kidney failure

Giveaway: PawCheck At Home Kidney Failure Test Kit


A urinalysis is a simple urine test to assess your cat’s overall urinary tract (kidneys and bladder) health, liver function and screen for other metabolic diseases such as diabetes. Veterinarians recommend a yearly urinalysis for middle-aged pets of eight years or older. In addition, if you observe the following symptoms on your pet: excessive water consumption, increased frequency in urination, pain on voiding, then a urinalysis is indicated.

PawCheck® is a home-test for the detection of Urinary Tract Infection, Diabetes or Kidney Failure.Continue Reading

Polycystic Kidney Disease in Cats


Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited condition in which small, liquid-filled cysts develop on the kidneys. These cysts multiply in number and grow in size over time. The increasing size eventually takes over healthy kidney tissue and can lead to potentially fatal kidney failure.

Genetic predisposition for some breeds

Even though this disease has been reported for decades, there is no explanation for why these cysts develop, except for a genetic anomaly that is seen primarily in Persians, or in breeds that have Persian genetics in their line, such as Himalayans.Continue Reading

How to Give Subcutaneous Fluids to A Cat


Last updated January 19, 2018

Cats with chronic kidney disease pass large amounts of urine and become easily dehydrated. Dehydration can be prevented by feeding canned or raw food, and by encouraging cats to drink. A fountain can be a good option for this. However, frequently, these cats don’t feel well enough to eat or drink enough to combat dehydration, and your veterinarian may prescribe fluid therapy. Fluid therapy also aids in flushing waste products through the kidneys.

Your vet will determine the type of fluid your cat will receive. A veterinary staff member will show you how to administer the fluids to your cat, and you will be able to do this at home. Most cats will tolerate receiving fluids from their guardians. The frequency of fluid administration will be determined by how advanced your cat’s renal disease is and can range from once a week to several times a week.

You will need a fluid bag, tubing, and needles. Fluids are administered under the cat’s skin. The fluids will pool in a little “lump” and will be gradually absorbed by your cat’s body over the course of a few hours.Continue Reading

RenAvast: A Solution for Chronic Renal Failure in Cats?


During a recent visit to my vet’s home to do a Reiki session for 17-year-old Fifi, who is in renal failure, my vet mentioned that she is giving Fifi a new supplement called RenAvast™, and that she was really pleased with the results. I wanted to find out more about this supplement. What I learned impressed me enough to introduce you to it.

Physiology of Chronic Renal Failure

Chronic renal failure in cats is a physiological condition in which the kidneys have lost some degree of functional capacity. The kidneys’ ability to filter and remove waste products from the blood, and to regulate electrolytes is compromised. By the time symptoms appear (such as weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and urination, dry haircoat), two-thirds to three-quarters of the total functioning kidney tissue may already be lost.

Management of Chronic Renal Failure

Management of chronic renal failure involves managing symptomsContinue Reading

Kidney Failure and Diet in Cats

cat eating bowl

Guest post by Darren Hawks, DVM

Renal insufficiency, or kidney failure, is very common as our cats age. Early signs are subtle, seen only as increased drinking and urination. More advanced signs are weight loss, poor appetite, vomiting, and dull coat. Problems occur as the kidneys can no longer reabsorb water, leading to excessive urination and chronic dehydration. As problems progress, the kidneys cannot handle the breakdown products of excess protein, leading to the buildup of toxins in the blood (azotemia). This is reflected in an increased BUN and creatinine on blood work.Continue Reading

Chronic Renal Disease in Cats

stalking cat

Guest post by Renee L. Austin

As cats age, we watch for physiologic changes that may affect the long term outlook for health. Many health concerns arise because we notice shifts in behavior, appearance, and activity levels. One condition associated with aging and cats is so inconspicuous that once the physical signs do become apparent, the disease is already quite advanced.

Chronic Renal Disease or Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) is often seen in aging cats. It results in a gradual decrease in the function of the kidneys. The kidneys serve a number of purposes; they produce urine and filter waste products from the body, regulate electrolytes such as potassium and phosphorous, they produce erythropoietin which stimulates red blood cell production by the bone marrow, and they contribute toward regulating blood pressure. Once the loss of function begins it is not reversible, and other vital organs are affected along with how your cat may feel in general.

Signs of CRF can be very subtle at first, especially with a species that relies upon masking illness and appearing healthy for its survival. Watch for increased thirst and urination, vomiting or other signs of nausea, lethargy or depression, poor hair coat, loss of appetite, lingering over the water bowl, eating cat litter, constipation, a strong ammonia-like odor to the breath, and changes in vision and hearing.

CRF is diagnosed beginning with a thorough physical examination and simple diagnostics run through your veterinarian’s office. Changes in the kidneys’ ability to concentrate urine and flush out waste are one of the earliest means of detecting the disease and will be assessed in a urinalysis. Blood tests will check for increases in Blood Urea Nitrogen and Creatinine to determine whether there is waste ‘build-up’ in the blood. Any changes in electrolyte levels and general blood cell health will be measured as well. Your cat’s doctor will also want to monitor blood pressure and perform a careful eye exam which may include measuring ocular pressures. 

There is no cure for CRF, but once it is diagnosed there are a number of actions you can take to help slow its progression and keep your cat comfortable at home. Dietary management, supplements, medication, and fluid therapy are all options that your veterinarian may discuss with you.

It is best to catch CRF before you notice signs at home by making routine visits to your veterinarian for examinations and lab work.  By doing this, subtle changes can be detected and monitored over time and preventative measures can be taken in the earliest stages. A good dental maintenance program will also help support overall organ health. Once-a-year visits may be appropriate for the younger feline, but as the years advance, more frequent visits might be in order.

Changes that occur as cats age are complex, and signs of CRF can be similar to many different disease processes. Be certain to make those appointments with your veterinarian and work closely together to understand your cat’s aging issues, as well as steps you can take to manage Chronic Renal Failure. 

Renee AustinRenee L. Austin is the founder of Whimsy Cats, a specialized home care business for cats with chronic medical conditions and special needs. She also provides consulting services for veterinary practices. For more information visit