Rosemullion Blog

Posted on by StuartSaunders

Want to check if you cat has Kidney disease?

Rosemullion Vet Practice, along with Novartis (who manufacture a drug that can be useful in CKD) have created a fantastic offer if you are worried about kidney disease in you older cat. Usually the cost of the kit and the lab tests and analysis would cost nearly £16 but for a limited time we are able to offer it for just £1  Please ask our reception, vets or nursing staff for a cat urine sample kit. We think £1 is worth it, to screen your elderly cat for early kidney disease and promptly start on treatments which could mean you get to enjoy your time together for longer. If you want to know why we think this is such a good idea……. Read on

Meet Pixie, as you can see an aristocratic-looking Russian Blue cat who recently celebrated her 19th birthday, despite having been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD) 18 months ago. Pixie had started to drink more water and was losing weight, prompting her owner to make an appointment to see one of our vets. Blood and urine tests confirmed that she had kidney (renal) disease, one of the most common diseases found in elderly cats.

In the earlier stages of chronic kidney disease, cats will first of all lose the ability to create concentrated urine, and will instead pass dilute urine which then forces them to drink more water in order to stay hydrated. In some instances they literally cannot, or are too weak to drink enough and will end up presenting in our clinic collapsed and dehydrated. As the disease progresses, the kidneys will also be unable to excrete toxins, so cats can feel nauseous, be disinclined to eat, may vomit and may develop mouth and gastro-intestinal ulcers.

If diagnosed in the earlier stages, some simple interventions such as a change to a prescription renal diet, can extend life by 2.5- 3 times that of cats fed ordinary commercial cat foods. The prescription diets are lower in protein, contain good -quality protein (so the kidney has to ‘work’ less to process it), are restricted in phosphorus (which otherwise accumulates in these cats) and have potassium added (which is otherwise lost through the kidneys in these cats). Two large-scale studies have shown these diets to prolong life for these affected cats, but unfortunately they will end up succumbing to the disease eventually, kidney transplants not being a viable option as would occur in the human medical field.

In many cats a diet change is all that is recommended, in others sometimes drugs are needed- to stop protein loss through the kidneys, to control blood pressure, treat ulcers, or for those cats who won’t eat the renal diet food (there’s always some who are particularly fussy!)

With 19 year old Pixie, initially she was started on a renal diet, but as her stage of kidney disease was more advanced and she was continuing to lose weight and to become dehydrated, it was decided to start to administer life-saving fluids to her subcutaneously (under the skin) several times a week. This involved her coming in for a nurse clinic and having a needle inserted under her skin to deliver the fluids. This was tolerated so well by Pixie and obviously benefited her both visibly (she became brighter and playful again; had a better appetite and gained weight; and regained her glossy coat) and internally (her elevated kidney enzymes came back down to near normal levels after starting this treatment) that her dedicated owner made the decision to continue the treatment at home. This would not be the treatment of choice for every cat, but as Pixie is so sweet-natured and uncomplaining, it has been of great benefit to her and has meant that her human companions have been able to enjoy at least another year with her.

For more information on this or any other conditions affecting cats, a useful site is www.fabcats.org or speak to one of our staff