Symptoms of kidney disease in cats

An increase and decrease in water intake and urination is a cause for concern in catching early signs of kidney failure.

The symptoms kidney disease in cats can be detected by monitoring a cat’s drinking and urinating habits. Acute and chronic renal failure in cats share  similar symptoms whereas their risk factors are different. 

A cat in early stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD) shows an increase in urination whereas a reduction in urination is typically a sign of acute or late-stage chronic kidney failure.

The kidneys have a large amount of spare capacity to perform their various functions. Studies suggest that it takes 67% to 70% of the kidneys to be dysfunctional before any clinical signs are seen. Many cats are in shock by the time they reach the veterinarian with enlarged and painful kidneys during the physical examination.

how is chronic kidney failure diagnosed?

The diagnosis of kidney failure is made by determining the level of two waste products in the blood: blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and blood creatinine. A urinalysis is also needed to complete the study of kidney function.

Although BUN and creatinine levels reflect kidney failure, they do not predict it. A cat with marginal kidney function may have normal blood tests. If a cat is stressed with major illness or surgery, the kidneys may fail, sending the blood test values up quickly.

Dehydration, for example, can cause BUN and creatinine levels to increase in spite of the fact that a cat’s kidneys are functioning normally.

Kidney failure does not indicate the inability to make urine. Ironically, most cats in kidney failure are actually producing large quantities of urine, but the body’s wastes are not being effectively eliminated.

According to Cornell University of Veterinary Medicine, interpretation of kidney function should be based on at least two blood samples, obtained within two weeks of one another, from a normally hydrated cat that has fasted for 12-24 hours. The concentrations of other blood components, including various electrolytes (like sodium and potassium), phosphorus, red blood cells, and proteins are also important to evaluate in a cat being examined for CKD.

8 signs that your cat’s kidneys are failing include

  • increase in urinating
  • increase in water intake
  • poor and dry coat
  • discolouration and ulcers in tongue and gums
  • bad breathe
  • weight loss and decrease in appetite
  • vomiting and diarhhea
  • anemia

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