Urinary Tract Disease Part 2

 Today we are going to talk about chronic kidney disease (CKD) in cats., a very common condition to surface this time of year.


What is CKD?

CKD is an irreversible and progressive disease and is defined as structural and/or functional abnormalities in the kidneys lasting 3 months or longer. It is a common disease in older cats. All age ranges can develop this disease, but there is a study that indicates more than half of cats with CKD were over 7 years old. CKD will result in uremia and requires life support therapy in this stage.



In addition to degeneration, inflammation, congenital/familial disease, infections, and tumors are also possible causes.


Functions of the kidneys and symptoms of CKD

The kidneys have various functions, such as removing waste products through the urine, maintaining a stable balance of the body’s salt, potassium and acid content, endocrine function and metabolic function.

Since the kidneys play many roles in the body, symptoms of CKD vary. Cats can get dehydrated because they are unable to concentrate their urine adequately, and this makes them urinate more frequently. To compensate the dehydration, they may drink more water. Also, they can become anemic because the production of a factor produced in the kidneys that stimulate the production of red blood cells decreases. Some will display high blood pressure resulting from inadequate blood pressure regulation. Accumulated waste products may eventually result in neurological symptoms. Stomatitis, gastritis, vomiting, decrease in appetite, and weight loss are other common symptoms.



CKD cannot be cured, but it is possible to reduce the cat’s stress and discomfort. Therapy for CKD consists of minimizing further damage to the kidneys and symptomatic treatment. Use of prescription food is proven to slow down progression, so appropriate diet in each case should be considered. In order to prevent dehydration, fluid therapy is important.


In conclusion

Because the kidney is a highly compensational organ, it is almost impossible to notice symptoms until 75 % of renal function has been lost. Therefore, it is essential to do regular check ups to detect early stages of CKD. Structural evaluation with abdominal ultrasound, urinalysis or blood tests are recommended. Monitoring your cat’s appetite, weight, color/ volume/ frequency of urine on a daily basis is also helpful.