Signs of Renal failure in cats. Increased thirst is often the first symptom
Causes of Chronic Renal FailureRecent research suggests a link between vaccination for feline distemper and immune-mediated inflammation of the kidneys, which is thought to be the cause of CRF. Annual boosters for distemper are completely unnecessary. Be sure to discuss all recommended vaccines with your veterinarian. A cat with kidney disease or kidney failure should not be vaccinated at all.
Long-term feeding of an all-dry-food diet is also suspected as a factor in Chronic Renal Failure. Cats' kidneys are highly efficient and adapted to life in the desert, where they would get most or all of their water from eating their prey. Cats eating dry cat food take in only half the water that cats on a canned or homemade diet get; this chronic dehydration can cause stress on the kidneys over time. Dry diets also predispose cats to lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD, LUTD, FUS, crystals, stones, cystitis) because they force such a high degree of urine concentration. Chronic or recurrent bladder disease may also be a factor in the development of CRF.
Treatment of Chronic Renal Failure
Some cats are able to maintain their body weight and live relatively comfortable lives for months to years, while others succumb to the disease more quickly. In conventional medicine, there are drugs that can minimize anemia, and phosphate binders to prevent phosphorus precipitates from further damaging the kidneys. However, these may not be palatable, and may cause adverse reactions. They are also of little or no value unless the cat is eating a restricted protein/low phosphorus diet exclusively. It may also be important to supplement potassium in the food.