Renal Failure in Cats
Chronic renal failure (CRF), or kidney disease, is leading cause of death for cats. It is one of the most common conditions affecting older cats. Typically, chronic renal failure is progressive and there is a gradual advancement of the disease. With appropriate treatment, affected cats can get increased quality of life and longer life as well.
Symptoms of Chronic Renal Failure in Cats
The first sign of kidney disease in cats is usually dehydration. Increased need for liquids and frequent urination are the most obvious symptoms of this condition. Since these symptoms can indicate several health problems, it is necessary to do blood test to be sure that cat is suffering from CRF. The symptoms occur due to kidney’s inability to concentrate the urine. Other common signs of kidney disease in cats include: poor appetite, weight loss, vomiting, weakness, bad-smelling breath, letargy and depression.
Causes of Chronic Renal Failure in Cats
In most cases, exact cause of kidney disease is not known. Latest research implies that there is a connection between vaccination for feline distemper and immune-mediated kidney inflammation. It is believed that this can lead to chronic renal failure. Another cause of CRF could be insufficient water intake due to dry food diet. Dry diet affects kidneys and may lead to lower urinary tract disease.
There are some proven causes of chronic failure in cats such as: polycystic kidney disease, kidney tumors, infections, damage to kidneys by toxins, and glomerulonephritis.
Treatment of Chronic Renal Failure in Cats
Kidney disease is a progressive and fatal condition. Considering that chronic kidney failure entails loss of kidney cells and replacement by scar tissue, there is no successful treatment for the disease.
If underlying cause is diagnosed and treatable, progression of CRF can be potentially delayed. However, if specific cause is unknown, treatment is aimed at management of the disease.
It is important for affected cat to maintain hydrated by adequate fluid intake. Good supply of water should be always available. Sometimes it is necessary to give subcutaneous or intravenous fluids to cat suffering from kidney disease. Also, cat with CRF should be fed with homemade or canned food because of higher water content than in dry cat food.
Chronic renal failure is associated with several complications such as: high blood pressure, anemia and low blood potassium levels.
Finally, outcome is always lethal but some cats succumb to the disease more quickly than the others. With appropriate support and treatment, you may prolong your cat’s life.