How to Manage Cat Renal Failure

Persian cat lounging on wooden bench.

Unfortunately, your cat may get renal failure, a deadly condition. This illness can develop quickly or gradually over time. Maintaining your cat's comfort depends on your knowledge of the symptoms of renal failure and possible treatments.

What Is Renal Failure in Cats?

Cats experience renal failure when their kidneys quit working. The term "kidney failure" has been used sometimes. In addition to filtering trash from the blood and creating red blood cells, the kidneys also balance electrolytes, keep the body hydrated, and produce urine. The kidneys are no longer able to perform these crucial tasks for the body if renal failure sets in.

Acute renal failure happens suddenly, but chronic renal failure develops over time as a result of illnesses including polycystic kidney disease, cancer, or long-term kidney damage. Unfortunately, there is no medication that can completely reverse renal failure in cats; instead, it can only be managed.

Signs of Renal Failure in Cats

Signs of Renal Failure in Cats

  • Weight loss
  • Excessive urination
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Increased thirst
  • Lethargy

A cat suffering from renal failure will feel awful. Every sick cat has vomiting, loss of appetite, and lethargy, but renal failure cats experience these symptoms more frequently. If your cat has renal issues, it will drink more, urinate more, and lose weight as a result of eating less.

Causes of Renal Failure in Cats

A cat's renal failure, whether acute or chronic, can result from a variety of conditions. Renal failure may be caused by anything that interferes with a cat's kidney function or by any kidney illness. Some of the most typical causes of renal failure in cats are listed here.

  • Ingestion of a toxin - Antifreeze, various plants like , and even some human foods like grapes and raisins can cause renal failure in cats.
  • Urinary blockage - If a cat is unable to urinate, damage to the kidneys can occur which can lead to renal failure.
  • Systemic shock - If a cat's blood flow is disrupted due to shock, kidney damage and ultimately renal failure can happen.
  • - Heart failure can lead to kidney damage due to increased pressure in blood vessels.
  • Low or high blood pressure - If left untreated, abnormal blood pressure in cats can lead to renal failure.
  • Medications - Various medications may have side effects that cause kidney damage. This can eventually lead to renal failure.
  • Pyelonephritis - Like other forms of kidney disease, pyelonephritis can lead to renal failure.
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis - This disease can cause severe inflammation in the kidneys leading to renal failure.
  • - High blood sugar levels can cause kidney damage resulting in renal failure.

Diagnosing Renal Failure in Cats

A vet check is necessary if you think your cat has kidney illness or renal failure. It is likely that tests will be performed on the blood and urine to search for illness and kidney damage indicators. It's possible to take your cat's blood pressure. Your veterinarian will interrogate you in an effort to determine whether there was any possible exposure to poisons or drugs. X-rays and/or an ultrasound may be advised if there is evidence of kidney damage or a problem with your cat's kidneys' capacity to operate normally.

Treatment of Renal Failure in Cats

Fluid treatment and drugs to treat the symptoms are frequently employed, depending on the etiology of the renal failure. There is no way to reverse or cure renal failure, although some reasons may necessitate hospitalization to stabilize your cat. The objectives are to control the symptoms, postpone the onset of total renal failure, and eventually prevent mortality. Euthanasia will be suggested after your cat's quality of life deteriorates.

How to Prevent Renal Failure in Cats

The best strategy to stop renal failure in your cat is to maintain its kidney health since kidney injury can lead to renal failure. Encourage water consumption by using water fountains, and keep an eye on urine production to make sure your cat is going to the bathroom normally and frequently. Ask your vet if giving your cat is the best option and whether adding kidney supplements to its diet is necessary. Your cat's kidneys may be supported by omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, probiotics, B vitamins, and a number of antioxidants. Renal failure can potentially be avoided by annual blood tests that check kidney enzyme levels.

Risk Factors for Developing Renal Failure

Renal failure is known to occur more frequently in some cat breeds than others. Iranians, Abyssinians, Siamese, Ragdolls, Burmese, Russian Blues, and Maine Coons are a few of these. Regular renal function testing and kidney support supplements may be helpful for some breeds.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.


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