Of late, there have been a lot of posts in social media about cats suffering from or even dying due to a kidney disease.
Kidneys in cats manage blood pressure and remove waste and toxins from the blood.
As the cat grows older, her kidneys will not function as efficiently as when she was young.
“This is referred to as kidney disease and left untreated, could lead to your adorable kitty suffering from some unpleasant symptoms and irreversible damage. Although age is the primary contributing factor in the development of feline kidney disease, infections and trauma can also cause the condition to develop,” according to Murrayville Veterinary Clinic in “How to Prevent Kidney Disease in Cats.”
Types of kidney disease
The two types of kidney diseases are
1. chronic kidney problems, and
2. acute renal failure.
Chronic kidney problems
This disease usually shows symptoms in cats at age seven (7) and older.
This is DIFFICULT TO TREAT as the cause is usually unknown . But the following reasons are often given:
· Repeated kidney infections that lessen kidney function over time.
· Blockages such as kidney stones that bring down kidney function at a low level.
· Other medical conditions that have been linked to the development of kidney problems. These are periodontal disease, hypertension and thyroid disorder
Chronic kidney disease develops over a number of months or several years.
Acute renal failure
“Acute renal failure is the sudden onset of kidney problems, usually over the course of just a few days or weeks,” Murrayville Veterinary Clinic said.
The causes are: Poisoning
· Trauma to the bladder or pelvis
· Chronic vomiting or diarrhea
· Extreme blood loss
· Infection in the kidneys
· Blockages that prevent blood flowing into the kidney and urine from flowing out of it properly
· Heart failure
This disease CAN BE TREATED and the side effects can be reversed. But the cat will definitely suffer some unpleasant symptoms in the meantime.
Preventing kidney disease in cats
About 80 per cent of cats will develop kidney disease during their lifetime. But furparents can do something to prevent or help reduce the likelihood of your kitty suffering from this common health problem for as long as possible, said Murrayville Veterinary Clinic.
What to do:
1. Remove dry food from the diet.
Dry dog food does not provide the moisture your cat needs. Because of this, your cat does not get the moisture her kidneys need to process waste better.
“A dry food diet is the leading cause of kidney-related problems in cats in the U.S. It is essential for all animals to stay hydrated, but this is especially true of cats who need plenty of moisture to remain healthy. However, if your feline consumes a great deal of dry kibble, this will soak up a lot of the moisture that she needs, and this will mean that her kidneys will need to work harder than usual to process waste,” Murrayville Veterinary Clinic.
2. Increase the amount of wet food.
We know that wet food can be more expensive than dry food, but it is a better option for your cat. Wet food will keep her both sated and hydrated. Ensure at least two out of three meals are going to be served up as wet food.
In our household, we added wet food (can) to their diet by giving this at lunch time with their multivitamins. We can not afford to give two or three meals of pure canned cat food daily as this will be too expensive.
However, we are now studying what we will put in a homecooked cat meal which will have broth and as many of the nutrients a cat needs. All ingredients will be boiled. Soon, we hope to shift from a diet of two dry food meals and one wet food meal (can) per day TO two homecooked meals and one wet food (can) daily. Through this diet plan, we will be able to remove dry cat food.
3. Give Milk Thistle supplements.
Milk thistle is very good for the kidneys of your cat.
“This is because it contains Silymarin, an active ingredient which helps the kidneys to filter out toxins more efficiently,” Murrayvilled Veterinary Clinic said.
Milk thistle supplements can be bought in pet shops or the clinic.
4. Make sure your cats drinks lots of water.
Most cats are fussy about their water.
“This many mean investing in new water bowls, or even installing a drinking fountain just for your pampered pet,” Murrayville Veterinary Clinic said.
Make sure you monitor the water intake of your cat.
5. Keep the weight of your cat under control.
Obesity leads to many health problems, one of which is kidney disease.
Obesity is “linked to diabetes, and diabetes has a tendency to lead to kidney failure,” said Murrayville Veterinary Clinic.
Talk to your vet about this. There are cat food for obese cats to control the weight.
6. Have your cat checked at least once a year.
Your cat should have a wellness check at least once a year. This includes a series of tests like a blood test that will help determine how healthy your cat is, and if your cat’s kidneys are functioning well.
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