Feline kidney disease is a common problem in cats, and in particular with senior felines.
Kidney (or renal) failure takes place when the kidneys can no longer adequately remove waste from the bloodstream.
Contrary to what many cat owners believe, kidney failure differs from the inability to create urine.
With kidney failure a vast amount of urine is being produced by the body in order to rid wastes that have build up in the blood.
The two most common telltale signs of feline kidney disease include an increase in urine output and also an excessive thirst.
The poor cat may be drinking more and more in an attempt to clear the wastes.
As the disease progresses other signs that are likely to show themselves are weight loss, loss of interest in food, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, bad breath, excessive drooling, a shabby coat and sometimes ulcers develop in the cat's mouth.
High blood pressure often goes hand in hand with feline kidney disease.
If the blood pressure is allowed to continue to rise it could result in the cat having a stroke or the retinas in the back of the eyes becoming detached. Blindness and problems with balance would be the resulting factor of this.
Polycystic kidney disease is a disease that is prevalent in both people and cats and takes place when the kidneys become filled with cysts or pockets of fluid.
This tends to be an inherited condition and is particularly common in Persians and Exotic Shorthairs.
The cysts are in the kidneys when the kitten is born and gradually grow larger.
Generally the problem takes many years to develop and most cats will not show signs of feline polycystic kidney disease until they are approximately seven to nine years of age.
Some cats do show signs earlier than seven years but there is no
way for a veterinarian to predict how fast the disease will take to
When a cat is showing symptoms of kidney disease, it is essential to take him or her to the veterinarian right away so tests can be run to pinpoint the problem.
A urine test for kidney failure looks at two waste products that are present in the blood stream - blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and blood creatinine.
Another thing that the vet will obtain from a urine test is the urine specific gravity. What this is is simply a measure of how well the kidneys are doing their job.
For example a cat with normal kidney function will have a high specific gravity (as in very concentrated urine) whereas a cat suffering from kidney failure will measure in at low specific gravity (or diluted urine).
Factors that can contribute to the development of renal failure include overactive thyroid glands, also known as hyperthyroidism.
This is common in senior cats and coupled with high blood pressure (hypertension), which is also common in older cats, can lead to kidney problems.
Another contributing factor is urinary tract infections that go unchecked and can move from the bladder into the kidneys causing damage. The third contributing factor is a diet that is used to combat bladder problems.
Cats that are often plagued with urinary infections are often put on an acidified diet that helps make the urine pH have a higher acid concentration.
This is helpful in treating bladder related problems but can prove hazardous to senior felines.
These special diets have a limited amount of phosphorus and contain nothing that increases the acid levels in the cat's urine.
Keep in mind that foods for cat that are specifically labeled For Urinary Health will do harm to cats suffering from feline kidney disease.
Cats with kidney failure are often required to take a potassium supplement each day along with the special diet.
Potassium is a mineral that is excreted in the urine and a great deal of it is lost when kidney failure takes place.
Always follow the advice of your veterinarian.
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