Renal Failure in Cats

Renal failure is one of the biggest killers of our feline friends.  There are two types of renal failure both with different causes, treatments and prognosis

Acute Renal Failure

Acute renal failure is more common in younger cat and develops very quickly- over a matter of weeks or even days.  Acute renal failure can be caused by

  • Poisons- This is the most common cause of acute renal failure.  Products such as antifreeze, pesticides, house hold cleaning agents, plants such as lillies and some types of human medication are all highly toxic to cats and even small amounts are enough to cause damage to the kidneys.
  • Trauma- Ruptured bladder or broken pelvis
  • Blockages- either of blood supply to the kidneys or of the urethra preventing urine from leaving the body
  • Shock- Blood loss or rapid dehydration ie heat stress
  • Infection of the kidneys

If caught and treated in time acute renal damage can often be treated successfully and the damage reversed

Chronic Renal failure

Chronic renal failure is much harder to identify in a timely manner as it develops slowly over many months to even years.  The causes of chronic renal failure are not as clear cut as acute and sometimes the exact cause is unknown.  Causes can include

  • Poisons, Infections or Blockages that don’t trigger an acute failure but cause reduction of kidney function- this can go undetected for years
  • Advance dental disease
  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • Thyroid problems

Renal failure, chronic or acute, can be identified by the following common symptoms

  • Excessive drinking
  • vomiting
  • lethargy
  • producing excessive or no amounts of urine (depending on type of damage)