Kidney Disease in Cats: A Common Catastrophe
When it comes to anatomy and physiology, it is important that all parts work together in harmony. When one piece of the puzzle is missing, the others often begin to crumble as well.
Any part of our body can fail at any time, but some are more prone to doing so than others. For cats in particular, the kidney is especially at risk of having major problems.
The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital love caring for your pets, and we know how much you love them as well. Seeing kidney disease in cats is a frequent occurrence at our hospital and one we are prepared to help our pet parents navigate.
Catching Kidney Disease in Cats
Kidney disease in cats is fairly common and can be potentially devastating. Thankfully, by being a vigilant pet owner and working with our expert staff we can ward off the worst-case scenario.
The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste from the bloodstream, regulating hydration status, and performing a variety of other important functions such as maintaining appropriate blood pressure, balancing electrolytes in the body, and stimulating red blood cell production.
Needless to say, without proper kidney function, our feline patients are at a disadvantage.
While certain sudden conditions such as infection or toxin exposure can cause acute kidney failure, most cats suffer from chronic kidney disease. This often is a wear-and-tear type of scenario, resulting in a gradual decline in function over time.
Cats who are suffering from kidney disease can exhibit many symptoms including:
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Weight loss
- Dull, unkempt hair coat
- Decreased activity level
- Decreased appetite
Astute owners who are on the lookout for changes in their cat’s behavior and habits often alert us to a problem sooner that might otherwise be detected. This has a positive influence on prognosis as cats who are diagnosed early in the course of disease often do well for many years with proper management. Make sure to give us a call right away if you think something might be going on with your pet.
Giving Your Cat a Paw Up
While it isn’t always possible to totally prevent kidney disease in cats, there is a lot that you can do as a pet owner to help your pet have the best shot at a normal life even if the diagnosis happens.
Keep up on wellness — By working together as a team, we can often diagnose your cat early in the course of a kidney problem. Routine wellness visits help us to keep tabs on your cat’s weight and overall health as well as provide the opportunity for blood and urine screenings that can aid in diagnosis long before symptoms occur.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate — Cats are not naturally good at hydrating themselves, but when their kidneys are not working at full capacity this becomes a big problem. Offer plenty of fresh water sources. Many cats prefer running water such as from a fountain. Feeding canned food can also be an effective way to support healthy hydration.
Come see us often — Annual to biannual visits are a must for all pets, but for cats who have been diagnosed with a kidney problem we may ask to see you more frequently. These visits allow us to monitor how your pet is doing and stay ahead of potential related problems such as anemia, high blood pressure, or electrolyte disturbances.
You are what you eat — For cats with kidney disease, diet can be vital. Good pet nutrition is important for all of our patients, but animals affected by renal disease usually benefit from a prescription diet customized for their needs.
Cats are pretty resilient and many do quite well even in the face of a major problem like kidney disease. They can’t do it alone, though. Be sure that you are being their best advocate and allowing us the opportunity to intervene when needed. A proactive approach is usually best, and management of kidney disease is no exception.
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