Kidney disease is very common in cats. Older cats and Himalayan and Persian cat breeds are more highly susceptible. Just as in humans, kidneys are a key organ for regulating the major bodily systems. They regulate blood pressure, hormone production and electrolyte balance and remove waste from the bloodstream.
There are many causes of kidney disease in cats. Most often an undetected bladder or urinary tract infection travels up the ureter to the kidneys, where it causes inflammation and damage to the kidneys. Inflamed kidneys become enlarged and painful. As with many other diseases, your cat might not show warning signs of kidney inflammation until the infection is advanced.
Common symptoms of kidney inflammation are:
– Increased thirst and urination
– Weight loss
– Loss of appetite
– Muscle weakness
Diagnosis of Kidney Inflammation
Twice a year wellness check ups are important for monitoring your cat’s health and can make early detection of kidney issues possible. Your vet will take a complete blood profile and perform a urinalysis. A blood panel will show if there are any abnormal levels of waste products circulating in the blood, and whether your cat is anemic. A urinalysis picks up whether there are elevated levels of microproteins in the urine.
Your veterinarian can discover whether the kidneys are enlarged through a palpation exam. If they are enlarged, the doctor will likely require an ultrasound, a urine culture or a kidney tissue biopsy to gain further information about your cat’s condition.
Treatment of Kidney Inflammation
Unless your cat is in crisis due to renal failure or dehydration, outpatient treatment is suitable. If your cat is hospitalized, common treatment includes intravenous fluids, minerals and electrolytes to rehydrate and correct imbalances. Outpatient treatment of kidney disease is long term and may include antibiotics, diet and lifestyle changes. Cats often receive a 6 week regimen of high dosage antibiotics.
Changes to your cat’s diet will help them to reduce the inflammation in their kidneys and to live a long life. Your doctor will recommend that you implement a high quality therapeutic diet of proteins and supplements, especially vitamins B and D and omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, make sure that your cat has access to an abundance of fresh, chlorine and flouride free water. Monitor your cat’s eating and drinking habits so that you can notice any sudden changes in their condition.