It is often said that prevention is better than cure, and this is also relevant to kidney problems in cats. Kidney disease, in particular chronic kidney disease (CKD), is one of the most common health problems of senior and geriatric cats, and veterinarians generally accept that an estimated one in three cats will develop kidney disease during their lifetime.
Kidney disease, kidney failure or chronic kidney disease is a renal disease and causes the kidneys to progressively shut down. Like humans, cats often develop kidney issues as part of the aging process. However, in comparison to us, cats are far more likely to develop the disease. Kidney disease in cats, occurs when the kidneys stop working as well as they should. Normally, healthy kidneys are responsible for a host of different functions including:
Due to the late onset of symptoms, kidney issues can be quite difficult to treat because it is usually diagnosed only after it has progressed significantly, sometimes as far as kidney failure. It cannot even be detected until a cat has lost more than 65% of their kidney function.
Ensuring to look after your cat’s kidneys throughout their life could be the key to minimising the likelihood of them developing CKD, and can even help to slow the progression of the disease. It may not be possible to completely eliminate the risk, but there are key steps that can be taken to support your cat’s kidney health.
The kidneys thrive on fluid as this is how flush toxins from the body. You can help keep your cat’s kidneys healthy by encouraging your cat to consume as much fluid as possible. You can do this by:
Studies have shown that cats who are overweight are more likely to develop diabetes, and some studies suggest that diabetic cats have a greater risk of also developing CKD! In addition, preventing your cat from becoming overweight is better for their overall health.
Early detection is key when it comes to kidney problems. Unfortunately, kidney disease often causes no clinical signs until it has advanced. It is suggested that your cat should visit the veterinarian annually as an adult, and biannually after 7 years of age, for routine wellness and preventive care.
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