Fighting a Frequent Feline Foe: Kidney Disease in Cats
Cats are pretty tough cookies. Resourceful and resilient, accounts of felines surviving dire situations of all sorts abound through recorded history. Cats are not totally immune to danger and disease, however…
In some ways the feline is quite vulnerable. They are exquisitely sensitive when it comes to toxins. They are also prone to several diseases and conditions, among these renal issues.
Kidney disease in cats is a frequently diagnosed and potentially serious problem. Together with you, though, Advantage Veterinary Center can help you keep your cat healthier and happier in spite of this diagnosis.
The Kitty Kidney
Whether you are human or feline, the kidneys are a pretty vital organ. The center of the urinary tract system, they are responsible for filtering waste from the bloodstream and regulating the body’s fluid balance.
The blood is first filtered in the kidney itself, creating urine which is drained from the kidneys through the ureters and into the bladder. The urine is then held in the bladder until it is ready to be released through the urethra.
The kidney has a big job to do. It plays several very important roles including:
- Filtering waste products from the body
- Establishing balance of electrolytes
- Maintaining appropriate hydration
- Regulating blood pressure
- Stimulating the production of red blood cells
When kidney disease in cats occurs, some or all of these roles are not sufficiently fulfilled. This results in a patient who is drinking and urinating a lot and is often losing weight. When the condition becomes chronic we often also see lethargy, a dull haircoat, anemia, decreased appetite, high blood pressure, and digestive upset.
Kidney disease in cats can be acute, such as that caused by a toxin exposure or a lower urinary tract obstruction. Most commonly, though, cats are affected by chronic kidney disease. This is often the result of wear and tear over time. While it is often not totally preventable, it can be quite manageable.
Fighting Kidney Disease in Cats
As with many pet health problems, being proactive can be a huge asset. Kidney disease in cats is no different. The sooner in the process that we can diagnose renal issues, the more successful we can be at managing it.
Many times, though, cats don’t let us know that there is a problem until things are very progressed. This is why wellness care for cats is so important. In many cases routine physical examinations as well as blood and urine screenings can be extremely helpful in determining that there is something wrong far before symptoms are evident.
When kidney disease in cats is identified, there are also several important things that you can do as a pet owner to help your feline friend feel good and stay healthier longer. We will work together to help you:
Establish good hydration — Cats with kidney disease have trouble maintaining a normal hydration status, and are often dehydrated when diagnosed. We can help restore hydration with fluid therapy in the hospital. We will also teach you to help maintain it through things like subcutaneous fluid administration at home and through encouraging water intake with tricks such as canned food and flowing water sources.
Protect the kidney from further damage — When the kidneys are already ailing, they need all the help that they can get. We will help to evaluate if any medications or supplements need to be re-evaluated due to their toll on the kidney. We will also make nutritional recommendations for diets, usually prescription, that are specifically designed to reduce the toll on the renal system.
Manage complications — Sequelae of kidney disease such as hypertension, anemia, and protein in the urine can lead to a lowered quality of life and acceleration of the disease process. Our expert veterinarians will monitor for these things and guide you in treating them if needed.
Monitor closely — Keeping a close eye on our feline patients with kidney disease is key. Because cats are well known for covering up signs of problems until it is too late, frequent examinations and monitoring tests are important.
Many patients who are diagnosed with kidney disease respond very well to management strategies, especially when we are able to catch it early. Call us today to make an appointment for your cat’s wellness visit. Hopefully we will send you home with a clean bill of health, but if not, know that you are in good hands.