Cats with Renal Amyloidosis

Abyssinian cat up close, side view of face

A potentially fatal condition called renal amyloidosis is brought on by an accumulation of strange proteins in your cat's kidney. The signs of renal amyloidosis don't usually show up clearly because they are similar to many other kidney diseases. Frequent urination, extreme thirst, and vomiting are a few of these symptoms. If you think your cat could have renal problems of any type, take them to the doctor. All cats have the potential to acquire renal amyloidosis, which is more common in Abyssinians and Siamese cats and very uncommon in other breeds. Your veterinarian will do a thorough examination, x-rays, and a biopsy to determine the presence of renal amyloidosis. Renal amyloidosis cannot be cured, although its symptoms can be controlled with medication and dietary changes. Although there is little hope, there are steps you may take to increase your cat's chances of survival.

What is Renal Amyloidosis?

The buildup of the aberrant protein "amyloid" surrounding kidney cells is known as renal amyloidosis. Amyloid displaces healthy cells in kidney tissue where it accumulates, which can seriously harm the organ. Amyloid induces renal inflammation, which prevents proper kidney function and causes a cat to pass necessary proteins in its urine. A cat may lose its defense against clotting and the buildup of fluid in its tummy and limbs if healthy proteins are lost. Renal amyloidosis can result in catastrophic, total organ failure if it is not treated.

Symptoms of Renal Amyloidosis in Cats

Although renal amyloidosis symptoms don't usually show up clearly, they are similar to many other kidney illnesses in cats. Visit your veterinarian if you see indications of pain or strange behavior in your cat.

Symptoms

  • Excessive thirst and urination
  • Skin tenting
  • Vomiting and weight loss
  • Swollen limbs
  • Oral ulcers

Excessive Thirst and Urination

A cat with renal amyloidosis may drink from sources other than its bowl, such as drinking glasses, birdbaths, and the sink, or may do so more frequently than normal. Due to the injured kidney's inability to properly concentrate and store the urine, excessive urination frequently occurs along with thirst. As the cat cannot satiate its thirst, it will drink more and urinate more.

Skin Tenting

Renal amyloidosis-related dehydration can cause a cat's skin to "tent," which means that if the skin is gently pushed away from the body and picked up around the neck, it will create a "tent" rather than return to its original position.

Vomiting and Weight Loss

Cats with renal amyloidosis may lose weight as a result of reduced appetite or vomiting. A cat may get extremely unwell, stop eating, and begin vomiting due to the accumulation of waste materials that a healthy kidney would be able to filter.

Swollen Limbs

Renal amyloidosis sometimes causes a cat's limbs to swell. When amyloid causes healthy protein levels in the blood to drop too low, fluid build-up in the legs and lymphatic system can occur.

Oral Sores

Mouth ulcers are brought on by a buildup of nitrogen compounds in the blood, which is brought on by sick kidneys. Oral bleeding, increased salivation, and decreased appetite brought on by oral discomfort are all signs of mouth ulcers.

Causes of Renal Amyloidosis

Renal amyloidosis in cats can be brought on by a number of circumstances. A gene mutation, a genetic condition seen in the bloodline of feline family trees, is thought to be the cause of the aberrant protein structure.

  • Genetics: Certain breeds of cats are more likely to develop renal amyloidosis than others, but the specific cause of this disease is not known. Abyssinians and Siamese cats are thought to have genetic predispositions to developing renal amyloidosis. In these breeds, renal amyloidosis is inherited.
  • Age: Cats like Abyssinians and Siamese tend to develop amyloidosis at a young age spontaneously. Most other cats with amyloidosis are older than seven, but a diagnosis can occur at any point in a cat's life. The risk of developing the disease increases as a cat ages. Some Siamese cats with genetic amyloidosis may be diagnosed between one and four years of age. Typically, these cats usually have no pre-existing inflammatory conditions.
  • Pre-existing disease: Any disease or cancer that causes inflammation of the kidney can make a cat more vulnerable to developing renal amyloidosis. Chronic kidney infection has been connected to renal amyloidosis as well.

Diagnosing Renal Amyloidosis in Cats

Renal amyloidosis in cats is difficult to identify from other renal disorders, and many other feline organ diseases share many of the same symptoms. The comparatively low prevalence of renal amyloidosis in cats further complicates a diagnosis. Your veterinarian may suspect amyloidosis as a reason and move through with tests if they discover that your cat's kidney is the most severely afflicted of all the affected organs. It is unlikely that a veterinarian's touch or an x-ray examination of the kidneys will be sufficient to determine the condition. A kidney biopsy is the only way a precise diagnosis may be made. The biopsy, which is regrettably occasionally done posthumously, will show whether there is amyloid present.

Treatment

Renal amyloidosis in cats is incurable. There is no cure for amyloid protein buildup, however managing the disease's symptoms may improve a cat's quality of life and decrease the disease's development. Fluid administration, dietary modifications, anti-inflammatory drugs, and medicine to manage secondary issues like hypertension can all be used to relieve unpleasant symptoms.

Prognosis for Cats With Renal Amyloidosis

Cats with renal amyloidosis have a dismal prognosis. The average lifespan of cats with damaged or failing kidneys is less than a year. Using medicine and food treatment, other, less afflicted cats may be able to live longer and closer to normal lives. Only if your cat hasn't already suffered from renal failure is this accurate.

How to Prevent Renal Amyloidosis

The main defense against renal amyloidosis is constant observation of your cat's health. Siamese and Abyssinian cat breeds should undergo routine vet checks for renal amyloidosis. Even though the exact etiology of this condition is unknown, if renal amyloidosis symptoms are identified early, the disease's progression may be able to be delayed. To keep an eye on kidney health, it is advised that young cats have annual blood testing and elderly cats receive twice-yearly examinations.

FAQ
  • Is renal amyloidosis common in cats?

    Although renal amyloidosis is uncommon in cats generally, your Abyssinian or Siamese cat is considerably more prone to get the condition. Keep a watch out for disease in any cat, but pay particular attention to those two breeds.

  • Is renal amyloidosis curable?

    Unfortunately, renal amyloidosis is not curable. A vet can take specific measures to improve your cat's quality of life, but a cat isn't expected to survive long after a diagnosis.

  • Why is my cat urinating excessively?

    Cats with renal amyloidosis may urinate excessively because their kidneys are unable to properly concentrate nutrients. This implies that every time your cat poops, it is eliminating vital nutrients like proteins and vitamins that its body is unable to retain through frequent urine. If this occurs, consult a veterinarian right away.

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.

CITATION

"Chronic Kidney Disease. Cornell Feline Health Center.", "Recognizing the Signs of Illness in Cats. VCA Hospitals. ", "Renal Amyloidosis. Cornell Feline Health Center.", "Amyloidosis in Cats. VCA Hospitals.", "Genova, F., Nonnis, S., Maffioli, E. et al. Multi-omic analyses in Abyssinian cats with primary renal amyloid depositsSci Rep 11, 8339, 2021. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-87168-0" ;

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