Feline Renal Failure Stages

Chronic feline renal failure is a progressive, degenerative disease that affects primarily older cats. This condition is one in which the kidneys are damaged more and more over an extended period of time. As they become damaged, they can no longer completely execute their task of purifying and filtering the liquids of the body. When feline renal failure reaches a certain crucial point, your pet will begin to develop outward symptoms. Left unmoderated, this condition can quickly become deadly. Chronic renal failure is not curable, but you and your vet can work together to help manage it, so that your pet can continue to lead a relatively normal, healthy life. According to the International Renal Interest Society, there are three primary stages of feline renal failure.

Stage 1 - Renal Disease

In the earliest stages of chronic renal failure, your pet will suffer from a somewhat insufficient kidney function. This part of the disease may continue on for many years without you even knowing about it. The reason for this is that there will likely be no outward symptoms of the signs of renal disease in your cat; many cats don't show any outward signs that they have any kidney function problems until about three quarters of their kidney tissue is dead. Renal disease at this stage can be detected by slightly elevated levels of certain kidney hormones and enzymes in the blood. However, if you and your vet are not watching out for them, you may not notice them at all.

If you do detect your pet's kidney disease during this time, it's a good idea to begin to take measures to address the condition. Consider changing his diet and providing him with a set of supplements to help stabilize his kidney function.

Stage 2 - Renal Insufficiency

At the second stage of feline renal failure, the levels of creatinine and BUN, two of the telling hormones and chemicals in the blood which are typically linked with kidney function, will be noticeably different from normal. Your cat may also begin to display signs of kidney failure. These often include:

  • Altered eating and drinking habits
  • Change in urination pattern
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Confusion or unusual behavior

However, it's also relatively common for cats suffering from the second stage of renal failure to not show any symptoms at all. Alternately, the symptoms can be so subtle that they're difficult to notice or become confused with other symptoms and conditions.

Stage 3 - Renal Failure

In the last stage of chronic feline renal failure, your pet's kidneys are roughly 90 percent damaged or more. You'll start to see violent symptoms, including seizures, loss of consciousness, tremors and more. In the very last stages of kidney failure, your pet may vomit uncontrollably and go into a coma. At this stage, efforts are typically made to stabilize your pet and keep him comfortable in his last days or moments.

Ask your vet for more information about feline renal failure.