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10 Common Causes of Kidney Disease in Cats

Posted May 18, 2015 in Cat Diseases & Conditions A-Z

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Kidney disease is a common problem in cats, affecting more than 1/3 of older cats1,2. There are a number of causes that may affect different age groups and have different consequences. Ultimately though, chronic kidney disease (occurs over time) or acute kidney injury (occurs suddenly) will always have the same result—a sick kitty. The signs of illness in your cat reflect the failure of the kidneys to do their many jobs well enough. (Click here to learn the basics of chronic kidney disease in cats.)

Below, you will find a brief description of ten common causes of kidney disease. These are the targets of your veterinarian’s testing

1. Infection of kidney tissues (pyelonephritis)
Infection of kidney tissues with bacteria or, rarely, fungal organisms, is one of the kidney diseases that may have a more favorable outcome, so your veterinarian will be on the lookout for it. Our goal with pyelonephritis is to kill the bacteria that cause the damaging inflammation. This should limit progression of any chronic kidney disease or assist with recovery from an acute kidney injury. A bacterial urine culture and susceptibility can verify the infection and identify which antibiotic might work the best.

2. Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis)
Kidney stones can be the product of chronic bacterial infection, genetics or diseases that alter blood or urine characteristics. Nephro (kidney) liths (stones) don’t seem to cause cats much pain, but this can change if they cause blockage within the kidney or its collecting ducts; it can also change if they contribute to infection (See pyelonephritis).

Learn more about kidney stones in cats.

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Celeste has more than 20 years of experience in the veterinary industry and is an Internal Medical Consultant as well as a valued member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team since 2015.