Feline CRF: Chronic Renal Failure in Cats

Feline CRF develops due to kidney disease in cats. Although older cats are more susceptible to kidney disorders due to deterioration of the kidneys over time, certain breeds such as Persian cats are at greater risk. The function of the kidney is to filter fluids and eliminate waste matter form the body. Cats suffering from chronic kidney disorders may suffer from waste buildup in the body and electrolyte imbalance. Prolonged kidney malfunction leads to further deterioration of the kidneys and causes chronic renal failure. Since there isn't any established cure for CRF, pet owners should notice the symptoms in time and seek prompt medical intervention to help the cat have a better quality of life.

Symptoms of Feline CRF Include:

  • Excessive urination and thirst
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Straining to urinate
  • Vomiting
  • Bad breath
  • Dull hair coat

Diagnosis of Feline CRF

Since the function of kidneys involves the filtration of creatine and the production of erythropoietin, feline CRF is diagnosed through blood tests that determine the presence of these components in the blood. A urine analysis is then performed to detect the presence of bacteria and determine urine concentration. To obtain a pure sample of urine, the vet may use a catheter to extract urine directly from the body. Additional diagnostic tests include blood chemistry profile, abdominal ultrasounds and tests to rule out underlying health concerns.

Causes of Feline CRF

The underlying cause of kidney deterioration could be one of many factors such as renal dysplasia, polycystic kidney disease, bacterial infections in the kidneys or dietary inadequacies and periodontal disease. Cats suffering from hyperthyroidism or treated for the condition are at greater risk of developing CRF. Although CRF cannot be completely treated with surgery or oral medication, it can be well controlled. However, cats require frequent vet checks to monitor disease progression and response to treatment.

Treatment of Feline CRF

Pet's severely ill due to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and waste buildup need hospitalization to prevent death. Cats will be administered supportive care with IV fluids and dietary modification. Food that's low in phosphorous and protein, benefits pets suffering from CRF. Water or fluids may be added to cat food to increase water consumption. Flavored water may also be given to the cat to increase palatability. Prescribed drugs include medicines that reduce toxins in the blood and treat conditions such as anemia, hyperalkemia and hypoalkemia. Research is trying to establish newer treatment options that alter the blood flow to lower pressure on the kidneys.

Home Care

The vet may prescribe certain stimulants that increase appetite. Pet owners could also be trained to administer subcutaneous fluids to the cat. In addition, it's important to ensure that the cat consumes sufficient water daily. Cats suffering from CRF should be monitored for unusual symptoms or conditions during treatment. Pet owners should also read and follow package instructions before administration of any vet prescribed medicines. Follow up diagnostic tests are also necessary to slow the progress of CRF.

Another kidney disorder known as acute renal failure also develops due to kidney disorders. However the symptoms are sudden and may lead to death.