Cats have kidneys too and just like us, our feline friends can experience problems with this important organ. Your cat’s kidneys have several functions, from managing her blood pressure to removing waste and toxins from her blood. However, as your furbaby gets older, her kidneys will no longer be able to function as well as they once did. This is referred to as kidney disease and left untreated, could lead to your adorable kitty suffering from some unpleasant symptoms and irreversible damage. Although age is the primary contributing factor in the development of feline kidney disease, infections and trauma can also cause the condition to develop.
Types of kidney disease
Cats can suffer from two different types of kidney disease – chronic kidney problems and acute renal failure.
Chronic kidney problems
Usually seen in cats age 7 and older, chronic kidney problems can be difficult to treat, largely because the exact cause if often not known although the following reasons are often given:
Blockages such as kidney stones that also wear down kidney function at a low level.
Other medical conditions, such as periodontal disease, hypertension and thyroid disorder that have all been linked to the development of kidney problems.
Chronic kidney problems develop over a number of months or even years.
Acute renal failure
Acute renal failure is the sudden onset of kidney problems, usually over the course of just a few days or weeks. It can be caused by a range of things including:
Trauma to the bladder or pelvis
Chronic vomiting or diarrhea
Extreme blood loss
Infection in the kidneys
Blockages that prevent blood flowing into the kidney and urine from flowing out of it properly
Treatment is possible, and the effects can often be reversed. Nevertheless, your cat will almost certainly suffer some unpleasant symptoms in the meantime.
Preventing kidney disease in cats
Unfortunately, around 80% of cats will develop kidney disease during their lifetime. The good news is there are some things that you can do to help reduce the likelihood of your kitty suffering from this common health problem for as long as possible.
Eliminate dry food from her diet
A dry food diet is the leading cause of kidney-relate problems in cats in the U.S. It is essential for all animals to stay hydrated, but this is especially true of cats who need plenty of moisture to remain healthy. However, if your feline consumes a great deal of dry kibble, this will soak up a lot of the moisture that she needs, and this will mean that her kidneys will need to work harder than usual to process waste.
Increase the amount of wet food she eats
We know that wet food can be more expensive than dry, but it really is a better option for your kitty. Wet food will keep her both sated and hydrated. Ensure at least two out of three meals are going to be served up as wet food.
Use Milk Thistle supplements
Adding milk thistle to your feline friend’s diet is a sure-fire way to support the health of her kidneys. This is because it contains Silymarin, an active ingredient which helps the kidneys to filter out toxins more efficiently.
Milk thistle supplements are available from most pet stores or possibly directly from our vet.
Ensure she has plenty of fresh water
Water is crucial for all living things, and your cat is no exception. Unfortunately, many felines are extremely fussy about the water that they will drink and will only take advantage of the drink if it fits their expectations. This many mean investing in new water bowls, or even installing a drinking fountain just for your pampered pet.
Keep her weight under control
Obesity is a leading cause of many health problems, and it could go some way to your cat developing kidney problems. This is because obesity is linked to diabetes, and diabetes has a tendency to lead to kidney failure. If the weight of your pet is concerning you, speak to our vet at Murrayville Veterinary Clinic.
Ensure your kitty has wellness checks
Wellness checks are exactly what their name suggests – a series of tests designed to determine the wellness of your pet. These usually involve blood tests, one of which can check your kitty’s kidney function and ensure that it is working as it should.
If you have further questions about feline kidney disease, our friendly and knowledgeable team would be delighted to assist you. Please contact our Murrayville, GA veterinary clinic for more information about Early Detection Testing.