Understanding Chronic Feline Kidney Disease

If you have a cat, then you may see your feline as an integral part of your family. If you care for your cat like you would your child, then you likely understand the value of investing in well health visits and looking for signs that your cat may be ill. There are several common diseases that your cat may develop that include chronic kidney disease. Keep reading to learn about this disorder, its signs, and how it can be treated.

What Is Chronic Kidney Disorder?

Chronic kidney disease or chronic kidney failure is when the kidneys deteriorate in function significantly over a period of time. The kidneys are responsible for filtering all the wastes out of the blood. The waste is then moved to the bladder where is is held before it is excreted. Typically, the kidneys filter the blood continuously. This is extremely important to ensure that waste products are both collected and excreted in a timely manner.

If your cat develops kidney disease, then the organs cannot remove waste as efficiently, effectively, or completely as they once did. This means that wastes are able to build up significantly in the blood. This can place a great deal of stress on the heart and lungs and this can throw off your cat's natural balance of electrolytes and the normal pH of the blood. 

If your cat develops kidney disease, then there are some things you will likely notice. Your cat will probably start drinking a great deal of water, will urinate more often, and may lose weight. Loss of appetite may be a noticeable issue and you may see some blood in the urine. 

What Causes The Disorder?

Cats are prone to kidney disease for a variety of reasons and there are several things that can cause the disease to develop. Kidney infections, the blockage of the urethra, kidney stone development, cancer, genetics, and the ingestion of toxins can all cause kidney disease to develop. Also, old age can contribute to the disease. In fact, older cats are prone to developing kidney disease and in greater numbers than younger felines.

In general, your cat's kidneys are placed under a great deal of stress. Felines are carnivores and must consume a great deal of meat and protein. However, cats do not require a lot of water. A lot of waste is created when the protein is digested and this waste is highly concentrated since there is little water to mix with the waste. The kidneys are responsible for filtering out the highly concentrated waste products, so they are placed under a great deal of stress on a daily basis. This stress alone can lead to kidney failure and it is the reason why it is more common as cat's age. 

How Can Kidney Failure Be Treated?

While kidney failure is a chronic disease that will cause the deterioration of your cat's health, you can slow the progression of the disease through a treatment plan. This plan involves the control of the wastes that are able to build in the blood and thus need to be filtered by the kidneys. If your cat has a less serious case of kidney disease, then you may be able to control it with a diet change. Since protein is necessary for cats, a food with a good deal of high quality protein is suggested. The food should be low in sodium and phosphorous though. These are things that are filtered out of the blood and place stress on the kidneys. Your veterinarian can help you choose the best food and this may mean buying a prescription variety. 

If your cat has a more serious case of kidney disease or if the ailment has progressed, then fluid therapy may be required. This type of therapy is when your cat is provided with IV fluids to help reduce the concentration of wastes. Also, it allows for better electrolyte balance in your cat's body.