The Kidneys are a complex organ and do many very important things for the body. One way they function is that they filter out chemicals and toxins that we don't want in our body and produce urine for our bodies to expel. The Kidneys are also responsible for keeping us hydrated by determining how much water to keep in our bodies and how much to expel via urine. In addition, the Kidneys also maintain electrolyte balance, pH balance, conserves proteins, regulates blood pressure, and also helps make our Red Blood Cells. All of these tasks are vital for our body to function properly.
What is CKD/CRF?
When the Kidneys start to fail and cannot preform these tasks in our bodies it can be very devastating. A few signs to look out for are, excessive drinking, frequent urination, dilute urine, decreased appetite, weight loss, and even bad breath can be an indicator of CKD/CRF. However, most of the time there are no symptoms until the disease is advanced. That is why it is very important to have yearly check ups and blood work preformed on your cat each year. Abnormalities in Kidney markers such as BUN, Creatine, SDMA, and Urine Specific Gravity are just a few values your vet will look for in determining CKD/CRF. Once diagnosed, you will need to keep rechecking these values to monitor progression of the disease.
|Siamese Cat that was Diagnosed with CKD/CRF|
Receiving the news that your Kitty has CKD/CRF can be very difficult to hear since the condition is considered a terminal illness. And the information can be very overwhelming. But there are things you can do to keep the disease from progressing and maintain what is left of the Kidney function.
Treatment depends on what stage the disease is in, and the overall health of your kitty.
According to IRIS or The International Renal Interest Society
, there are 4 Stages of CKD/CRF.
Staging the Severity of CKD/CRF Based on Blood Creatine Concentration
Stage 1: <1.6 mg/dl
Stage 2: 1.6-2.8 mg/dl
Stage 3: 2.9-5.0 mg/dl
Stage 4: >5.0 mg/dl
Your Veterinarian will determine what Stage your Kitty is currently in and will devise a treatment plan to slow the progression of the disease.
Diet - One of the main ways Kidney Disease can be managed is though diet. Your Vet will prescribe a prescription diet that is low in phosphorous with moderate amount of protein such as Royal Canin Renal Care, Hills K/D formula's, Purina NF, etc. Kitties with a poor appetite can be given appetite stimulants to ensure they are getting enough calories and combat weight loss.
Phosphate Binder - Cats in CKD/CRF cannot filter phosphorous properly and therefore, an excess can cause your kitty to feel sick and also promote the progression of the disease. Your Vet will prescribe a phosphate binder for your cat. This can be mixed right into the food and prevents the absorption of phosphate.
SQ Fluids - Kitties with Renal Disease are at risk of dehydration since the Kidneys cannot concentrate urine properly. This is something that needs to be monitored closely as dehydration can be very serious. Encourage your kitty to drink water by placing more water bowls around the house and even providing water fountains. Kitties that don't drink enough to keep up with their damaged kidneys will need to receive Subcutaneous or SQ Fluids. This can be administered at home if you are comfortable with it.
Potassium Supplements - Since the Kidneys are not able to balance electrolyte levels in the body, Kidney patients can also be deficient in potassium and may need a supplement to correct that. Low potassium can make your kitty weak, imbalanced and even cause problems in the muscle tissue.
Blood Pressure - CKD/CRF cats often suffer from hypertension as there are blood pressure sensors in the kidneys that help regulate blood pressure in the body. High Blood Pressure can further damage the kidneys as well as cause may problems on its own such as blindness. If your kitty has high blood pressure your Vet may prescribe blood pressure mediation for them.
Treatment for CKD/CRF can vary depending on IRIS Staging and symptoms. There may be other medications that are also needed such as antiemedic or anti-vomiting medication if your cats disease is advanced and they are experiencing nausea and vomiting as well.
|Veterinarian writing out treatment plan for a newly diagnosed CKD/CRF Kitty |
Kidney Disease in Cats can be a very frightening diagnosis. The Kidneys work in many ways to help the body function properly and when the kidneys can't preform the tasks they need to, it can cause many health problems for the patient. Depending on the stage of the disease there is treatment that can slow the progression of the disease and try to preserve the kidneys from that point on. And with diligent care and treatment overseen by your veterinarian you and your kitty can have many more years together.
|Loved cat with Kidney Disease living comfortably with Treatment |
To learn more about CKD/CRF please visit the follow resources below: