Sunday, October 9, 2011

Feline Kidney Disease: what to do if you think your cat might be affected

Kidney failure is a common cause of illness and death in older cats, and many cats seem to begin to show symptoms as the weather starts to turn colder.

The word ‘failure’ implies that the kidneys either work fine or they fail and stop working altogether, but the reality is that kidney failure in cats tends to be a long drawn out process, and how quickly they progress to serious illness depends largely on what you decide to do about it.

1. How do you know if your cat is affected by kidney disease? 

The classic signs of kidney disease are:

- Increased thirst – draining water bowls or drinking from taps.
- Loss of appetite or increasing fussiness with feeding.
- Weight loss

If you think your cat might have kidney disease, you should contact your vet straight away. 

At the Hyde Park Veterinary Centre, we are likely to recommend checking your cat’s blood looking for rising levels of waste products (urea), a protein called creatinine, phosphorus and calcium. We will also advise a urine test to check for excessively dilute urine with higher levels of certain proteins.

2. If your cat is diagnosed with kidney failure, what should you do about it?

- maximise your cats water intake, by feeding wet foods only or adding more water or broth to the food
- try a water fountain that provides constant running water - many cats are temppted by these
- in severe cases, we might recommend giving extra fluids by injection under the skin: you will need help and instruction with this.

- Diet is the single most important factor: the right diet can double your cat’s survival time.
- feed a low protein, low phosphorus diet such as Royal Canin Renal to reduce the amount of waste products produced and control phosphate levels.
- if your cat still has high levels of phosphate in the blood, you can add a phosphorus binder such as Ipakitine or Renalzin to the food
- supplement potassium in the diet if levels are low

- we might well advise regular monitoring of your cat’s blood pressure and will certainly advise treatment it if it rises. Untreated high blood pressure can cause sudden blindness.

- prescription medicines called ACE inhibitors help maintain the blood supply to the kidneys, lessening the likelihood of further damage.

- we use nutritional products such as Rubenal and Essential Fatty  Acid supplements to help maintain kidney function, and high energy feed supplements such as Nutrigel or Nutri Cal can help to maintain bodyweight if your cat is not eating enough calories.

If you think that your cat might be suffering from kidney disease, now is the time to take action: go to your vet and find out what you can do now to make a difference!

PS you can call us during office hours on 0207 723 0453 and one of our vets or nurses will be happy to talk to you about how we can help you and your cat

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