Doing Battle With Feline Kidney Disease
Cats may seem invincible, but much to our dismay they are subject to the same forces that any other living creature is. They certainly have a few weaknesses, and if we had to pinpoint one organ that doesn’t always pull its weight, it would be the kidney.
Feline kidney disease is a common diagnosis here at Harpeth Hills Veterinary Hospital. Because of the tremendous impact it can have on our feline patients, it is one disease with which all pet owners should be familiar. By catching it early and managing it aggressively, kidney disease in cats is definitely something that we can help our furry friends navigate.
Why We Care About Your Kitty’s Kidney
In the grand scheme of things, the kidneys are fairly small organs. That doesn’t make them unimportant, though. To the contrary, the kidneys are an essential part of the urinary tract. Together they filter waste from the bloodstream, producing urine as a byproduct. The urine is then drained through two tubes known as the ureters, emptied into the urinary bladder, and then dispensed into the outside world through the urethra.
It doesn’t stop there, though. The kidneys also have several other very important roles. The renal system in cats and other species also:
- Help maintain electrolyte balance
- Ensure adequate hydration
- Control the blood pressure
- Stimulate the production of red blood cells
If the kidneys are not working appropriately these functions are not fulfilled, resulting in weight loss, increased thirst, and increased urination. Chronic kidney disease can also cause anemia, high blood pressure, decreased appetite, weight loss, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.
Feline Kidney Disease
Cats are commonly affected by kidney problems. In particular we diagnose chronic feline kidney disease as cats become seniors. Often this is a wear and tear type of condition over time that is not reversible.
That doesn’t mean that cats with chronic kidney disease are a lost cause, however. Even though we do not have a cure, there are definitely things that can be done to manage it and prolong and improve the life of these patients.
Cats with kidney disease rely on their owners to help:
- Encourage proper hydration
- Keep electrolytes in balance
- Minimize the buildup of waste in the body
- Provide good nutrition
- Treat high blood pressure
- Diagnose and treat anemia
Doing these things can really help your cat to thrive. We are happy to be your partners and guide you through these things. Always call with questions or concerns.
As with so many problems, one of the best things that you can do as a pet owner for kidney disease is to catch it early. The sooner we can diagnose your cat, the sooner we can get started with a proactive treatment plan.
Of course we want you to come in to visit one of our knowledgeable veterinarians if you suspect something isn’t right. It is also vital, however, to come see us for regular wellness visits. Changes such as weight loss or a dull haircoat may tip us off that something isn’t right. Increases in drinking and urination volumes are common signs of kidney disease, as well. We also often catch trouble early in asymptomatic pets with screening blood and urine testing.
Your pets depend on you to be their advocate, and we know you won’t fail them. Feline kidney disease can be a difficult diagnosis, but with your dedication and our help, there is a lot we can do for these special patients.