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    Cat's Kidney Disease--Any Experiences with it?
    larsstarscanary posted:
    My dear cat TZ has kidney disease according to my vet. He's going for an ultrasound this week. He's just turned 13.

    I've heard from 2 people that they had to have their cats euthanized because of kidney disease. I can't see putting him down--I can get Nature's Miracle to deal with any messes. I'd be heart broken to have him euthanized.

    How do you handle kidney disease in a 13-year-old cat?

    Take the Poll

    Would you put your kidney-diseased cat to sleep?
    • No Way!
    • Yes, maybe.
    • In a heartbeat!
    View Poll Results
    Bernadine Cruz, DVM responded:
    I am so sorry to learn that your cat has developed kidney disease. Please, before you consider putting your cat to sleep, have a heart to heart discussion with your veterinarian regarding the severity of the condition and the immediate prognosis. Kidney disease is the second most common cause of death in older cats. It is basically a wear and tear disease for them. The number one cause of death in senior citizen cats is cancer. Most veterinarians will grade kidney disease on a scale from 1 to 4 with 4 being end stage disease. You can also learn more on this condition by going to This site is run by veterinarians and is dedicated to pets with kidney ailments.

    Best of luck to you and your cat,
    larsstarscanary replied to Bernadine Cruz, DVM's response:
    Thank you, Dr. Bernadine, for your reply. I think he is at the beginning stages of the disease, but he is going for an ultrasound this week.

    I appreciate and will check out the website you posted.

    grannysue1996 replied to larsstarscanary's response:
    We had to put our cat down, but only when she began to crash. Up until that point we switched her cat food to canned only and that really seemed to help her for a good 2 years. then all of the sudden she just started to crash bad and by the next day we knew we had no choice. I definitely wouldn't put one down though at the first diagnosis. We had 2 good years with ours after the diagnosis. I wouldn't of done it any different.
    Sheely responded:
    It really depends on the stage of the kidney disease. I had 2 cats who developed renal failure fairly rapidly at around 13 and I had them each put to sleep when they were no longer eating and were "sick". Then I had a 7 yo develop kidney failure. He lived another 7 years on enalapril and a special kidney diet (both dry and moist food). I now have a 19 yo cat who has had kidney failure for several years. She has lost weight, but her weight and her lab values are stable. She seems happy and not in pain, so I just love her one day at a time. She also is taking enalapril and eats the kidney diet. I will not use "dialysis" to keep her alive. My vet is very supportive.
    colormebright responded:
    my cat plato was diagnosed with chronic renal failure almost 2 years ago. he had stopped eating and had very little energy. he must have been pretty bad off because he was hospitalized for 3 days with iv fluids to filter out his kidneys. the vet we had taken him to at the time gave him very little hope after day 3. he said his blood test results weren't where they should be and that he would probably die within a few weeks.

    i took him home and let him do anything he wanted to, eat whatever he wanted, and took him outside on a leash for walks around the neighborhood every day. my family and i decided that the day he didn't show interest in going outside, that was when he knew it was time to put him to sleep. after a few days he showed marked improvement in his energy, appetite, and even tried to climb a tree! so i decided to take him to a vet that specialized in cats for a second opinion.

    he was put on special food and medicine for his condition and 2 years later he is still doing great. his numbers have remained "remarkably stable" according to the vet. he likes the food and has gotten very used to taking pills and liquid medicine. at the beginning he fought that pretty bad but after he realized it was for his own good he started actually looking at me after meals like "where's my medicine?" we don't have to give him iv fluids under the skin, some people do, but he keeps hydrated well enough on his own without it.

    i won't say it's cheap, or that it's always going to be easy, but i'm so glad we decided to go through with treatment and not put him to sleep. find a great vet who has dealt with this problem regularly. educate yourself with the many great sites on the internet about crf. there's a really good yahoo group for it too where you can ask specific questions and read about others' stories. most of all listen to what your cat tells you. you'll know when it gets to the point where he doesn't have a good quality of life. chronic kidney disease is not painful, unless he becomes too dehydrated, in which case he would feel like he's hung over. more than likely your cat still has years ahead of him. good luck.
    An_220869 responded:
    cat is 17 and has kidney disease. she won't eat just hill's kidney wet, so i mix it with 2 friskies and add some hill's kidney dry ground up. just recently i've had to feed her several times a day instead of twice.
    sewingmomma responded:
    my 5 year old cat had to be euthanized because her kidney disease "ate her up" from the inside out. i now a a new,6 month old kitty and i love her just as much as i did the other
    catcollector responded:
    our 10 yo kitty has kidney trouble. she get bladder infections and has the crystals in her urine. she drinks only bottled water and has a drinking fountain that keeps the water moving. she was on special food for awhile, but she tired of that real easy. now she eats fancy feasts ground food. we feed her twice a day and she gets her treats daily. she is doing very well and refuses to drink tap water. the best thing we ever invested in is the "fountain system". so far so good.....
    Mirrinona responded:
    I have had at least 2 cats with kidney disease. The first I didnt know it until she went into kidney failure (terrible) and
    the vet said it wa too late, she had to be put down.(TRAMA)
    The second I treated for about 6-8 mos. Special diet, shots
    anything I could think of. (she was 18) Finally she began to
    hemmorage and that was a nightmare!!! I wish I had let her
    go a little sooner so she would not have had to go through
    gh144 responded:
    My cat has had kidney disease for three years, she is not 13 and has been on Hill's kidney food and is doing fine. Just make sure that she drinks plenty of water and is on a special kidney dietl
    v41154 replied to gh144's response:
    My husband and I had a tortoiseshell who was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2005. Our veterinarian showed us how to administer subcutaneous fluids and put her on Hill's Prescription Diet K/D. She thrived on these two things until May of 2008, when she passed away peacefully.
    larsstarscanary responded:
    Thank you all for your honest and heartfelt stories of your kitties.
    Mine is going back to the doctor this week.

    I would have taken him this past week, but some important human business came up that left me totally saying that I should have taken the cat to the vet instead--It's a long story.

    Anyway, it is hot here. I don't have a.c. (another long story), but my cats don't seem to mind. I bought a fountain a couple of weeks ago, but he prefers to drink water straight from the tap. He doesn't eat too much. He's still the sweetest kitty in the best mood. His siblings are pretty dear, too.

    I've always bought them the premium cat food, but now I'm not sure if supermarket brands are worse--I know of a woman who fed her cat Friskies, and the cat lived to 23 years.
    maryannh responded:
    My cat, whose name is Puppy, crashed with CRF (chronic renal failure) in March 2008. She was 17 at the time. I brought her to the vets, and we got her on fluids (which I had to learn to do). At first, it was twice weekly, now it's every other day. It's easy and cheap (when you get the fluids from Costco or -- not the vet, who will charge a ton). She was recommended to also eat prescription foods, which she refuses. So she still eats Fancy Feast -- not the best diet, but it's important that she eats. She gets benazapril for high blood pressure, but that also helps her kidneys. Really, I think the fluids were the biggest help and once you learn to do it, it's simple. Bottom line, she is still with me, now age 19, and her CRF has stabilized. I learned a LOT from -- check it out. And there's a really supportive support group on Yahoo dedicated to this cause. Some kitties on this site have lived for years and years with CRF. Good luck to you and TZ.
    Sandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM replied to maryannh's response:
    Hi all,

    Excellent discussion thread. Yes, kidney disease is very common in older cats and will progress but generally very slowly. A low protein diet like Hill's k/d, hydration with canned food and fluids under the skin, medications like benazepril and amlodipine to treat hypertension, antacids like pepcid, appetite stimulants, all help. Diet and hydration are the main stays of therapy that help to slow down progression of the disease such that these older kitties live longer and feel better.

    So do talk to your veterinarian when they diagnose kidney disease. And guess what, we can detect it early on before we see signs of weight loss, drinking too much, vomiting, etc. by a general blood panel and a urinalysis. Then we can start changing the diet and being super vigilant on the kitties status.

    A great reason to do a wellness panel and UA in the healthy cat over 10 years of age!!

    Again, thanks for all your input. I couldn't have said what you all said better.

    Remember, that there is an acute renal failure due to things like antifreeze that is very different from chronic renal failure.

    Dr. Sandy

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