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Cats - Chronic Renal Failure

  • Renal failure occurs when the kidneys are no longer able to excrete all the bodies waste.
  • Renal disease can occur without Renal Failure as the body has a large reserve. In chronic renal disease, more than 2/3 of the kidneys are affected by the time we can detect disease, and that is with a blood test!
  • The early signs of renal disease can be an increase in your cats thirst, or an increase in the volume or frequency that your cat pees. Sometimes this can present as your cat peeing in inappropriate places.
  • Other signs of renal disease can be weight loss, poor hair coat, bad breath and a decreased apetite.
  • To diagnose renal failure you will need to have a blood sample taken from your cat, and this is usually combined with a urine sample to tell us how much renal function your cat may have.
  • Renal failure can be caused by a multitude of diseases. In cats it may be age related or a series of diseaes. Sometimes an ultrasound can tell us what disease has caused the renal failure, but without a biopsy it can be very difficult to tell what caused the disease.
  • The kidneys excrete Blood urea Nitrogen (BUN) and Creatinine ( a breakdown product of muscle). These parameters canĀ  help us monitor our pets kidney failure.
  • We often monitor their blood pressure as well, as this can tell us whether we are likely to get secondary diseases from high blood pressure, and to let us know how well our medication is working.
  • Treatment:
  • Most of the time the treatments we are using help protect and restore kidney function, but they generally never return kidneys to normal function. The medications can help our pets live a good quality of life for months or years. Especially when we can detect disease early and start treatment early.
  • Diet plays a big part in the control of kidney disease. It helps reduce waste production that needs to be excreted by the kidneys. It can often provide another means of getting rid of wastes as well. It also reduces the salt content and also has smaller amounts of Phosphorus.
  • During acute attacks we often have to put our pets onto drips to support the kidneys whilst they are trying to recover.
  • Lots of animals are sent home on medications which can help control their blood pressure and reduce further scarring in the kidneys. This class of drugs is called an Ace Inhibitor.
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