Kidney disease in cats is a common diagnosis. We estimate that some form of kidney disease affects 20-25% of our feline companions and an even higher percentage of seniors and geriatric cats. 

Kidney function is vital in filtering toxins from the body and keeping electrolytes and water in balance. If the kidneys are compromised, this can result in acute kidney disease or chronic kidney failure (the kidneys getting worse over time). 

The team at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services wants cat owners to be aware of this disease and what we can to treat and manage it for a better quality of life.

Kidney Disease in Cats

Acute kidney disease comes on suddenly and is most often brought on by trauma, poisoning or toxicity, or some condition that causes kidney failure. The more common diagnosis is chronic renal failure (CRF), a progressive disease that impacts kidney function over time. CRF is the leading cause of death among older cats. 

Chronic renal disease occurs when functional nephrons within the kidneys die off. When this occurs the kidneys cannot effectively filter waste and then toxins build up in the body. Cats are experts at masking signs of disease and discomfort, but there are clues to CRF in cats.

Symptoms of chronic renal failure in cats include:

  • Excessive thirst/urinating more
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy
  • Strong ammonia smell to breath
  • Depression
  • Drooling
  • Hunching over water bowl
  • Muscle wasting
  • Dull, unkempt coat

Contact us right away if your pet is experiencing any of these signs. 

Helping Your Cat Live a Good Life

In order to diagnose your cat, your veterinarian will perform diagnostic tests, including urinalysis and blood work. There is no cure for kidney disease in cats, but we can manage the disease to improve kidney function and help your pet remove waste from the body. 

Although there is no cure for CRF, we can use a variety of therapies to encourage the best health and well-being for your fur friend. We use a combination of specialized nutrition, medications, and alternative therapies that support the kidneys and other organ systems. 

Many cat owners have asked us what causes kidney disease, in hopes of preventing this condition in their pets. There are several factors that contribute to chronic renal failure, including genetics, environmental toxins, age, and other conditions. Chronic stress that raises blood pressure is linked to kidney disease, as well as dental disease, low potassium, and certain diets.

The best way to ensure good health for your pet is to:

  • Follow up with twice-yearly wellness examinations where we can screen your meow pal for the disease.
  • Keep your pet on a balanced diet as recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Practice good dental hygiene for your furry friend, including dental cleanings.
  • Minimize your pet’s stress through the use of pheromone sprays like Rescue Remedy and calming treats and supplements (speak to us first).
  • Encourage better hydration by installing a fountain style water bowl, or keeping bowls filled with clean, fresh water.

Would you like more information about kidney disease in cats? Please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are looking forward to seeing your special feline companion.