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Kidney Disease

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I took my cat into the vet's office a couple days ago to get his annual shots. The vet said his weight was just right, but he had lost a pound or two from last year. She said that if he lost more weight in a short period he may have kidney disease. She also said if he drinks alot or camps out at the water bowl that may also be a sign of kidney disease. And I should look out for big clumps of pee in his litter box. She said that changing his diet, if you catch it early enough, could help.
She said that she had a cat that camped out at the water bowl, but she didn't see him drinking more than he had. But she still changed his diet. He was 15 years old at the time and he was expected to live for only a month or two. They cahnged his diet and he lived till he was 20.
My cat doesn't camp out at the water bowl, but he does have fairly large clumps of pee in his litter box. How big would the clumps have to be before we should be worried? And how do we change his diet? Do we change his food? We have him on the Nutrience food right now. Is that good? Thanx in advance!
post #2 of 14
How old is this cat? Did the vet run bloodwork to see if her theory was right? Or is this just an educated guess based on weight loss? How does the hair look? Is it brittle and breaking off when you pet him?
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
The cat is turning 10 in November. When you pet him he loses a little hair, but he is a longhair and it happens all the time. The vet said that he looks ok, but if we see any of the signs we should take him in to get him weighed. That is free, but anything else will cost. So I think he is fine for now, but I want to be aware of what could happen. I don't want to take him into the vet unless we have to because he hates traveling and the vet is 30 minutes away.
post #4 of 14
Cover the top of his carrier (hopefully not one of those carboard boxes.. they really hate those), and perhaps put in some catnip and or that Feliway spray to calm them. Also if you leave the carrier in plain sight and make it part of their daily routine such as giving them some treats in it or playing in/around or feeding on/in it, that can help as well. Good luck!
post #5 of 14
You can help him now by adding acidolpholus powder to his food. One capsule a day (just break apart the capsule and dump it on the food and stir it up.

For kidney disease here are the warning signs:
  • refusing food more than a 24 hour period
  • fluctuations in weight- which by the way can also lead to diabetes
  • increased thirst
  • replace your litter with dry beans for 24 hours. Check out the color of the urine- if it is light colored it could mean his kidneys are in trouble, blood would be a concern as well. You use beans because it mimics the feel of litter but won't absorb the moisture so you can pour it is a jar and look at in the light.

Hopefully he is fine!
post #6 of 14
Besides a physical examination to determine the size and shape of the kidneys, a veterinarian should perform a blood panel to monitor the levels of various substances in the blood. The two most common indicators of kidney malfunction are revealed by the creatinine and Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) tests, which measure the ability of the kidneys to filter out various compounds. Of the two, the creatinine test is considered the more reliable, because the BUN may be affected if the cat is dehydrated, as often will be the case. The veterinarian will also examine the levels of phosphorus, sodium, and amylase, all of which may be elevated when the kidneys are not performing, and will perform a urinalysis to see if an abnormal amount of any substance is being excreted. If a Doppler machine is available, the vet may also check the cat's blood pressure for signs of hypertension. In cases where injuries, tumors or cysts are suspected, the cat may receive an ultrasound to reveal any kidney abnormalities.

While these tests and procedures may not always reveal the cause, elevated levels of the various markers will be a strong indication that kidney failure has occurred. However, the degree of kidney failure may be debatable, particularly if some readings are closer to normal than others. Even in borderline cases, the veterinarian will probably recommend treatment rather than run the risk of further deterioration.

If you even suspect that your cat may have kidney problems:

1. Get your cat to the vet immediately. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200, this is as much of a medical emergency as if you just saw your cat get hit by a car.

2. Be prepared to tell the vet about any encounters your cat may have had with toxins or with any other potential cause of the problem.

3. Make sure your cat receives the blood panel, especially the creatinine test. Do not settle for urinalysis alone.

4. Ask that your cat be tested for high blood pressure, and if necessary receive medication for the condition before loss of vision or blindness occurs.

5. Make certain that your cat receives adequate nourishment during treatment, even if that means putting in feeding tubes or force feeding.

6. Be prepared for the worst, but hope for the best.

Hope this answers your questions,

post #7 of 14
You've had some great detailed answers, so I'll try not to repeat anything.

First...at the age of 10 it makes perfect sense for your vet to draw a "senior panel" to see if there are any changes occuring in kidney or thyroid function, and to get a baseline of where your cat's values are, to be checked again yearly if all was normal.

Unless it was an issue of funds, 'cause I know these tests are not inexpensive, I honestly don't understand your vet not simply drawing the blood for this test which would give you an answer *now*. Why wait? It is important to catch kidney failure as early as you can, it can make a difference as to how many years they may have left.

I highly, highly recommend you visit both of these sites:
Feline Crf dot com
and Feline Crf dot Org aka Tanya's Site

They will describe in detail the signs, the related issues that kidney failure kitties have (smacking of lips, vomitting of clear fluid - due to the nausea they have, constipation - due to the dehydration they are prone to, muscle wasting of the hind legs..and more).

They also go over the tests to be done, and the tx's available, including links to food lists so you can make informed decisions re what to feed, and also will go over the restrict protein or not or when issue, and the importance of a lower phosphorous diet.

I have had the supreme pleasure of seeing my Patrick have an extra 3 years of life (so far!) after his diagnosis of chronic kidney failure(crf), if I can answer any other questions, I will do my best,
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you all! I will look out for all those symptoms. I don't think he has it at the moment (since the vet was just telling us to look out if he loses anymore weight) but it's something to be careful about. This cat is our first and only cat (we've had him for quite a few years) but we don't have a cat carrier for him. We should look into getting one for him, but we don't take him to the vet that often (other than his shots). We normally just borrow one from our neighbors, but I know that isn't the best idea because of the smell of other cats that might be in there. One time we took him to the vet without a carrier, he roamed around between the seats for a while, but otherwise he sat in my lap. When he's in a carrier he whines so much that we want to let him out. It's this very tempting whine. Usually when he gets used to the carrier he doesn't whine on the way back home. Next time I will try putting some catnip into his cage. What would you suggest, dry catnip or spray catnip?
post #9 of 14
Dry catnip atop a towel for him to lay on in the carrier, or you can spray a beloved toy with the catnip spray and then just pop the toy into the carrier.

I would like to encourage you to be proactive...blood tests now might tell you why the weight loss, and allow treatment to begin so much sooner.

Just my 2 cents,
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well he seems healthy, for his age. He rips around the house, running everywhere. He plays like he's a kitten. I think he should be ok for now. But if I notice, even slightly, one of those signs I'll get him checked.
post #11 of 14
This article might help you (once you get your own carrier) and it is a good idea to have your own carrier, because if you have to make an emergency trip with a wounded or ill kitty, they can become aggressive because of pain

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
I read the article and it sounds interesting. Thanx for the advice. I'm just not going to be able to give my cat a treat like Kitty Kaviar or kippered herring because any treat we give him makes him sick. We could maybe reward him with catnip or something though.
I am wondering, what does the vanilla extract do? Does it calm them or mildly sedate them?
post #13 of 14
It does not sedate them at all. All it does is neutralize all the scents they get slammed with at a vet's office and helps them calm down. Keep a towel over the carrier until you get into the exam room-
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ok, I'll remember that next time. Thanx!
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