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Chronic Kidney Disease: What Does Kidney Failure in Cats Really Mean?

Posted May 08, 2015 in Cat Diseases & Conditions A-Z

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Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is very common in older pets and affects approximately 3 in 10 geriatric cats1. Normally, healthy and happy kidneys do a miraculous job of:

  • Eliminating protein wastes
  • Balancing body water, salts and acids
  • Producing high quality urine

When kidney disease occurs, it compromises the kidney’s abilities to perform these important tasks. Kidney disease can be broken down into two categories:

Chronic kidney disease—When the level of kidney function declines slowly (chronically), cats may compensate for months to years. Mild signs of illness and dehydration will progress as the kidney disease worsens.

Acute kidney disease—If your kitty suffers a severe and/or abrupt injury to the kidneys, as with acute kidney injury (AKI), she may become profoundly ill, and stop producing urine altogether, which too often leads to death.

An important goal of veterinarians is to recognize kidney disease early, when there is a better chance to find and treat an underlying cause or to slow progression, protecting those precious kidneys, and helping your cat to feel well for as long as possible.

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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.