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Managing Kidney Disease In Cats

Chronic renal failure (CRF), also referred to as kidney disease, is an extremely  common condition that typically affects aging cats.                               

What are the symptoms of kidney disease? The earliest and most consistent clinical signs are increased thirst (polydipsia) and excess urine production (polyuria). As waste products build-up in the blood stream decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss will develop. Dehydration and lethargy can also occur.

What causes kidney disease?
CRF can occur in any cat, however Persians, Maine Coons, Siamese, Burmese, and Abyssinian breeds appear to be at higher risk for developing CRF.  Predisposing factors that may contribute to the development of CRF include age and genetic predisposition. New research also suggests that acidified diets, low potassium levels, dental disease, and high blood pressure may also be contributing factors.
               
CRF can only be confirmed with clinical tests, as several other diseases, can cause similar clinical signs.  Urinalysis will measure urine specific gravity (the kidney's ability to concentrate the urine), and also screen for infection as cats with renal disease are predisposed to secondary bacterial urinary tract infections. Blood tests will measure the levels of waste products in the blood, check electrolyte values, and monitor for anemia. Blood pressure screenings are also important.

Although there is no cure for CRF, many of the symptoms can be supported with various therapies: hydration therapy, anti-nausea medications and antacids, electrolyte supplementation, hormone and blood pressure medications. The therapeutic plan is developed based on each individual cat's needs. With proper treatment, cats can often live years with a good quality life. Your veterinary team is always available to provide guidance in managing this disease.
Chronic renal failure (CRF), also referred to as kidney disease, is an extremely common condition that typically affects aging cats.

Fortunately, if caught early more  often than not we are able to manage our patient's symptoms and achieve a good quality of life for these cats for years.

What are the symptoms of kidney disease? The earliest and most consistent clinical signs are increased thirst (polydipsia) and excess urine production (polyuria). As waste products build-up in the blood stream decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss will develop. Dehydration and lethargy can also occur.

This article is from Cat's Exclusive's Spring Mewsletter, 2013. To read the entire issue, click here.

 

 

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