Kidney disease is a common illness in senior cats that may cause excessive thirst and urination, poor appetite, weight loss and occasionally, vomiting. The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products from the bloodstream, as well as regulating the amount of fluid or water in the body, and signaling the body to produce more red blood cells. When the kidneys begin to fail, waste products accumulate in the blood stream which can make cats lose their appetite and not feel well. Cats with kidney disease can also become dehydrated easily because they cannot regulate the correct amount of water in the body. Potassium deficiency is also common and presents itself as weakness and a loss of appetite. Many cats with kidney disease become anemic over time because the body is not being signaled by the kidneys to produce red blood cells. Anemia causes weakness and, in cases where it is severe, euthanasia is often suggested.
Each of the following treatments will be discussed when, or if, they are needed.
Possible treatments may include:
Hill’s k/d diet – This is a prescription diet that produces few waste products, increases potassium levels and is lower in phosphorous that can build up with kidney disease. If you cannot feed Prescription k/d, any over the counter canned food in a poultry flavor is recommended. Adding a supplement called RenAvast may help support kidney function, especially for those not getting Prescription k/d.
Benazepril – treats high blood pressure due to renal disease.
Potassium Supplements – if your cat’s potassium level becomes low, a supplement will be added to it’s daily regimen.
Fluid therapy – If the waste products in the blood stream elevate too high, your cat will start to lose his/her appetite and become lethargic. If this occurs, your cat will need to start coming in regularly for our nursing staff to administer fluids to flush out the waste products and correct hydration. This is performed as an out-patient procedure where a small pocket of fluid is deposited just under your cat’s skin over a few minutes time. This works similar to dialysis for human patients. For most cats with end-stage kidney disease, this procedure is recommended weekly. If interested, we can teach you how to administer fluid therapy to your cat at home.
Anemia correction – Recently, a new injectable human drug has been introduced to treat anemia by stimulating the body to produce more red blood cells.
Monitoring your cat’s progress:
For patients with early kidney disease, we recommend a recheck every 6 months. A complete blood count, chemistry profile and blood pressure will monitor kidney function, anemia, potassium and high blood pressure.
For all other patients, we recommend a recheck every 3 months.