Kidney Failure in Cats

The kidney is a critical organ, whether in a human or a cat. Its function is to work with the liver in removing waste, toxins, and contaminants from the bloodstream. The kidney also provides specific health benefits, such as blood pressure control, electrolyte balance, and hydration control. If a cat is going into renal failure, or shutdown of its kidneys, the cat is suffering from a serious condition that will worsen over time. If you suspect that your feline friend is experiencing a health issue, contact our veterinarians at North Heights Veterinary Clinic in Appleton.


Causes and Types

There are a number of reasons a cat’s kidneys can begin to fail. Many times, it becomes apparent in old age, as a cat is well into its senior years. However, kidney failure can happen earlier, especially if the cat is dealing with a tumor, an infection, or has been poisoned by something it ate. When renal failure occurs, the toxins that are normally filtered out start to build up.

Acute renal failure is the most serious. In this situation, the cat’s kidneys have completely shut down. It typically happens with some kind of shock to the system, such as sudden blockage, poisoning, or trauma, such as being hit by a car. Dehydration can also trigger acute failure as well.

Chronic renal failure occurs over time and is far more common in older cats. It builds up and can take months or as long as years to manifest. When it does, the kidney typically goes into total failure. The progression is slow but clearly evident in the end stages.

Symptoms and Signals

Cats, ironically, start drinking far more water when their kidneys are not working properly. The cat will keep trying to urinate but will fail or have very little output. Alternatively, cats stop eating because the reaction causes them to lose their appetite and be prone to vomiting. The cat will lose energy and be very irritable as well, generally out of sorts.

Treatments and Adjustments

Unfortunately, feline kidney disease can’t be cured. However, it can be delayed, prolonging the life of the cat comfortably. A veterinarian first confirms the kidney condition with blood and urine tests where possible. At this point, based on the visible condition, behavior, and test results, the vet prescribes a course of action. For early conditions, a variety of options can be applied, including medicine, supplements, and surgery if the blockage is acute and visible.

Where palliative care is needed, a veterinarian can help with pharmaceuticals that help with end-stage pet care and comfort. The goal in this situation is to make things as easy as possible for the cat as it goes into its last days. In many cases, the cat will pass, or the owner will be offered the option of euthanasia when it is clear the feline pet is in its last stage and the pain is likely significant for it to continue to keep going.

Contact Our Veterinarians for Help with Feline Kidney Failure

If your pet is potentially dealing with kidney problems or you need confirmation from a vet, contact North Heights Veterinary Clinic in Appleton. We can diagnose the accurate condition of where your cat is, which stage of renal failure is occurring, and the options that make the most sense for your cat. Pet care is as much about helping your cat prolong its life as it is the care at the end as well. We can help with both. Call us today at (920) 739-7816 to schedule an appointment.

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