I am living with a cat that has chronic kidney disease.
By Claude West (Cat Man)
Learning and understand chronic kidney disease in cats and why it is important to identify this condition before the cat is to old to treat.
It all began several years ago when I took Sadie to the veterinarian for a routine senior exam. She was just 13 years old and the matriarch of the house consisting of two humans and two younger cats. Blood work and exam at the time went just fine and the vet said
Sadie’s lungs are clear. She has asthma according to her first veterinarian but lately I think it is more due to allergies. Then came that call concerning her blood work.
The veterinarian said that the results show the initial stages of renal failure (chronic kidney disease) and that means that 70 percent or more of her kidney function is failing. The kidneys are your fluid regulators of the body. They restore fluid and electrolytes back to your body and remove the waste as urine. Without kidneys, we would die so I was devastated to hear that there has been so much damage to her kidneys.
It has been several years since that phone call and yes, there are changes happening with
Sadie’s body and health. She has lost a pound of weight and that is a big deal to a ten-
pound cat. Her diet is good some days and other times she has no appetite. Her stools are still firm that is good but now she vomits more than usual with only a white foamy liquid or just a bile color fluid. She thinks she needs to eat grass to vomit up hairballs but there are no hairballs coming up. The more I read about this disease and learn from others who have had cats with chronic kidney disease; this is all a typical progression.
Poor Sadie, she is such a sweet kitty but I know she does not feel well most of the time because all she does is lie down and sleep. I have given her the special diets including converting to raw food. She gets animal probiotics with enzymes and I will add extra water to her food to keep her hydrated. This all helps but will not restore kidney function to normal and now it becomes more of a waiting game of life.
Having some knowledge of the future does help prepare me for what action steps I need to keep her comfortable. Because this disease is terminal without constant dialysis or kidney transplant, most cats will expire within several years of diagnosis.
There is some excellent informational websites with great detail about cats with kidney disease such as, Tanya’s Comprehensive Guide to Feline CKD, and the Feline Information Center. There are support groups that you can chat with and get specific information about medicines and procedures. I have been following Feline CRF Support Group on Yahoo. You need a Yahoo account to access the group and put their name in the search box after signing in to Yahoo.
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