Chronic Kidney Failure

Kidney failure in cats is usually the result of another underlying disease or condition. Cats are not usually diagnosed with kidney failure until they have lost up to 75% of the kidney function When the cat’s health reaches this stage, treatment of the underlying disease that caused the problem in the first place, is unlikely as the major problem at this point is the kidney failure.

How can you tell if your cat has kidney failure?

Because cats have a large kidney functionality reserve, the early stages of chronic kidney failure are often non-specific and extremely difficult to tell apart from the normal signs of aging.

Symptoms may include:

  • Increased thirst (polydipsia)
  • Increased urination (polyuria)
  • Increased thirst
  • Dullness
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Halitosis (bad breath)

How do vets diagnose kidney failure?

Vets diagnose chronic kidney failure by testing blood for an increase or decrease in substances that should usually be excreted by the kidneys in urine. The most common substances to be found in cats with this condition are urea and creatinine.

How is this condition treated?

Management will depend on the individual cat but may include the following:

  • Rehydration
  • Appetite stimulation
  • Potassium supplements
  • Antibacterial therapy
  • Anaemia treatment
  • Management of nausea and vomiting

The most important treatment for a cat with kidney disease is a prescription diet – the diet will help prevent vomiting, lack of appetite and lethargy. The diets have reduced protein which will lower the cat’s blood urea levels which is one of the main toxins that make the cat feel poorly.