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5 Things Vets Hate About Kidney Disease in Cats … And How That’s About to Change

Posted July 13, 2015 in A Vet's Life

Orange cat looking into camera

Chronic kidney disease (CKD), or a slow decline in kidney function over time, is really common. In fact, it has been commonly accepted that 1 in 3 cats will develop some form of kidney disease in their lifetime. And a recent study has found that it is likely even more common, with 40% of cats less than 15 years of age impacted. If you are fortunate enough for your kitty to live past 15 years, then there is an 80% likelihood that he or she will have some kidney health concerns. So, it is not surprising that veterinarians speak about CKD frequently with cat parents. It’s a problem that often comes with a mixture of good news and bad news.

First, the most important piece of good news about CKD to is that many cats do well for years after diagnosis. The bad news about CKD is that classic veterinary medicine has limitations that can be frustrating when battling the condition. But another, brand new piece of good news is that at least some of that could be about to change. I’ll touch more on this in a little bit.

A new test is available to help detect kidney disease earlier,
ask your veterinarian about the new IDEXX SDMA test.

Learn about
IDEXX SDMA testing

But first, to understand why CKD is frustrating, let’s cover some of the reasons chronic kidney disease can be a headache today:

1) Chronic kidney disease can be stealthy until it’s fairly advanced
Kidney disease is easy to diagnose when it’s advanced, but it’s sometimes very hard to recognize in the early stages. Often it sneaks up on us veterinarians, even while we are looking for it. The reason is that cats don’t get visibly sick from CKD until their kidneys are very unhealthy (see the common signs of kidney disease here), so we rely on regular testing of blood and urine to screen for early indicators of kidney disease.

Related symptoms: 

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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.

Opinions expressed are those of the writer:

The opinions and views expressed in this post are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the beliefs, policies or positions of all veterinarians, Pet Health Network, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. or its affiliates and partner companies.