Be Certain to Check your Cat For Kidney Failure
Question: Salt, our 8-year-old cat, is eating less but drinking more. She also seems thinner and her coat has lost its shine. Do you have any idea what is wrong?
Answer: The symptoms you describe could indicate any number of problems, but I suspect Salt is experiencing some renal failure.
Renal failure is quite common and can shorten a pet’s life by about two years.
Excluding accidents, it is the leading cause of death in cats, followed by cancer and the feline leukemia virus.
Kidneys mainly filter blood and move metabolic waste into the urine. Loss of function can be due to infections, nutritional factors, inherited defects or toxic substances.
As the cat grows older, cells die. Because kidney tissue does not regenerate, they lose their ability to filter, causing waste products to gradually build to harmful levels.
Decreased function may not become apparent until the cat has lost more than two-thirds of its kidney capacity and we recommend testing kidney function when the cat is between 4 and 10 years old.
Signs of kidney trouble include those you are observing in your pet: increased water intake, loss of weight and appetite, and dull coat. Frequent urination and vomiting also can indicate trouble.
Kidney failure cannot be judged by urine production, which may continue in advanced stages.
Diet management recommended by your veterinarian is very effective in delaying the onset or slowing the progress of kidney damage.
With early detection and proper diet, Salt should lead a longer and healthier life.