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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cats Kidney disease : Chronic Renal Failure

Signs of Renal failure in cats. Increased thirst is often the first symptom

Kidney disease, in the form of chronic renal failure (CRF), is a common problem in older cats. I have seen kidney failure in cats as young as 4 years, but far more frequently in much older cats. The most noticeable symptom is an increase in water consumption and urination ("drink-a-lot, pee-a-lot syndrome"). A blood test should be done if you notice these symptoms, as there are several conditions that can cause this. The increase in drinking and urinating in CRF is due to loss of the kidney's ability to concentrate the urine. The kidneys have a very large reserve capacity, and symptoms of kidney failure are not seen until approximately 75% of kidney tissue is non-functional. In my experience, kidney failure is the most common cause of death in older cats.

Causes of Chronic Renal Failure

Recent 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

Chronic kidney failure is progressive and incurable. No conventional or alternative medical treatment can reverse its course, since the disease involves the loss of kidney cells and replacement by scar tissue. The rate of progression in any individual cat probably cannot be slowed to any significant degree. When the process is advanced, the kidneys become small and lumpy, and the amount of functional tissue is greatly limited. The most significant problems caused by the loss of function are build-up of blood toxins, and anemia. These can cause weight loss, lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, and other signs of illness.

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.


Reference :catsofaustralia.com

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