Kidney problems in cats and dogs
Kidney problems are very common in cats and dogs. A large proportion of these patients will only develop symptoms at a later age, but serious kidney conditions can also occur in younger animals. We can distinguish between acute kidney failure and chronic kidney failure.
The cause of kidney problems is often unknown, but doesn't always have to be. For example, in cats there is a hereditary factor that can play a role (such as PKD, Polycystic Kidney Disease), and in dogs kidney failure can be seen in cases of Leishmania or after grape/raisin poisoning.
Chronic kidney problems are often dormant for a while before the cat or dog starts showing clinical symptoms. Only when more than 70% of the total kidney function is lost will waste materials accumulate in the body. Normally, the kidneys filter the blood of these waste materials, but this is not possible when kidney function is reduced. The animal essentially poisons itself. Common symptoms include a poor appetite, vomiting, drinking/urinating a lot, losing weight, dull coat and mucous membrane injuries.
The diagnosis is made based on urine and blood tests, and sometimes an additional examination such as an echo are required.
Seriously damaged kidney tissue can no longer recover. The treatment is aimed at taking the strain off the still-functioning tissue. In the acute phase, infusion therapy may be needed. At a later stage, the treatment is continued with a special kidney diet, which is sometimes supplemented with medication or supplements. This diet is generally given for life.
A kidney diet generally contains a reduced amount of high-quality protein, which helps take some of the strain off the kidneys. In addition, it also contains reduced amounts of sodium and phosphorus. Kidney problems can be accompanied by nausea, which often makes it difficult to find a tasty kidney diet for your cat or dog. Sometimes it can help to alternate several different kinds of kidney diets or to mix the dry food with wet food. You can also make the food (particularly wet food) more tasty by adding some warm water or heating it up slightly. Our range contains excellent foods for cats and dogs with kidney problems, such as Royal Canin Renal, Hill's k/d, Specific Heart & Kidney Support and Trovet Renal & Oxalate.
When the animal is prescribed a specific diet, it is essential that you do not mix this with "normal" food. But what if you want to treat your cat or dog with a tasty snack. Luckily, there are snacks available for animals with kidney problems as well, so that they can be treated without problems! A number of examples of responsible snacks can be found in the Trovet range, to name just one. For dogs, there's Trovet RRT Treats, Trovet MPT Lamb, Trovet Multi Purpose Treats (Hydrolysed Protein) and Trovet LCT Treats. Cats can be treated with Trovet MPT cat.
A number of kidney patients will have excess phosphate in the blood. Phosphate binders can be given to normalise this. A restriction of phosphates slows down further deterioration of the kidneys. Products that contain a phosphate binder include: Ipakitine and Pronefra.
In addition to the above changes, there are a number of supplements that can support the kidneys naturally. These include Rubenal and various products from the Puur, Phytonics, De Groene Os and Vetplus brands.
Do you have any further questions about kidney problems in your cat or dog? Please contact our veterinarian via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org