Kidneys perform many functions such as- they help to manage blood pressure, make hormones, stimulate the bone marrow, make more red blood cells, remove waste from the blood, etc. In this article, we will give a brief description of kidney disease in cats.
Since kidneys perform many essential functions in our body, they an integral part of our body, and if they get damaged because of kidney diseases, it can cause harm to our lives. As humans, we can see kidney diseases in cats as well
Types of kidney disease in cats:
Kidney diseases can lead to a series of health problems. Cats’ kidneys begin to fail with the rise of age. But older cats aren’t the only ones who face this problem. Kittens can be born with kidney diseases as well.
Toxins, infection, trauma, etc., consider the causes behind this problem. Two types of kidney failure you can see in cats. Each one has different causes, outlooks, and treatment
Acute renal failure: ARF is the failure of the kidneys to perform regular filtration duties. Acute renal failure leads to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, accumulation of toxins and other metabolic wastes in the bloodstream and disturbances in the blood’s acid-base balance. It happened in all ages of cats. And develops suddenly, over a matter of days or weeks. It is usually the result of:
- Clotting disorder.
- Insect or snake bites.
- Heart failure occurs due to hypertension or low blood pressure and reduces the blood flow to the kidneys.
- The difficulty of blood flow into the kidneys and the flow of urine that comes out of it
- Diarrhoea, rapid dehydration, shock from losing a lot of blood quickly, overheating in hot weather, etc. are the causes of acute renal failure.
- Chronic kidney disease: They find mostly in middle-aged and older cats. They develop over months and even years. But chronic kidney problems are usually harder to treat. More than seven years or older, it needs special attention to its health to avoid these problems. Only about 10% of the cases occur in cats that are less than three years old. They include:
- Other things, such as advanced dental disease, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, cancer, can lead to chronic kidney disease in cats.
Clinical signs of kidney disease in cats:
Early or clinical signs of kidney diseases vary from disease to disease. It discusses in details below:
Early signs of (ARF): The clinical signs of Acute Renal Failure may include,
- Diarrhoea that may contain blood, vomiting that may have blood in it as well.
- A strange breath odour etc.
- Some cats will urinate more frequently, while others may not produce any urine at all.
The veterinarian will frequently find enlarged and painful kidneys during the physical tests of cats with (ARF)
Early signs of (CKD): Cats with Chronic Kidney Disease may experience an accumulation of waste products and other compounds in their bloodstream that are generally removed by the kidneys. Clinical signs of CKD include,
- Feeling ill, appearing lethargy or weak, and losing weight due to the accumulation of the waste products
- Because of CKD, they may also lose the ability to concentrate their urine correctly. As a result, they may produce more significant volumes of urine and drink more water to compensate for water loss.
- The loss of proteins, vitamins, and other vital compounds in their urine may contribute to abnormal metabolism and appetite loss.
- They may also experience elevated blood pressure or hypertension, which may affect the function of several essential systems, including the eyes, brain, and heart.
- CKD can cause anaemia because it decreases the production of red blood cells. That may cause their gums to appear pale pink or whitish in several cases.
Another cause of lethargy in cats with CKD is the buildup of acids in their bloodstream. The kidneys of cats with CKD may not appropriately excrete these compounds, making the affected cats prone to blood acidification or acidosis for short.
How to diagnose kidney disease in cats
Acute Renal Failure (ARF) :
Acute renal failure diagnosis usually bases on medical history and blood and urine tests. Abdominal radiographs (X-rays) are other diagnostic tests that sometimes use a radiographic contrast or dye, abdominal ultrasound, or surgical biopsy of the kidneys.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD):
To diagnose CKD, veterinarians will mostly turn to blood tests and urine analysis or (Urinalysis) for short, and then evaluate the concentrations of waste products and other components that healthy kidneys naturally filter or regulate.
CKD diagnosis using blood test:
Blood tests determine two waste products: creatinine, which is generally recognized as a more specific indicator of kidney function, and Blood Urea Nitrogen or (BUN) for short. Increasing these concentrations in a cat’s blood may suggest that its kidneys are not functioning correctly. These values can be interpreted by several factors. Take dehydration as an example. That can cause both of the concentrations to rise even though a cat’s kidneys are functioning normally.
Recently, a new SDMA invents to diagnose kidney disease in the cat. This test measures the concentration of symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA), a waste product of protein metabolism. Early intervention based on SDMA testing would bring improved results for cats with chronic kidney disease. Evidence suggests that they can provide hope for more extended and higher-quality lives for cats with CKD.
CKD diagnosis using Urinalysis:
In a urinalysis diagnosis system, the veterinarian will consider the concentration of the urine, its pH, and the presence of protein, bacteria, blood cells, and other cells that generally should not find in a cat’s urine. All of these provide essential and useful information regarding the condition of a cat’s kidneys.
Culture a urine sample is also essential for the cases that CKD is involved. Urine samples can be collected either from a litter box filled with non-absorbent beads designed for this purpose or
Urine samples collect cystocentesis, a technique that extracts urine samples by passing an excellent and thin needle through the abdominal wall into the bladder. Cystocentesis considers being a safe way that will provide the most diagnostically useful sample for analysis in most cases of (CKD)
Treatment for kidney diseases in cats:
Treatment for (ARF):
ARF removing Treatment the harmful toxins from the body quickly and restores electrolyte balance in the body. Such as:
- I administer a useful fluid, which is known as intravenous fluids, for twenty-four to ninety-six hours (1 to 4 days).
- Peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis like a person are rarely performed but may be available.
- If a toxin or a drug reaction is detected, a doctor’s recommendation is the stomach should empty immediately to reduce toxicity. A cat will feel uncontrollable vomiting problems after toxicity.
Treatment for (CKD):
There is no definitive cure for CKD. However, proper treatment can prolong the lives of cats with this disease. The treatment methods for cats with (CKD) is described below:
- Therapy is provided in the hopes of decreasing the buildup of toxic waste compounds in the blood, maintaining adequate hydration, minimizing the disturbances in electrolyte concentration, supporting proper nutrition, controlling blood pressure, and slowing down the further progression of kidney disease.
- Apart from therapy, dietary modification is an essential and proven aspect of CKD treatment. Studies suggest that therapeutic diets that restrict protein, phosphorus, and sodium compound ingestion and which is filled with water-soluble vitamins, fibre, and antioxidant concentrations may prolong the life of cats with CKD by improving their health conditions.
However, at first, cats have difficulty accepting therapeutic diets. Cats with CKD that don’t eat food for relatively short periods may develop different health problems. You should make sure that your cat is eating during a transition to a therapeutic diet. It is also essential to make a gradual transition to a therapeutic diet and make sure the food temperature, texture, and flavour is right.
- Controlling hypertension or traumas, decreasing consequential protein loss, and decreasing anaemia rates are critical therapeutic goals in cats with CKD. Describing below:
- Hypertension generally controls with oral medication.
- Urinary protein loss could also treat with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.
- Anaemia during a cat with CKD could treat by replacement therapy that stimulates red blood corpuscle production. There’s some evidence that replacement therapy can increase red blood corpuscle counts and counter anaemia.
In some cases, blood transfusions, which employ to revive average red blood corpuscle concentrations using the blood obtained from a donor cat, are essential.
How long will a cat live after treatment?
Within the cases of (ARF),
If the disease’s explanation is an infection, there’s a far better chance of recovering from it.
If the cause behind it is a toxic substance, the result depends on the quantity of kidney damage that has occurred thus far.
The kidney has very little or no capacity to regenerate or heal itself. (ARF) is potentially reversible if it diagnoses at an early stage and treats aggressively.
In the cases of (CKD), unfortunately, once the kidneys damage, they have minimal ability to recover. However, with proper management and treatment, your cat may have several years of excellent quality, active life ahead.
Overall, we will say that kidney diseases are as harmful to cats as they’re for humans. But if proper management and treatment should take when early signs show, your cats can live a long life. Also, if we stay aware and keep a keen eye on our pet cat’s health, we will avoid getting our cats into the danger of kidney disease in cats.