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Snowball's Kidneys

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
My sister called and left me a message yesterday (without leaving her name, so I had to do a little digging to make sure it was her... called my dad), and said she'd call back later, which she didn't. So when I called my dad this morning I asked if she may have called me as well (she called him yesterday). He said it's quite likely about Snowball, her cat. She got him from her former roommates several months ago because he bonded with her more than them. He's about 9-ish. He's now at the vet with one failing kidney and possibly the second one as well. She knows I'm probably the most well informed family member about cats' health (thanks to these boards).

This is something new to me - kidney failure. What chances does Snowball have? What can she do to help him? Is there a Prescription diet food for him, even at this stage? Or is it just a matter of 'making him comfortable?'

She'll be calling me while she at our parent's house in an hour or so, though probably after breakfast. I'd just like to be able to tell her something. I can also refer her to this board via email later as well...

post #2 of 7
Amanda, refer her to the CRF website, they are wonderful. The link is in the health and nutrition section of the forums in the stuck thread at the top
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Okay... thanks! I'll let her know.

post #4 of 7
Renal failure is unfortunately fairly common in cats, though 9 is pretty young for it to strike, usually doesn't happen until the teen years.

If this is chronic renal failure (which I am assuming it is. There is also an acute kind that happens after experiencing something that damages the organ) then there is no cure, but that doesn't mean that there is nothing available. There is lots of treatment options to help ease the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.

First and fore most always make sure that Snowball has access to plenty of water. He may need to have fluids given sub Q (under the skin) every so often as well, to prevent dehydration.

GI ulcers are common in cats with renal failure. Therefore, drugs that function to treat ulcers may need to be given.

Hypercalcemia (high blood Ca) is also seen in renal failure due to an increase in the parathyroid hormone. Calcitriol can be given to lower the PTH and prevent this problem.

Hyperphosphatemia (high blood Phosphate) is also a common sign since the damaged kidney has trouble excreting the phosphate and it thereby builds up in the blood. It is treated by using phosphate bind (i.e. aluminum hydroxide) and a low phosphorus diet (0.2 - 0.5%).

Which brings us into diet. There are many kidney diets on the market, and I would look into one of them. The whole point of a kidney diet is you want a low protein (but still high quality protein), low phosphorus, and low salt (high blood pressure is also a common problem) diet. It is usually debated when you should start such a diet. Some start it right away and some wait until the disease is further along to start. Then there are some cats, that no matter what you do, they hate the diet, so you are left with no choice, but to feed them what they like.

Doing all this, can help slow the progression of the disease and extend Snowball's life. So kidney failure isn't the end of the world. He still can have a few great years left, it will just take some work and a bit of patience.
post #5 of 7
Read read read.. Like Hissy said there are many great crf sites... The diet issue is debatable cept for the quality of the protein needs to be high ( yet read most Rx ??? but they can work if kitty will eat)
post #6 of 7
I highly recommend this site as well - www.felinecrf.org. I think it is the most complete, most helpful of the very good sites on the net.

In addition to what was mentioned in catdvm's note, kitties with chronic renal failure (crf) may have lower potassium levels (which can be treated with supplementation...my Tyler is on Tumil-k), and in the long run, a number develop anemia (which, if appropriate and approved by your vet) can be treated initially with a vitamin b complex - many use two - Pet-Tinic and a second w/out iron (I use Twin Labs brand as well as the Pet-Tinic).

My two won't eat prescription foods, so I use published food lists that note the phos and protein content...I look for foods fairly comparable in levels to the prescription foods my vet wanted me to use, and I discussed it with my vet so she knew what I was choosing.

Another issue is nausea and vomitting, many use pepcid-ac (famotidine) to treat this, and there are other options...the vet can guide on this.

best wishes, with care, Patrick has gone 3 years past his diagnosis, and most of that time has been with him looking in very good health.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
My dad said her vet is really on top of the whole thing... I sent her the link for both this forum and the felinecrf site. He's such a sweet kitty, I know he has some time left on this planet. Thanks!

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