Chronic Kidney Failure in Cats

Chronic kidney failure, also known as chronic renal failure, is one of the leading health issues affecting cats of all breeds and both genders. This condition develops over time and is a result of the loss of function of the kidneys. When this happens, your cat's body is not able to process waste in the way that he normally would, and the resultant buildup of toxic waste products in his body can cause a variety of negative symptoms and may even lead to death. Read on for an overview of the causes and symptoms of this condition, as well as how to diagnose and treat it.

Overview of Chronic Kidney Failure

As your cat processes the food that he eats, waste products are formed. In healthy cats, the kidneys and other organs work to process these wastes and eliminate them from your cat's body through urination and defecation. When your pet's kidneys stop working properly, he will no longer be able to flush out the toxins through his urine. The result is that those toxins will remain in his body, where they can cause him a number of health side effects.

Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Failure

One of the dangerous things about chronic organ failure in cats and many other animals is that it's oftentimes not noticeable until the condition has progressed to a dangerous degree. Your pet's body is able to continue functioning at a normal level, even while his kidneys are severely damaged. Therefore, by the time that you recognize any of the symptoms of chronic kidney failure, your pet may already be in a serious condition. The following are the most common symptoms of kidney failure in cats:

  • Increased urination and increased thirst
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Bad breath
  • Changes in behavior leading to depression
  • Difficulty walking properly

Diagnosis and Treatment of Kidney Failure

Kidney failure must be diagnosed through a variety of different tests. The first thing that you should do if you notice your pet displaying any of the symptoms listed above is to keep a log of those symptoms that you see. Take your cat to a vet as quickly as possible and be prepared to elaborate on the history of the symptoms. Using your pet's medical records and the symptoms that you've described, your vet will decide how to proceed. In order to diagnose kidney failure, your vet will take a blood sample, a urinalysis test, x-rays and a variety of other tests.

Treating kidney failure is a difficult procedure. Because the condition is not curable, treatment involves managing the symptoms. You'll need to monitor your pet's fluid levels at all time, and treatment also involves correcting for anemia and other related conditions. You should also speak with your vet about changing your cat's diet so that it will be more conducive to the healthy processing of his food, which puts less stress on his kidneys and reduces the levels of toxins in his system.