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(CKD) Chronic Kidney Disease in Cats: Symptoms & Treatment

What is the role of the kidneys in cats?

A cat's kidneys function similarly to humans in regulating the body's balance of fluids, minerals, and electrolytes, while also removing toxins from the blood. They also play a role in maintaining blood pressure and acid balance throughout the entire body.


What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in cats?

It is the progressive loss of kidney function in the kidneys over time. However, there is a large reserve capacity for the kidneys, so clinical signs won't appear until about two-thirds of the kidneys are dysfunctional. CKD mainly affects senior cats above the age of 8.


What are the symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease?

Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease include:

  • Weight loss

  • Increased thirst

  • Decreased appetite

  • Fever

  • Thinning or matted coat

  • Intermittent vomiting

  • Sores in the mouth

  • Foul breath

  • Decreased activity

What causes Kidney disease in cats?

It occurs when irreversible damage to the kidneys prevents them from removing toxins and waste products from the body. While there is no exact cause of CKD, several causes have been well-documented. These include:

  • Inheritance from parents

  • Toxins damaging the kidneys

  • Bacterial infections

  • Glomerulonephritis: Inflammation of the glomeruli, the units inside the kidneys responsible for filtering blood

How is Chronic Kidney Disease in Cats Diagnosed?

Veterinarians will use a combination of blood tests and urine tests to evaluate the condition of your cat's kidneys. These tests will monitor the level of waste products present in the blood and urine that aren't present in healthy kidneys. If these tests aren't sufficient, Veterinarians will also utilize:

  • Ultrasounds

  • Radiographs

  • Microscopy

How is Chronic Kidney disease in cats managed?

While there is no way to cure CKD, there are several treatment options that can help reduce and slow down the damage being done to the kidneys. These treatment options involve:

  • Reducing toxins within the bloodstream

  • Controlling blood pressure

  • Dietary modification

  • Increased fluid intake

  • Addressing electrolyte imbalance

  • Regular monitoring

It is recommended that you contact a veterinarian if your cat is displaying any of the symptoms listed above. They will create a custom treatment plan for you based on the severity of your cat's CKD that will address the major symptoms that your cat is displaying.


Conclusion

Although Chronic Kidney Disease is not treatable there are ways to help manage it and extend your cat's life. Contact us today at 559-434-5470 to learn more about Chronic Kidney disease, or to book an appointment with us today.


 

Resources

  1. Cornel College of Veterinary Medicine. Chronic Kidney Disease.

  2. PDSA (People's Dispensary for Sick Animals). Chronic Kidney Disease in Cats.

  3. VCA Animal Hospitals. Chronic Kidney Disease in Cats.






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