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Older Cat Kidney Failure

 Submitted by Michael Adams on December 30, 2009

Many older cats experience chronic renal failure. This is a progressive disease which cannot be reversed. In this particular disease, the deterioration is slow and the symptoms do not become apparent till the time the kidney has already sustained 70% of damage.

For most cat owners, the diagnosis of chronic renal failure is something that can be very discouraging and emotionally unnerving. However, with the right kind of care, many cats survive the disease and spend their last years relatively comfortably.

The onset of chronic renal failure may take many years.

The nephrons, or funnel shaped tubes that help filter the blood and reabsorb vital nutrients, decay steadily over a period of time in this disease. As these nephrons keep getting damaged, they stop functioning, decreasing the efficiency of the kidneys.

The nephrons may get damaged due to a subsisting infection, injury, poisoning, or age. Fortunately, the kidneys can continue to function even if twenty five percent of the nephrons are completely destroyed. However, when the damage goes beyond twenty five percent, dangerous toxins like creatinine and urea, which should otherwise be drained from the blood, start accumulating.

Chornic renal failure can be diagnosed using a blood test. A blood test is able to measure the critical components of the blood like blood urea nitrogen, sodium, phosphorus, and creatinine which can further help diagnose the level of filtration occurring inside the kidneys.  
An analysis of blood is also done side by side. This analysis can help diagnose the concentration of urine and the amounts of bacteria, blood and protein that’s being secreted in the urine.

The cat may experience difficulty passing urine. Kidney failure in older cats may have several symptoms. However, usually the symptoms begin to show when it’s already too late. These symptoms are weight loss, a dull coat, loss of appetite, vomiting, and excessive thirst.
The first thing you should do when you observe any of these symptoms is to take your cat to the vet for a detailed diagnosis. Since most of the symptoms of chronic renal failure in cats can be associated with diseases like hyperthyroidism, or other terminal diseases, it is all the more important to obtain a medical diagnosis.  

If your cat is suffering from chronic renal failure, a low protein and low phosphorus diet should ideally be given to it. If you wish to prolong your cat’s life, a rigorous treatment routine may have to be followed.

Pet Health Instructor
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