As cats age, the risk of contracting kidney disease increases. Cats with chronic kidney disease will waste away until their kidneys no longer work at all. While your veterinarian doesn't know the cause of this disease, they can help you give your cat a comfortable life, for the remainder of their life. Here is what you need to know about this disease and how to help your feline companion.
Signs of Kidney Disease
Your cat may have the disease long before they show any symptoms. Scar tissue builds up in the kidneys, reducing its ability to filter toxins out of the cat's blood. As the disease progresses, fewer toxins are removed allowing a buildup in the blood. When the buildup reaches a critical level, your cat will begin to show one or more of the following symptoms:
- change in appetite
- weight loss
- persistent vomiting or diarrhea
- pain when urinating
In the advanced stages of kidney failure the symptoms include:
- foul breath
- excessive vocalization
Treating the Cat With Kidney Failure
Your cat can't get the toxins out of its body, which causes other health problems. Your pet hospital will recommend treatment for the following related problems to make your cat more comfortable:
- increased blood pressure
- depressed immune system
- tumors in other organs
- infections in other parts of the body
A series of medication will help these issues so your cat will feel better. Your vet will also prescribe treatments to help remove the toxins building up in the cat's body:
- medications to increase urine production to pull more toxins from the blood
- diet changes to create fewer waste products in your cat during digestion
- fluid therapy to counteract dehydration in your cat
Caring for Your Cat at Home
Your veterinarian will give you a number of instructions on how to take care of your cat home. The goal is to monitor the progression of the disease and make your cat more comfortable.
- Monitor your cat's intake and output - Recording how much your cat drinks and the urine output is a measure of the level of the disease.
- Diet changes and control - You'll give your cat a measured amount of special food each day. This food is high protein but low in products, such as grains, which produce a lot of waste products. A change to wet food may be recommended if your cat stops drinking from the water dish.
- Fluid management - Should your cat become dehydrated, your vet may show you how to give your cat fluids using an IV needle under the skin behind the cat's neck. The cat's body will absorb the fluids and make them feel better for a short time. Unfortunately, as the disease progresses, you'll need to give your cat fluids more often and they will feel better for shorter periods.
Regardless of the treatments done, kidney disease is fatal in cats. But you won't know if your cat will live another month or a year with the disease. You and a local vet (such as one from Orange Grove Animal Hospital) can help them be comfortable for their final days.Share