The kidneys are vital for cats, responsible for producing crucial hormones and enzymes, aiding the development of red blood cells, regulating blood pressure, removing wastes from the bloodstream, and more essential functions. When this organ fails, there are warning signs.
Depending on the type of kidney disease, however, the warning signs of kidney failure in cats may appear right away or not for a long period of time.
- With acute renal or kidney failure; most commonly caused by ingesting toxins like antifreeze, pesticides, or medications intended for people; signs appear within a week or a month and the organ and its functions shut down very rapidly.
- With chronic renal or kidney failure, the more common form of kidney failure that is usually found in older cats, the functions fail over time and signs of the disease may not be apparent for a long time, often due to aging.
Signs of Acute Kidney Failure in Cats
These quick-to-appear symptoms may cause affected pets to go into shock. If these symptoms seem familiar, head to the vet. The vet will likely discover that the cat has swollen kidneys that are causing discomfort. Emergency treatment will probably be required. The good news is that this form of kidney disease is not always fatal if it is detected and treated early. If treated immediately, the disease should not affect your cat’s life expectancy.
Signs of Chronic Kidney Failure in Cats
What causes this form of kidney failure is not known, but many other health issues are linked to this disease. Cats with chronic kidney failure may also show signs of the following:
Some cat breeds, including the Maine Coon, Abyssinian, Persian, Siamese, Russian Blue, and Burmese, may be more prone to the condition.
Since the disease is gradual, when and how severe the signs appear varies from cat to cat. They include:
- Excessive drinking and urination
- Urinary incontinence; your cat may not be able to sleep through the night without needing to relieve herself or himself
- Appetite loss
- Anemia, as indicated by pale gums and lethargy
- Weak bones or bone fractures
- Sudden blindness
- Irritated skin
- Weight loss
- Mouth ulcers
- Thinning hair
- Change in body posture and movements
- Grooming less often
If you suspect your cat may be suffering from chronic kidney disease, consult with a veterinarian. Hospitalization may be required. The life expectancy for affected cats can be months to years.
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