Chronic kidney disease is very common in pet cats over 10 years of age. In fact, as many as 50% of all pets over this age suffer in this way. Kidneys that function properly are essential to your pet’s continuing good health, but old age doesn’t arrive alone, as they say, and if your cat has kidney disease, you should know what signs to look out for.
The symptoms of kidney disease, or renal failure, as it is also known, are unlikely to arrive fully blown overnight. It tends to be more of a gradual process that happens over perhaps a few weeks, though it can happen more rapidly, so by the time you notice that something is wrong, the disease could be quite well advanced.
Some of the signs to look out for in your cat, bearing in mind that it is unlikely that every cat will exhibit all of the symptoms, include the following:
- weight loss
- thirst (more than usual)
- an indication of progressive blindness
- an increase in the frequency of urination
- an increase in the amount of urine
- blood in the urine
If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, you should have them checked out immediately. Some cat breeds are more prone to getting kidney disease than others. If your pet cat is a Persian or Abyssinian breed, and over 10 years old, you should watch out for any of the symptoms developing, as these two breeds are especially prone.
Your cat’s kidneys, like the kidneys of any animal, perform a very important task. They help in controlling the pressure of the blood, and they are responsible for controlling and regulating the chemical makeup of fluids in the bloodstream. Red blood cells owe much of their existence to the function of the kidneys, and poisons and unwanted salts are removed from the system, thanks mainly to the kidneys.
These two relatively small organs are, in effect, a complicated filtering system for the blood. By the time the blood has been circulating all around the body, it has picked up some toxins and other waste products. When the waste-laden blood enters the kidneys, it passes through progressively smaller blood vessels until it reaches the nephrons, an intricate filtering device that cleans the blood, leaving it ready to enter the heart where it will be pumped out to make its long journey around the body again.
If acute renal failure is diagnosed early enough, it can in many cases be reversed, leaving your cat to enjoy a long and healthy life. However, chronic renal failure is another matter. This is an incurable condition. It is usually the older cats that fall prone to chronic kidney disease, but again, if diagnosed early, treatment can be started that can make your cat’s final days a lot more bearable.
Remember, your pet cat depends on you for most of his or her needs. You should get into the habit of closely observing your cat for signs of anything unusual, especially if the condition is getting worse. Seek medical advice at an early stage, and if there is something wrong, the chances of recovery will be greatly increased.
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