As all cats grow older, so their kidneys become less efficient, but it is not until kidney function has declined to 70 per cent that actual signs of chronic renal failure become apparent. As its name suggests, this is a long-standing condition. But, thanks to a better understanding of the problem, it is now possible for an affected cat to live for years with a good quality of life. The most debilitating effects of the illness can be controlled by modifying a cat’s diet.
One of the signs of chronic kidney disease is a greatly increased thirst. Cats with this condition can easily become dehydrated. In some cases, your vet may need to administer intensive fluid therapy.
Will I need to cook food for my cat now that it is suffering from chronic renal failure? Hronic renal failure is most
common in older cats, which is why regular veterinary health checks every six months or so are important once your cat reaches eight or nine years of age. Chronic renal failure is diagnosed if the kidneys decline to 70 per cent of their normal function. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the better the outlook for the cat. Typical signs include weight loss, a decline in appetite, increased thirst and urinary output, plus bad breath. Your vet can assess your cat’s kidney function with tests, based on blood and urine samples. Once the condition has been diagnosed, the aim is to lower the amount of work the kidneys have to do. This can be achieved by reducing the overall level of protein in the diet, while increasing its biological value. Your vet can advise you on this.
TREATMENT OF KIDNEY PROBLEMS IN CATS
An affected cat will drink more, since it cannot concentrate its urine as effectively, and urinate more often as a result. Restricting your pet’s access to water under these circumstances will be dangerous to its health. Supplementing your cat’s diet with vitamin B and vitamin C can also be beneficial, as these are lost at an abnormally high rate through failing kidneys. The manufacture of red blood cells may also be affected, resulting in anaemia, so your vet may prescribe anabolic steroids to encourage the production of these vital cells.
Mouth ulcers and dark patches on the tongue tip can be signs of chronic renal failure.
The kidneys also shrink in size so that you may be able to feel them in close proximity to your cat’s backbone.
Vitamin B12 is especially significant in cases of chronic renal failure because it is an appetite stimulant.
Blood pressure can also rise with this condition so switching to a low salt diet may help.
Your vet may recommend one of the special nephritis diets now commercially available. In other cases, a canned diet is better because it contains a much higher level of water than dry food.
Q. How will I know if my cat is deteriorating?
Loss of appetite and vomiting are key signs that your cat is becoming uraemic, with the waste products of the body’s metabolism building up in the blood. See your vet without delay.
Q. Can complimentary treatments help cats with kidney problems?
Homeopaths often recommend Natrum muriaticum, at potencies starting at 200c, three times a week. The dose will need to be increased in due course.