What You Need to Know About Chronic Renal Disease in Cats

Cat Drinking Water
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Signs of chronic renal disease in cats may include excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weight loss.

The kidneys are hardworking organs. When they're healthy, they filter toxins from the blood and eliminate them in urine. They also help the body maintain its fluid balance. But when a cat has chronic renal disease, the kidneys lose their ability to properly rid the body of toxins and help manage fluid balance.

Consequently, a cat with this condition usually drinks more water and urinates more frequently. Eventually, the cat can't keep up with the failing kidneys’ needs, and toxin levels begin to rise. Dehydration is also very common, despite the cat's increased drinking.

At this point, signs of illness besides excessive thirst and urination may become noticeable. These signs may include loss of appetite,  weight loss, listlessness, nausea or vomiting. If your cat starts to exhibit any of these signs, call your veterinarian. 

Age, environment, genetics and disease are all potential contributing factors to chronic renal disease. Possible causes include certain cancers, kidney stones, low levels of potassium, certain infections and certain drugs.  

But the good news is that with early diagnosis along with proper management, cats with chronic renal disease can sometimes live for years. It's important to make sure your cat stays hydrated and that she has plenty of access to fresh water. Additionally, a prescription diet may help manage your cat's disease. Your vet can help you find a diet that's right for your pet. 

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