Feline Kidney Disease: Signs and Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Did you know that kidney disease is the leading cause of death in cats? And that this condition is highly preventable as long as it is detected early?

A cat’s kidneys help filter out waste from the blood, regulate blood pressure, and generate certain hormones. Over time, a cat’s kidneys start to age and fail. If left untreated, renal disease can lead to serious health complications. It can also affect your pet’s quality of life gravely. This is why it is extremely important to get your cat checked by a vet regularly. This way, the condition is treated before it gets worse.

Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Failure in Cats

The most common signs and symptoms of renal failure in cats include frequent peeing, drinking lots of water and unexplained weight loss. Decreased appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, and mouth ulcers are also signs of kidney failure in feline. A dry coat, brownish colored tongue, and constipation could also point to either acute or chronic kidney failure.

Types and Causes of Feline Kidney Disease

There are two types of feline renal disease: acute and chronic. The treatment will depend on the type of kidney disease your pet suffers from.

Acute renal failure usually develops suddenly over a matter of days or weeks. This condition will affect cats of all ages. Acute renal failure is triggered by ingestion of poison, trauma from a broken pelvis or burst bladder and rapid blood loss. This condition also occurs if the animal is suffering from a kidney infection, kidney blockages or low blood pressure.

Chronic kidney failure is trickier to diagnose. The exact cause of this condition remains unknown. However, most health experts believe that trauma of the nephrons is the main cause of chronic renal failure. When the kidney’s nephrons are injured, inflammation occurs. The inflammation will spread to other parts of the kidneys, causing renal failure.

Treating Feline Kidney Failure

The vet will subject the pet to various blood and urine tests to make a diagnosis. If the results point to kidney disease, the treatments will range from surgery to removal of blockages in the kidneys. You will also prepare special diet and administer medications at home after the surgery.

Aggressive therapy is the best way to address this condition. Hospitalization and IV therapy may be required to speed up the recovery period and increase survival rate. Later in life, the cat will benefit from taking blood pressure medication and gastrointestinal drugs to ease stress to the kidneys.

Protect the Cat from Toxic Compounds

Always keep your cat safe from compounds that could affect his or her kidneys. These compounds include lilies, human meds, and anti-freeze.

Regular Vet Visits

Always take your cat to the vet regularly (twice per year). Routine screening is the most common way to uncover certain diseases, including kidney failure in cats.

Check for Symptoms

Finally, always keep a lookout for possible signs of kidney disease. The earlier the condition is detected, the better the chances of survival. If your cat is losing weight fast and is constantly vomiting, call your vet and book a visit.