Health Tips: RENAL FAILURE IN CATS
Today we will focus on our Cat population
KONA HERE WITH CAT NEWS!!
Signs of Renal failure in cats. Increased thirst is often the first symptom.
Kidney disease, in the form of chronic renal failure (CRF), is a common problem in older cats. Many Cat lovers have seen kidney failure as young as 4 years, but far more frequently in much older cats. The most noticeable symptom is an increase in water consumption and urination ("drink-a-lot, pee-a-lot syndrome"). A blood test should be done if you notice these symptoms, as there are several conditions that can cause this. The increase in drinking and urinating in CRF is due to loss of the kidney's ability to concentrate the urine. The kidneys have a very large reserve capacity, and symptoms of kidney failure are not seen until approximately 75% of kidney tissue is non-functional. According to many veterinarians, kidney failure is the most common cause of death in older cats.
Laboratory tests are always needed to definitively diagnose CRF. A blood test alone is usually not sufficient; a urinalysis must be taken at the same time the blood is drawn. Kidney disease is likely present when the cat is “azotemic” AND the urine is not sufficiently concentrated. “Azotemia” means that there is an increase in particular compounds in the blood; specifically blood urea nitrogen– BUN–and/or creatinine. The measurement of urine concentration is called Urine Specific Gravity (USG). If the cat’s USG is less than 1.035 (1.030 in dogs) and azotemia is present, (excess amount of levels of nitrogen based substances e.g. creatine, urea) then kidney function is abnormal. BUN and/or creatinine levels are needed, as in dogs and humans. BUN's can be high if your cat is dehydrated (common in cats who eat a lot of dry food, or during hot weather or after a stressful car ride). They may also be increased in cats on a high protein diet. As long as the kidneys are able to concentrate the urine, small elevations in BUN and/or creatinine are usually not a cause for alarm.and or the dreaded Kidney failure syndrome.
Causes of Chronic Renal Failure (CRF)
Recent research suggests a link between vaccination for feline distemper and immune-mediated inflammation of the kidneys, which is thought to be the cause of CRF.. A cat with kidney disease or kidney failure should not be vaccinated at all. Consult with your veterinarian!!!
It has also been noted that long-term feeding of an all-dry-food diet is also suspected as a factor in Chronic Renal Failure. Cats' kidneys are highly efficient and adapt to their common everyday life. However, cats eating dry cat food take in only half the water that cats on a canned or homemade diet get; this chronic dehydration can cause stress on the kidneys over time. Dry diets also predispose cats to lower urinary tract disease (e.g. crystals, stones, cystitis) because they force such a high degree of urine concentration.
Chronic or recurrent bladder disease may also be a factor in the development of CRF.
Treatment of Chronic Kidney Failure
Chronic kidney failure is progressive and incurable. As in any chronic disease, animal or human conventional or alternative medical treatment cannot reverse its course, since the disease involves the loss of kidney cells and its replacement by scar tissue. The rate of progression in any individual cat probably cannot be slowed to any significant degree. The most significant problems caused by the loss of function are build-up of blood toxins, and anemia, causing weight loss, lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, and other signs of illness.
Some cats are able to maintain their body weight and live relatively comfortable lives for months to years, while others succumb to the disease more quickly. In conventional medicine, there are drugs that can minimize anemia, but not palatable to your cat or dog. In some instances, adverse reactions have been noted.
Many veterinarians would say, because it is the single most important thing to know about CRF: feed the cat anything they will eat! IF THE CAT WON'T EAT IT, IT WON'T HELP THE CAT! Weight loss is your cat's worst enemy in this disease; so let the cat eat what they want!
Because water balance is so crucial, it is best to feed a high-moisture diet to help keep the cat hydrated; do not feed only dry food. Feeding mostly or only canned food, even though it is high in phosphorus and protein, provides the moisture and calories that these cats need, in a very palatable form that most cats will happily eat. Also available are low-phosphorus renal diets in canned form. Dry cat food causes dehydration even in healthy cats, and is not appropriate for CRF cats
(unless, of course, it's the only food he/she will eat!).
Special Nutrition for Chronic Renal Failure
Several nutritional supplements may be helpful for cats/dogs with kidney disease. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be beneficial in CRF. Antioxidants are also important. Both of these are contained in the highly digestible algae, Biosuperfood. A nutritional supplement called "Renafood" from Standard Process, is a good renal detoxifier and helps to maximize kidney function in cats. Give one or two a day. Most cats eat them readily if they are crushed into the food. Call Standard Process at 1-800-558-8740 to find a distributor in your area.
The best thing possibly feed a home-prepared diet; but only if you cat will eat it! There are several good books on home cooking for animals, such as
Dr. Pitcairn's Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, by Richard Pitcairn, DVM, and Susan Pitcairn. (excellent reading and recipes)
Holistic Veterinary Care can be very important if that is your route to go.
While no treatment can create new kidney cells, and reduce scar tissue that has already formed. Homeopathy, herbs, flower essences or acupuncture may be able to help your cat feel better and live a better quality of life. This is also very good for you dog!!
"ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR VETERINARIAN BEFORE STARTING ANY TREATMENT OUTSIDE OF CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE.!!!!!"
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