Best procedure for kidney disease

Meg142!

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Hello all! I'm not sure how to link a thread in a post, but the tread is called "Cat has been acting strange." My poor kitty had a kidney infection, and just got home today. I have a check up on Wednesday for her where I'll go over this with the vet, but I wanted to get some good tips/suggestions to bring up to him. We also found out she has stage 1, possibly stage 2 kidney disease, we won't know more until after her blood work . While her kidney disease is not sever, I do want to make sure I'm doing absolutely everything I can to keep her kidneys functioning and healthy and not have her progress into a more serious form.

Is there a special diet or food I should be giving her? Is there any kind of food that isn't crazy expensive that is meant for kidney support?

What about any supplements there may be for her? I picked up a cat fountain to make sure she's getting as much fresh water as possible, but is there anything I can add to her food?

Is it okay to feed her wet food? I know it's a good source of extra hydration, but I also know wet food is pretty salty. I wasn't sure if that could dehydrate her and was something I should stay away from. I know a raw diet is also recommend for optimal hydration for cats, however I don't really think that is something I can afford, especially after a huge vet bill. I would be willing to supplement a meal of dry food for raw if that's what is necessary to keep her properly hydrated though.

Anyone who has any experience with kidney disease of any severity, please let me know what I can do for my poor kitty!
 

Jem

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First, Check out this website for everything Kidney Disease.

Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease - Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Cat

This was where I got most of my information when my kitty had CKD.

As to food, there are prescription foods, but if kitty is only in the early stages, I would think a low phosphorus wet food diet would be a great place to start.

Check out this site/chart

https://catinfo.org/docs/CatFoodProteinFatCarbPhosphorusChart.pdf

It will show you the protein, fat, carb, phosphorus content of WET cat food brands.

If you have further questions, by all means ask away, I've been thru all the stages with CKD and also experienced some the unfortunate complications with my kitty. But we were able to keep him happy and comfortable until he passed last year at almost 20 years old.
 
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Meg142!

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Thank you! I definitely have some questions! I know that kidney disease has the ability to progress, but does that mean it definitely will? Is it something that will progress over time no matter what I do? And what does this mean for her lifespan? You mentioned your kitty was almost 20 (wow!!) Was he living with kidney disease all his life or did kidney disease shorten his lifespan? (Although I'm guessing not at that impressive age!) I'm also assuming that because she has slightly lower kidney function, she will be more prone to things like UTIs or kidney infections?

These are all things I planned on asking the vet but might as well learn as much as I can! Thank you for the references, I'll definitely be going over everything! And I'm sure I'll come up with more questions to ask you at some point😂
 

Jem

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I know that kidney disease has the ability to progress, but does that mean it definitely will?
Chronic Kidney Disease always progresses, but there are things that can be done to slow or at least help the symptoms. BUT does your kitty have "CKD" or is she suffering from the aftermath of "Acute Kidney Failure"? Sometimes, cats can recover from Acute Kidney Failure, and I'm not sure of the progression when the kidney's are "damaged" VS "kidney disease", as I have only dealt with kidney disease. Does the vet think her kidneys are permanently damaged and/or that she has CKD, or it there a chance that her blood work will return to normal once the kidney infection is gone and she's recovered? I just question if her blood work shows mild CKD or if it's just because she was dehydrated and had an infection...which would alter her blood counts, but MAY not be permanent.

And what does this mean for her lifespan?
Honestly, that is a question that can't really be answered as all cats progress and react differently...

Was he living with kidney disease all his life or did kidney disease shorten his lifespan?
He was diagnosed with Stage 3 CKD just over 4 years before he passed (about 15 or so). How long he had Stage 1-2 prior to getting diagnosed, we don't know, but in our case, his CKD was "age related". He possibly could have lived longer had we known about it while still in the first stages, but who knows? But no he did not have kidney disease all his life...to be honest, many cats, if they live long enough, will get kidney disease..it's pretty common...

I'm also assuming that because she has slightly lower kidney function, she will be more prone to things like UTIs or kidney infections?
Actually, in our case, he never had UTIs or kidney infections....but he did get tooth infections/abscesses...which is known to happen with CKD. I am not sure that UTIs or kidney infections are an issue in general. It's not something I looked into because he never got them, sorry.

How old is your kitty, and what is her name?...I feel bad calling her "your kitty".
 
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Meg142!

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She just turned 4 and her name is Fiona. We named her that because she is the Sweetest kitty during the day, but she has a witching hour at night, like Princess Fiona from the movie Shrek, Princess by day, oger by night :lol: As for Kidney disease vs. failure, I'm not entirely sure now. The top of her record says " diagnosed with kidney disease and (really long word I can't spell) kidney infection". I just assumed that because her records said that and they gave me a short pamphlet on kidney disease, that's what she has. although I wasn't told which stage and assumed 1 or 2 because they didn't give me or tell me she would have to be on any other medication than her antibiotic. I'm calling tomorrow to schedule her blood work appointment and plan on asking them so I know exactly what I'm dealing with.

In the meantime, I'm doing lots of research and plan on switching her to a wet food diet to ensure she's getting enough water. Even if her kidney damage can be reversed, I definitely don't want to go through something like this again!
 

mrsgreenjeens

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I've had three kidney cats and now possibly have another one. That website Jem Jem referenced above was and will always be my go to for all things kidney. I'm sort of the opinion that Fiona's kidney values may be raised due to the kidney infection and may go back to normal once the infection has cleared up. This does happen, and this is exactly the reason I said I possibly have another kidney cat. One of mine currently is waiting for his 2nd blood draw to see if the antibiotics brought down his kidney values after having an infection. If they did, then I don't have another one :crossfingers:

I think putting Fiona on an all wet diet makes sense, no matter which way the numbers come back. Just look at the ingredients and make sure salt in way down on the list . You want to feed her a highly digestible food, not a lot of junk, ie carbs. IF she does have kidney disease, the kidney have a harder time filtering out the junk, thus the highly digestible food. Many Vets are still pushing a kidney diet, which is lower in protein, but the newer way of thinking is not to go that route until they are far, far along in the disease process.

Browse through that website to see what's available now for cats with this disease. There is no cure, but some cats are living much longer now with it. But, as Jem said, every cat is different.
 
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Meg142!

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I'm really hoping things will go back to normal once the infection has cleared! I'll ask my vet to just clarify that diagnosis and see what he says. She does have blood work Wednesday and then again after the 10 days of antibiotic. And I agree, kidney disease or not, I'll be switching to wet food. I want to know exactly how much moisture she's getting and I'll be able to track that a lot better with wet food vs relying on her drinking water.
I'll continue searching that website, just so that I am prepared for the worst case scenario, and keep you guys updated on results and what the vet tells me tomorrow!
 

Jem

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She does have blood work Wednesday and then again after the 10 days of antibiotic.
I have a feeling that with this much blood work, the vet may be thinking the kidney values may change (unless it's only to check for infection)....hopefully for the better!!!!:crossfingers::crossfingers::crossfingers: :hugs:
 

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I believe CKD cats are more prone to UTIs due to their dilute urine. Dilute urine is less able to prevent bacterial growth. After having my first kidney cat, I switched my cats to wet food only.

Unfortunately, their is not agreement in what is important in CKD diets. Some believe protein restriction is important to reduce the metabolic waste products the kidneys have to process. Others focus on phosphorus levels within the food. Kidneys clear phosphorus and decreased clearance causes mineralization of tissues - including the heart, vascular and kidney. High serum phosphorus levels are associated with decreased survival. The twist to the debate is that by restricting phosphorus one is probably limiting protein intake as meat is rich in phosphorus.

I am of the thought that cats are carnivores and can handle higher levels of protein. Most of the CKD recommendations for cats is derived from human CKD. Protein restriction is important in humans so in must work in cats, right? Since CKD and senior cats already suffer from muscle wasting - protein intake I believe is important. (I’m not saying super high protein levels, I’m just saying not purposely restricting protein). Phosphorus levels in cat food can vary wildly and be 2 or more the recommend daily allowance for healthy adult cats.

unfortunately, you kinda opened up Pandora’s box with CKD and diet but know that know matter what wet food you feed it is better than any kibble! Also, there are plenty of resources as eluded above on the internet. Just remember that CKD is a progressive disease that has no cure but can be supported! Best of luck!
 

BlackCatOp

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^^^^^^ I made several edits to the above posts ^^^^^^

I believe CKD cats are more prone to UTIs due to their dilute urine. Dilute urine is less able to prevent bacterial growth.

After having my first kidney cat, I switched my cats to wet food only. They eat wet food 3x per day to meet caloric intake.

Unfortunately, there is not agreement on what is important in CKD diets. Some believe protein restriction is most important to reduce the metabolic waste products the kidneys have to process. Others focus on phosphorus levels within the food. Kidneys clear phosphorus and decreased clearance causes mineralization of tissues - including the heart, vascular and kidney. High serum phosphorus levels are associated with decreased survival. The twist to the debate is that by restricting phosphorus one is probably limiting protein intake as meat is rich in phosphorus.

I am of the thought that cats are carnivores and can handle higher levels of protein. Most of the CKD recommendations for cats is derived from human CKD. The thought is that protein restriction is important in humans so in must be in cats; however, since CKD and senior cats already suffer from muscle wasting - protein intake I believe (and others believe) is important. (I’m not saying super high protein levels, I’m just saying not purposely restricting protein). Phosphorus levels in cat food can vary wildly and be 2 or more the recommend daily allowance for healthy adult cats. AAFCO does not state an actual maximum phosphorus level within cat food but the NRC suggests an upper safe limit of 350mg/100kcals for cats.

Unfortunately, you kinda opened up Pandora’s box with CKD and diet but know that no matter what wet food you feed it is better than any kibble due to the moisture it provides! (It has been stated that cats fed dry food can never drink enough to make up the moisture deficit) Also, there are plenty of resources as eluded above on the internet. Just remember that CKD is a progressive disease that has no cure but can be supported thru diet and supplements! Best of luck as you navigate the crazy CKD world!
 
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Meg142!

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Thank you very much! Blood work and a phone call with the vet tomorrow will determine my course of action. The info the vet gave me suggests switching to a Hill's wet food diet, but after checking out the list of wet food I was given above, there's wet food on there equally low in phosphorus at a cheaper price. I was also concidering commercial raw 2x a day and a can of grain free wet food between that. But it's expensive and there's a lot of controversial information so it's hard to make a decision. After her blood work tomorrow I'll let you all know the diagnosis!
 

mrsgreenjeens

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For what it's worth, I fed my last kidney cat a raw diet for a couple years after her diagnosis, BUT I switched her over to one that did NOT use bones for the calcium source, as bones are higher in calcium that egg shell powder, which is what I switcher her over too. Unfortunately, that company is no longer in business. However, now there is a premix that you can use with either raw or cooked meat that has lower phosphorus and is specifically for kidney cats. Here is the link, and it's the third item down on the page: TCfeline products
Here is another one from another company: https://felineinstincts.com/product/kidney-support-diet-premix/

Couple things you should know about feeding raw is 1) not all cats take to it right away. Some of them don't understand the concept and really don't recognize it as food at all :rolleyes2: It can be a very slow process in transitioning them, but it is well worth it, IMHO
2) never a good idea to use grocery store ground meats. You could join a Raw Food Coop (sometimes known as BARF) locally where you live. If you do that, be sure to order the meat without bones if you are using a premix that includes calcium. Often you can get the meat ground with organs in it. And they usually have a large variety of meats to choose from. If not, I used to order from HareToday.com, which is in Pennsylvania (if I recall correctly). The issue there is shipping, so I didn't order from them until all my cats were converted to raw to make it worthwhile to place a very large order. 3) Many people say it's actually less expensive feeding raw than buying canned food. That is probably true if you make it yourself by buying from a coop and using a premix and make large batches and freeze them. If you buy it already all made up from a big brand company, that wouldn't be the case. And the large companies all use ground bone as far as I know, so too high in phosphorus for a kidney cat. (don't quote me on that, but I believe that is the case)

Oh, and lastly, we fed our kidney girl raw with our Vet's approval. She thought that was a great idea because she is a progressive Vet.
 
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Meg142!

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It now looks like she has polycystic kidney disease. Wether her kidneys are failing we aren't sure. She's back in the hospital and will be reevaluated this weekend. If her blood levels go back up the vet said he'd recommend putting her down. If her blood levels remain normal I'm not really sure what the plan would be after that.
 
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Meg142!

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I'm just very confused with all of this because she acted like a brand new cat when she came home. Was eating and drinking really well, was using her litter box, she was running around and using her scratching post. The vet also said he was confused about how well she was acting as well, which is why I'm hopeful that her kidneys are not yet failing. The plan is back on fluids until Saturday, she can come home then on Tuesday more blood work to see how she's doing. I'm really hoping that by some miracle, things will turn out well.
If anyone has good articles or info on polycystic kidney disease, please share!
 

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Meg142!

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She is an Abyssinian, the vet was really surprised about the diagnosis too. And that was based on blood work and an ultrasound. And she was actually doing really well while she was home. She was a brand new cat, very active, playing, eating and drinking, using the litter box, wanting to be the center of attention. Everything seemed normal so I had high hopes. But from what I understand, this is a genetic disease and she could have been living with only one functioning kidney for as long as I've had her. But when she got the kidney infection, her one good one wasn't able to work as well. So the hope is that once the kidney infection clears, her remaining good kidney will pick up where it left off and she will live several years more with medication and good diet. However, if her one good Kidney is too damaged, she will continue doing okay, then get worse and I'll have to bring her in for an IV, then she will feel okay for a bit and then back to IV fluids. It will be a never ending circle until her one kidney shuts down completely.
I'm seriously hoping that because she is acting healthy, her remaining kidney isn't damaged and she will recover.
 
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Meg142!

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Very interesting, I just read the page you suggested and it seems that PKD is a precursor to CKD but that it doesn't always reach CKD? And that the same treatment used for PKD is used in CKD? So am I correct to assume that as long as she doesn't have kidney failure and doesn't develop kidney failure in her second kidney any time soon, she can live for several years with PKD?
 

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Make sure her potassium is checked. We have been giving our CKD kitty potassium and it's really helped her.
 
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Meg142!

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Thanks for the tip! I've heard the same thing through research so it's good to hear that it's actually worked for someone.

Question that I'll ask the vet in the morning but am curious to know if anyone else has done it: if I were to go out and buy food specially for CKD cats and gave it to my vet, would they be willing to feed her that instead of whatever it is they have her eating now? I would assume that they feed animals staying there whatever is cheapest unless there is a strict diet needed. I would feel much better if I knew she was eating a really good quality food while she's there for the next several days.
 

stephanietx

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My vet does that. I have some special needs kitties when it comes to diet, so I always take food with me if they have to stay.
 
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