Kidney Disease in Cats: What You Need to Know
Having healthy kidneys are important to a cat’s overall health. The functions of kidneys in cats are essentially the same as they are for humans. They help keep the body clean, help in the creation of red blood cells, and a few more functions. As cats age, it becomes a common occurrence for many of them to develop kidney disease. This often results in the loss of function of the kidneys, which then ultimately leads to a plethora of health issues. If your cat develops kidney disease, make sure you visit your vet right away. There are ways to overcome the disease, as long as you catch it early enough.
This is the reason why it’s so important to know the symptoms of kidney disease. The sooner you’re able to take your cat to the vet, the better the prognosis will be. You need to constantly pay attention to the fluid input and output of your cat. Changes such as extreme thirst and extra urination are some of the symptoms of kidney disease. Other symptoms that are just as obvious include sudden weight loss, vomiting for no reason, loss of appetite, weakness, and even constipation for many. Some have even reported that cats meow more at night when they’re suffering from kidney disease.
Kidney disease can be caused by many conditions. Some of these happen during birth such as a birth defect or an inherited congenital disease. Other things that might cause kidney disease include various immune system disorders, infections, and high blood pressure. Oftentimes, these conditions cause chronic kidney disease that lead to renal failure. There are also more acute causes of kidney failure. Some of these include diseases such as feline leukemia. The onset of acute kidney failure is fairly quick, and the development can happen within a few hours.
Once your cat reaches its middle ages, you should probably start being more observant when it comes to symptoms. Age is the top pointer when it comes to kidney disease, but there are other factors that come into play. Certain cat breeds, such as Persians, are more likely to develop kidney disease in comparison to other cats. If your cat tends to spend more time outdoors as well, it can become more susceptible to kidney disease. There are toxins that can cause kidney disease in cats when ingested. One such example is antifreeze. Once you suspect kidney disease, bring your cat to the vet, so it can be tested right away. Your vet should run blood and urine tests in order to determine whether the waste management faculty of your cat is still intact.
If a cat has been diagnosed with kidney disease, your vet will likely order you to put your cat in a specific diet. A renal-protective diet can help prolong the life of your cat. There are a lot of restrictions in this diet when it comes to protein and phosphorus consumption. You’re also likely to give your cat more fat and more potassium. Your cat will probably need more water intake because it’ll be more susceptible to dehydration. Eventually, you might even have to start administering IV fluids from home.
While the onset of kidney disease is natural, there are a few ways you can prevent its development. Hydration is key to keep the kidneys healthy. You need to have water readily accessible to your cat at all times. You’ll also want to keep your surrounding clean, especially the litter box. You want to encourage your cat to develop healthy urinating habits. Giving your cat canned food can help as well because of the moisture that comes with them. Most important of all, make sure that you take your cat to visit the vet regularly. This way, your cat’s health is monitored appropriately for diseases such as this one.
Kidney disease in cats has no cure. Early detection can give your cat an opportunity to live for years after diagnosis, but for the most part, cats will only have days to weeks after diagnosis. If the kidney disease is treated appropriately, your cat can have a good chance to live for a few months to even a few years. It all depends on when the disease is caught and how it is treated after.