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Renal Failure in Cats

Renal Failure in Cats

Renal failure, commonly known as kidney failure, is characterized by the deterioration of the kidneys and an inability in removing waste matter in the blood. This CatAppy article provides more information about the causes, symptoms, and treatment measures for chronic renal failure in cats.
Parul Solanki
Chronic renal failure, commonly referred to as kidney disease, is a medical condition that particularly affects the older cats. This condition is characterized by the gradual deterioration of the kidneys resulting in an inability to remove the waste matter and purify the blood. The resulting toxins that accumulate in the blood give rise to symptoms such as weight loss, urination, thirst, and vomiting in cats. Before we can look at the symptoms and treatment option for renal failure, let us look at what causes this health problem.

Know The Causes

Kidney failure is caused by damage to the kidneys, which are responsible for the filtration and removal of the waste matter in the blood. The nephrons or the tiny filtering units contained in the kidneys help absorb the nutrients and remove the waste from the blood. This waste matter is thereon excreted as urine from the cat's body. In addition to this, the kidney also helps in the release of the rennin enzymes which controls the blood pressure. These organs also maintains the balance of the essential minerals and acid in the blood. With the onset of renal failure, these essential body functions of the cats fail, leading to a number of health problems.

Some of the common causes of renal failure include poisoning from a toxic plant or other substance, accident or other trauma, arterial thromboembolism, kidney tumors, urinary blockage, infections such as the bacterial infection of kidneys known as 'pyelonephritis', birth defects in the kidneys, medication, dehydration, and blood loss. In cat breeds, such as the Persian cats, polycystic kidney disease results in the development of fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys.

Notice The Symptoms

While the acute renal failure is characterized by the sudden onset of the symptoms, the chronic cases of renal failure results in the slow and insidious appearance of the signs.
  • Weight Loss
  • Excessive thirst in cats
  • Refusal to eat
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased urination
  • Seizures
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Weakness and loss of muscle strength
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Poor coat
  • Mouth ulcerations
  • Acidosis
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hypertension
  • Anemia
What is The Prognosis and Treatment

Most of the symptoms of kidney failure are not a foolproof way of diagnosing the problem. For complete diagnosis, the doctor may need a biochemical profile, complete blood count, urinalysis, urine "specific gravity", and kidney ultrasounds. Based on the cause of the problem, the doctor may suggest the appropriate treatment.

Severely affected cats need to be hospitalized and administered subcutaneous fluids. If the cat is suffering from a bacterial or viral infection or is affected by diseases like anemia, then medications are prescribed to cure the problem. Anorexic cats may be given appetite stimulants to increase the hunger. However, even with all the treatment options, it is important to remember that the disease will progress over time and is not reversible in any way.

Importance of The Diet

One of the most potent measures for keeping the symptoms of renal failure in control is through dietary measures. Since the cats tend to get dehydrated, increase the amount of water intake. In addition to this, veterinarians may recommend a low-protein, low-phosphorous diet for the cat. The toxins accumulate in the blood as a result of insufficient protein breakdown and therefore, a low-protein diet is an effective measure for controlling the symptoms. Similarly, the low-phosphorous diet reduces the chances of further kidney damage and help in restoring the cat's health.

Sadly, the renal failure is an incurable disease that may result in the pet's death. However, with measures such as dietary checks and medications, it is possible to slow down the progress of the disease significantly.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of a veterinarian.