Kidney disease

What You Need to Know About Kidney Disease in Cats

Kidney disease in cats, what you should know! Your cat’s kidneys perform numerous functions. They aid in the regulation of blood pressure, the production of hormones, the stimulation of bone marrow to create more red blood cells, and the removal of waste from the blood. Cats’ kidneys can fail as they age. Kidney illness, if left untreated, can cause many health issues. There is no cure for chronic disease. However, with early detection and proper treatment, you can improve the quality and length of your pet’s life. Senior cats aren’t the only ones in danger. Kidney illness can be present at birth in kittens. Trauma, poisons, and infection are some potential causes.

What is Feline Renal Failure?: Kidney Disease in Cats…

Kidney disease in cats… When your cat’s kidneys are healthy, they function to remove toxins, control blood pressure, maintain appropriate electrolyte balance, regulate hydration and calcium, and generate hormones that encourage red blood cell development. If your cat has kidney failure, also known as renal failure, the kidneys are no longer functioning correctly. This can be caused by various events and situations, including infections, tumors, or ingestion of a hazardous substance. The immediate hazard of failing kidneys in cats is that they cannot filter toxic poisons from the blood.

Kidney Disease in Cats: Failure Types in Cats

In cats, there are two forms of renal failure. The causes, treatment choices, and prognosis of each kind differ.

Acute Feline Renal Failure

If your cat has acute renal failure, it implies that its kidneys have suddenly become unable to work typically. This type of kidney failure happens quickly, within a few days or weeks. Acute renal failure can often be helped if detected early.

Causes of acute kidney failure in cats: poisons, trauma, illness, organ failure, urethral obstructions, dehydration, and other factors can cause it in cats of any age. The most prevalent cause of acute renal failure is poison, which includes hazardous plants, pesticides, cleaning solutions, and human drugs.

  • Antifreeze, toxic plants such as lilies, insecticides, cleaning fluids, and several human drugs are incredibly hazardous to your cat’s kidneys. Poisons are the leading cause of acute renal failure. Even one tablet of ibuprofen can cause their kidneys to shut down. Examine your home and garage for these substances and ensure your cat cannot access them.
  • Trauma, notably including a fractured pelvis or a ruptured bladder
  • A shock from rapidly losing a large amount of blood or rapid dehydration, overheating in hot conditions, a considerable increase in activity, vomiting, and diarrhea can all cause a significant drop in fluids.
  • The kidneys are infected.
  • Blockages that alter the flow of blood into and the flow of urine out of the kidney (for example, a male cat unable to pee due to a urethral blockage)
  • Low blood pressure caused by heart failure lowers blood flow to the kidneys.

Chronic Kidney Failure in Felines

Chronic renal failure in cats is a slow-developing illness that can last months or even years. This type of renal failure is usually caused by autoimmune disorders, kidney cysts, and heredity.

Chronic renal failure is a degenerative disease that can lead to total kidney failure. The kidneys gradually cease functioning as they lose the ability to filter toxins from their blood. Typical causes of chronic kidney failure in cats:

  • Kidney infections and blockages may not cause acute renal failure but reduce kidney function for months or years.
  • Other conditions include extensive dental disease, high blood pressure, thyroid issues, and cancer.

Acute renal failure can often be helped or reversed if detected early. Chronic renal disease, on the other hand, can be more challenging to treat. They are most common in middle-aged and older cats and develop over months and even years. Pay careful attention to your cat’s health if your cat is 7 years old or older.

Kidney Disease in Cats Symptoms

  • Urinating frequently. While you may believe this indicates that your cat’s kidneys are in good operating order, it suggests they can no longer store water.
  • Another indicator is urinating outside of their litter box.
  • Drinking a lot of water indicates that your cat attempts to restore the fluid lost through urination.
  • Bacterial infections of the bladder and kidney are more common in the dilute urine produced by failing kidneys.
  • Weight reduction and appetite suppression
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, and bloody or murky urine are all kidney disease in cats symptoms.
  • Ulcers in the mouth, particularly on the gums and tongue
  • Breath that smells like ammonia
  • The tongue is brownish in hue.
  • A dry coat
  • Constipation
  • Inadequacy and apathy

You may also observe an arched back or a stiff-legged walk in your cat if it has acute renal failure, which shows that the cat’s kidneys are in agony. The kidney disease in cats symptoms of chronic renal failure may not be evident as it advances over the years. When symptoms appear, the condition may already be causing complete renal failure.

Even though there is no treatment for chronic renal disease, your cat’s lifespan and quality of life can be extended if it is identified and treated early.

End-stage Kidney Failure Signs in Cats: Kidney Disease in Cats

The inability to walk, body odor, bowel or bladder incontinence, unwillingness to eat or drink, convulsions, confusion, pacing, restlessness, withdrawing, hiding, and running away are all signs of end-stage kidney failure in cats.

You might not notice all of these symptoms in your cat, even though more than one will be present. There are no simple solutions for renal failure because different symptoms may appear at different periods.

The need for early diagnosis, disease management, and contact with your vet is due to the possibility that these symptoms also signal additional ailments.

Stages of Kidney Disease in Cats

Stages of kidney disease in cats! After kidney disease is identified, it is “staged,” which refers to a decision regarding the illness’s progression based on lab results. CKD progresses through four stages.

Stage 1

When the blood creatinine level—a sign of how well the kidneys are functioning—is less than 1.6, less than 66% of renal function has been lost. Cats in Stage 1 will most likely not exhibit any clinical symptoms. 

Stage 2

When the creatinine level is between 1.6 and 2.8, the kidneys have lost 66% to 75% of their function. At this point, clinical symptoms are frequently negligible or nonexistent.

Stage 3

When the creatinine level is between 2.9 and 5.0, 76% to 90% of renal function has been lost. Common symptoms of renal disease at this stage include increased thirst and urination, weight loss, appetite loss, and weakness. Cats may benefit from subcutaneous fluid therapy to support the still-present kidney function and prevent dehydration.

Stage 4

When the creatinine level exceeds 5.0, renal function is reduced by at least 90%. The cats are in pretty bad shape at this point. Lethargy, poor grooming, and loss of appetite could be highly noticeable. Cats could require fluid delivery more often.

Treatment of Kidney Disease in Cats: Stages of Kidney Disease in Cats

Treatment of kidney disease in cats! Treating renal failure is to control the disease’s progression while also managing the symptoms. Treatment options for kidney illness may include intravenous fluids to relieve dehydration, vitamin injections, dietary supplements, prescription drugs, and even surgery to clear obstructions. Your cat will undergo a thorough checkup by your veterinarian, which may include X-rays, ultrasound, blood and urine tests, and more. Additionally, a kidney biopsy may be necessary.


A well-planned meal and abundant fresh, clean water can aid your cat’s treatment. Your veterinarian will advise you to gradually switch your cat to a kidney diet high in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, low in protein and phosphorus, and low in protein overall. 

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