.

Symptoms of kidney failure in cats

It is vital to know the symptoms derived from kidney failure. They may go unnoticed at first because they are mild or nonspecific , but I advise you to pay close attention.

To make it easier for you to identify them, I am going to differentiate them according to whether the insufficiency is acute or chronic.

Signs that help detect acute kidney failure :

  • Dehydration You can check this very easily, just take a fold of skin in the area of ​​the withers between your fingers, lift it up and observe how long it takes for the skin to return to its starting position.
  • Depression.
  • Anorexia.
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea.
  • Increase in the amount of urine eliminated or stop urinating, and I can tell you that they have a worse prognosis.
  • Drop-in body temperature.
  • Neurological signs.

If you detect any of these symptoms, I ask you to go immediately to the vet because your cat’s life could be in serious danger.

Clinical signs that may indicate chronic kidney failure and that get worse over time:

  • Increased urine output.
  • Increase in water consumption.
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Depression.
  • Anorexia.
  • The bad appearance of the coat.
  • Hypertension
  • Anemia.
  • Weightloss.
  • Weakness.
  • Bad breath.
  • Wounds in the mouth.

How is Kidney Failure Treated in Cats

Treatment is based on medication aimed at controlling symptoms and following specific dietary guidelines.

To treat kidney failure in cats the role of food is FUNDAMENTAL. You must consider it as one more medicine, that is why you have to resort to diets expressly formulated for this pathology.

Another crucial aspect is keeping your furry companion well hydrated, which is why it is recommended to offer wet food. Just so you understand: a dehydrated cat does not eat. If, for example, your feline-only likes feed, you can moisten it or supplement it with a wet diet.

I advise you to follow the guidelines and advice of your veterinarian to the letter since both an excess and a lack of proteins could be harmful, as well as the phosphorus intake that must be controlled.

When a cat suffers from kidney failure, it is normal for him to have a lack of appetite. Here I already advance you that it is much more important that you eat whatever it is (although it is not the most appropriate) before you do not eat anything.

Apart from food, try to always have several points of clean and fresh water throughout the house. If you can, get an automatic fountain, since moving water is very attractive to cats. You can also offer broths and distribute the food in different daily intakes, it is proven that with this routine cats drink more.

If your cat suffers from acute kidney failure, as it is an emergency, the most important thing is to achieve stabilization. In this case, it is usually necessary to admit the feline to a veterinary clinic to be administered fluids and drugs intravenously.

At this point and if you wonder if there are natural treatments for kidney failure in cats, I anticipate that there is no scientific evidence to corroborate it. What professionals recommend in the first place is to follow a diet formulated specifically for this pathology.

Although you can opt for a homemade diet for your cat (which in certain cases may be better tolerated), it is essential that an expert in feline nutrition be the one who designs the right menu for your life partner.

With regard to the treatment of symptoms, there are medications to combat each one. There are also homeopathic solutions, herbs or Bach flowers, but there are no studies to prove their effectiveness. In any case, you can always talk to your trusted veterinarian who will assess the different options.

Does kidney failure in cats have a cure?

It is a treatable disease, but this does not mean that it has a cure. When there has been a loss of functional kidney tissue, the reality is that the damage is irreversible.

When it is diagnosed, it must be clear that the cat will need lifelong treatment and, even if it is under veterinary control, with the passage of time the ailment will continue to evolve.

The life expectancy since renal failure has been diagnosed is around about 2-3 years, but it is very variable depending on the situation of each cat. The important thing at this point is to focus on offering you the best quality of life. Your well-being should come first.

On the other hand, if your cat suffers from acute kidney failure, it could cause immediate death. In these cases, even if the appropriate veterinary treatment is started, felines that do not respond well in 24-48 hours, unfortunately, usually die. However, those who recover after this serious crisis may go on to suffer from chronic kidney failure.

My goal with this post is to inform you, this in NO CASE is a substitute for MEDICAL care, which is VITAL. I advise you that before any symptoms, discomfort, or change of condition, you go to a veterinary professional immediately.

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