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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Chronic Renal Failure In Cats (CRF)

The digestion of food produces waste products, which are carried by
blood to the kidneys to be filtered and excreted in the form of urine.
When the kidneys fail, they are no longer able to remove these waste
products, and toxins build up in the blood producing clinical signs of
kidney disease.

CRF affects all breeds of any age, although older pets tend to be more
commonly affected. The average age of diagnosis in cats is 9 years.
Breeds thought to be more susceptible include Abyssinians and Persians.
CRF affects almost every body system causing many changes throughout
the body and usually results in the following:


Abnormal filtration of blood and retention of waste materials

Disturbance of fluid, electrolyte and acid-base balance

Failure of hormone production (including substances that stimulate
the production of red blood cells.



What to Watch For

Several symptoms are present when your cat begins to suffer from CRF.
These include:


Lethargy

Vomiting

Bad breath

Anorexia

Weakness

Lack of coordination when walking

Depression

Increased thirst/excessive drinking

Increased urination (sometimes noted as pet using the litter box more
frequently, urinating in abnormal places in the house or increased
weight of the litter box)


Diagnosis

Diagnostic tests are needed to recognize CRF and exclude other diseases.



Treatment

Although there is no cure, early detection can slow the progression of
the disease. CRF can be a life-threatening condition that requires
hospitalization and treatment for stabilization in extremely ill pets.

Treatments may include:


Fluid therapy for dehydrated pets

Dietary therapy with a protein/phosphorus restriction

Free access to water

Supportive care and careful monitoring of urine output

Control of vomiting with diet and drug therapy as needed

Management of anemia if needed

Management of blood abnormalities such as high potassium levels,
low potassium levels, metabolic acidosis and high phosphorus levels

Home Care

Chronic renal failure is life-threatening, and if you suspect your
cat has this condition, you should see your veterinarian as
soon as possible.

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