What is it and what are the important things to know?
- It is a persistent loss of kidney function over time
- It takes at least 75% loss of kidney function before we see signs
- Damage to kidneys is irreversible
- Early detection important in order to provide good quality of life
- Similar symptoms to diabetes and hyperthyroidism
What do the kidneys do?
- Filter blood and make urine (excrete waste and extra fluid from the body)
What are the symptoms I will see?
- Lethargic (lack of energy, sleeping more, weakness)
- Increase in drinking and urination
- Decrease in appetite
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Bad breath/sore mouth
What is happening internally?
- High blood pressure
- Increase of protein in urine
- Increase of phosphorus in blood
- Low red blood cell levels
- Potassium imbalance (starts out low, then goes high)
- Metabolic acidosis (body acid level too high; the blood pH is too low)
- Inability to filter toxins/toxin elevation
What causes it/what are some predispositions?
- Cats age 7 or older are considered high risk
- Diets high in phosphorus and/or protein
- Specific breeds (Persians, Himalayans, other exotic long-haired breeds)
- Toxicity (disinfectants, antifreeze, lead paint, some human medications)
How is it diagnosed and what are the tests that are done?
- Blood urea nitrogen and creatinine
- Electrolytes (sodium and potassium)
- Red blood cell count
- Protein level
- Concentration of urine
- pH and protein levels
- Presence of red blood cells or other cells
- Culture for bacteria
Is there treatment, and what does it do?
1. Regular administration of subcutaneous or intravenous fluids
2. Kidney-specific diets and medication
Treatments are used to:
- Controls blood pressure
- Decreases presence of protein in urine
- Decreases phosphate levels
- Increases production of red blood cells
- Supplements potassium and antioxidants
- Helps the kidneys to filter toxins and regulate toxin levels
Written by Tamara Tupper, RVT