Feline Chronic Renal Failure Symptoms

Chronic renal failure (CRF), also termed as chronic renal insufficiency, is a kidney disease that leads to kidney failure. The kidneys perform several important bodily functions that are necessary for optimal health. Kidney dysfunction leads to buildup of toxic waste matter in the body, electrolyte or fluid imbalance and reduced red blood cell formation. The two types of kidney failure that occur in felines are known as chronic and acute kidney failure. Chronic kidney failure is often controlled with dietary modification, surgery and medication. The onset of acute kidney failure is sudden and can in turn lead to chronic renal failure.

Causes of Chronic Renal Failure in Cats

Although CRF is more common in older cats, other pets may suffer from it due to ingestion of toxic substances, renal diseases and genetic predisposition. Breeds such as Siamese, Maine Coon and Burmese cats are some of breeds at risk of developing renal diseases. In addition, other factors such as dietary indiscretion and low potassium levels contribute to CRF. In order to treat CRF in time, it's necessary to notice the symptoms of renal disease and seek medical attention.

Symptoms of Chronic Renal Failure in Cats:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Halitosis
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Bad breath
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Muscle loss
  • Constipation

Diagnosis of Chronic Renal Failure

The symptoms exhibited vary according to the severity of renal disease involved. The vet will perform a physical examination and consider the cat's medical history. Blood tests reveal toxic buildup in the blood. Urea and creatinine in particular are detected through a blood test. In addition, low level of sodium is a strong indicator of CRF. Cats will have to undergo a urine analysis to diagnose bacterial infection, urinary stones and blood in the urine. In order to obtain a pure sample, the vet may use a catheter to directly obtain urine from the cat's body. Apart from blood and urine tests, the vet will conduct x-rays and ultrasounds to detect internal abnormalities in the abdomen and urinary tract. Once the diagnosis is confirmed the vet will rule out other health concerns such as thyroid dysfunction.

Treatment of Chronic Renal Failure in Cats

Cats severely ill due to kidney failure require hospitalization and IV fluids to maintain electrolyte balance. Vomiting will be controlled with medication and low potassium will be corrected with potassium supplementation. Dietary modification is necessary, as pets require diets lower in proteins and phosphorous to help them recuperate. Prescribed medication should be administered on time, according to vet instructions. Although kidney transplants are performed by specialized vets, the procedure isn't recommended for older pets. Pet owners may also use herbal or natural remedies to maintain kidney function. Pets suffering from CRF require additional attention and home care to increase the cat's quality of life.

Since CRF often occurs due to the consumption of foods that contain additives, preservatives and byproducts, it's necessary to read commercial food labels. Most commercial products now contain ingredients that lower the risk of developing urinary tract disease and urinary stones. CRF is a terminal illness and pet owners should work with the vet to keep the cat comfortable and administer medication to increase survival time.