Feline Chronic Kidney Disease and Your Cat
Not much can get those of the feline persuasion down, but kidney problems are something that can affect even the most confident cat. Feline chronic kidney disease is a commonly diagnosed problem, but one that The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center are well-equipped to help you with.
The Inner Workings
The kidneys filter all of the body’s blood supply day and night, an extremely important job! Properly functioning kidneys are essential for:
- Filtering waste products from the body
- Controlling normal hydration
- Establishing electrolyte balance
- Maintaining a normal, healthy blood pressure
- Stimulating the production of red blood cells
When the kidneys are not working properly, a cat can feel quite sick. Poor kidney function can result in increased thirst and urination, dehydration, and a cat who doesn’t want to eat or play as much.
Many different conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it is important to make an appointment so that we can examine your cat if you are noticing signs of a problem. Typically blood and urine testing can help us to make an accurate diagnosis so that we can get started helping your cat feel better.
Navigating Feline Chronic Kidney Disease
Most kidney disease in cats is of the chronic variety. This means that the patient has likely had some decreased function due to wear and tear or an inherent abnormality for some time, although it may rear its head quite suddenly. This typically happens when the cat becomes dehydrated or stressed and is unable to compensate.
Thankfully, there is a lot that we can do when it comes to helping these patients with feline chronic kidney disease live a good, full life.
To help these patients, we must:
Avert the crisis at hand — If our patient has suddenly become ill, we need to stabilize by restoring hydration and treating any related symptoms such as nausea, electrolyte imbalances, or anemia.
Maintain hydration — Maintaining good hydration in cats with kidney disease is very important because they cannot bounce back from dehydration easily. Help them by offering fresh, cool water at all times. Consider a running water source such as a fountain to encourage drinking. You might also wish to supplement water intake by feeding canned food.
Provide the right nutrition — Cats who are affected by kidney disease often need help to maintain a healthy weight and decrease the workload on the kidneys themselves. We often recommend a prescription diet to help these cats thrive.
Look out for complications — Kidney disease often comes with related problems. Affected cats can experience additional problems including high blood pressure, anemia, and electrolyte abnormalities. Vigilant monitoring is for these issues is vital so that they can be treated accordingly.
Of course, the best thing that you can do is to advocate for your pet! You know your cat best, and the sooner that you alert us to potential signs of trouble, the sooner we can intervene. Feline chronic kidney disease and many other pet problems have better outcomes when we act quickly.