Renal Failure in Cats Prognosis

Renal failure in cats occurs when the kidneys become damaged or diseased over a period of time. Renal failure is quite common in older cats, and is a serious condition that should be treated promptly. Like humans, cats also need the kidneys as they are essential organs that help the body function properly and remain healthy. Feline renal failure can be both chronic or acute, with the chronic version occurring over a much more gradual pace. 

The Function of the Kidneys

The kidneys are vital organs in your pet's body and help the body filter wastes. Each filtering unit within the kidneys is called a nephron, and these important elements filter the blood as it passes through the kidney. When the kidneys become damaged, the body is unable to remove and filter waste and it builds up within the body. A build up of these wastes is poisonous and will quickly cause death when left untreated. 

What Causes Renal Failure in Cats?

Acute renal failure in cats is commonly caused by the following conditions:

  • Dehydration
  • Excessive blood loss
  • Heatstroke
  • Poisoning
  • Certain infections
  • Bodily injury or trauma
  • Arterial blood clot
  • Blockages in the urinary tract
  • Medications
  • Shock

Chronic renal failure in cats may be caused by the following conditions:

  • Tumors on the kidneys
  • Bacterial infections of the kidney
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Birth defects
  • Kidney inflammation
  • Damage to kidneys from toxins or poisons

Symptoms of Feline Renal Failure

Pet owners should look for the following signs and symptoms of renal failure in their cats:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bad breath
  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Lack of energy
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of urination
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Lack of coordination

Excessive thirst is often one of the very first signs of kidney disease in cats, and pet owners should address the symptoms of renal failure promptly to avoid any permanent damage to the kidneys. If you notice any of the symptoms of renal failure in your pet, take him to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Diagnosing and Treating Renal Failure in Cats

A complete medical history from your pet will be examined by a veterinarian when you take your pet in to be diagnosed. The veterinarian will also complete a thorough physical examination and investigate any possible poisons, toxins, or medications that he may have been exposed to. Blood tests, urine testing, kidney ultrasounds and a kidney biopsy may also be performed before your pet is diagnosed. 

Once your cat has been diagnosed with renal failure, he will need to be properly treated promptly to avoid any further damage to the kidneys and to the health. The underlying cause of your cat's renal failure will need to be established and treated properly. This may mean stopping any medications that are causing the condition, treating dehydration, treating urinary blockages, and treating whatever condition is causing your pet's kidneys to fail. 

The prognosis for renal failure in cats will depend entirely on the underlying cause of the condition and how advanced the damage to the kidneys is. The sooner feline renal failure is diagnosed and treated, the better your pet's chances are for a recovery. Because of this, pet owners should contact a veterinarian as soon as they notice any abnormal signs of renal failure in their pets.