Feline CRF Blood Testing

Feline CRF, or chronic renal failure, refers to a progressive deterioration of kidney cells over time. CRF is a serious condition that can be fatal if left untreated. Although it primarily strikes older cats, even young cats with improper nutrition or poor genetic history may suffer from chronic renal failure. Due to this fact, it is important to be on the lookout for symptoms of chronic renal failure in your cat of any age. If you suspect that your cat may suffer from CRF, take him to a veterinarian immediately. The vet will likely perform a series of blood tests in order to determine a diagnosis for your cat. Read on to learn a bit more about these tests and why they are important.

The Purpose of Blood Testing for CRF

The kidneys are responsible for controlling waste that is given off through urine. If the kidneys fail to adequately control this process, excess waste particles can build up in both the urine and the blood. A series of blood tests can confirm the presence of these particles in your cat's system, which is adequate proof of CRF in many cases.

Types of Blood Testing

If you think that your cat may have CRF, ask your vet to conduct a complete blood count (CBC) and a blood chemistry analysis. The CBC test is used to measure the levels of red and white blood cells in your cat's system, while the chemistry analysis will provide information about the cholesterol, glucose, creatine and BUN (blood urea nitrogen) levels. Between these two tests, your veterinarian will have the information he requires in order to make a diagnosis.

Results of Blood Tests

Your veterinarian will look for elevated creatine and BUN levels in your cat's blood as a primary indicator of feline CRF. Typically, a urinalysis exam is helpful in confirming the results from the blood test. It is important to remember, however, that a blood test is not a diagnosis in and of itself.  A cat's exam may turn out differently depending upon a variety of factors, including his hydration levels, when and what he last ate, his level of stress during the exam itself and more.

Because of the normal variance in feline blood tests, most vets recommend a second series of tests. Try your best to match the conditions of the first exam, particularly in your pet's diet and stress levels leading up to the test. Remember also that most cats find the process of taking the blood sample to be painful and traumatic, so try not to subject your pet to this experience more than is necessary  Your veterinarian will be able to help determine how many tests will be necessary, as well as the frequency of administration of those tests.

Feline CRF is a dangerous condition, in part because it oftentimes goes unnoticed until it has progressed to near fatal levels. If you suspect that your pet may be showing even the first warning signs of CRF, or if your pet is 6 years of age or older, speak with a veterinarian about testing for CRF through blood exams.