Cat with kidney disease -- is he doing okay?

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Cataria

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Hey all!

I have a sweet kitty I took in a few years ago, Ashwin, and I've been worried about him. He was diagnosed with kidney disease awhile back and so far is just on a special diet, no fluids or other treatments. But I've been really worried about his health, and I'm not sure if I'm just worrying too much.

1. He has a number of cysts on his body, the most obvious one being one by his eye. The vet says there's nothing they can do about it.
2. Behavior-wise, he is very, very clingy. I don't mind this, but I worry that it's a sign of something bad? He's been clingy since I first took him in -- he was a stray and it was honestly the only reason why I took him in because he would not leave me alone, haha.
3. He gets very vocal at night -- caterwauling even. I don't know why, but I worry that he's in pain? The howling doesn't bother me other than me worrying about why he does it.
4. He's been losing weight. Still eating a decent bit though. He currently weighs about 7 lbs, and it looks to me that a healthy weight for him would be at least 9 lbs.
5. He sheds a lot and doesn't take care of his fur. I brush him to keep him looking neater/clean, but it worries me that he's not doing it himself.

He was at the vet last month. I told them about his behavior, they saw what he looked like, and they noticed the weight loss, but they didn't seem concerned.

Do I have anything to worry about right now, or should I get a second opinion?

The other thing I should mention that I have no idea how old he is -- he could also be an elderly cat for all I know. I know he's at least 7 because he has a microchip registered in 2014 (the registrant was uncontactable so I still have him), but he seems much older than that to me.
 

Antonio65

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Hi, I'm sorry for you Ashwin, I'm sure you're doing everything for him.

1. My cat had cysts too, all over her body. Not many, but a few of them, and in boubt they could be something bad, I had three of them removed along the years and had them tested, and they were... fat cysts. It's genetic, there's nothing you can do about that. Just keep an eye on them, though, just in case they get inflammed.

2. If he's always been that clingy, I wouldn't worry, it's a face of his behavior, and I think it's lovely. The same cat as above, she was absolutely clingy, to the point I couldn't move an inch without having her following me. We were one thing, she was always on my lap, in my arms, next to me, always. I miss her. Enjoy your Ashwin.

3. If Ashwin only howl and meows at night, it might be he feels alone. Don't know if he sleeps with you, but it might be he doesn't like the house dark and silent, and would like more action? :lol:

4. and 5. Losing weight and shedding a lot isn't a good sign for me, it might be a hormonal issue, and I would have him checked, starting from his thyroid. Since you don't know his age, and he might be anything past 7, you say he looks older than that, a good and thorough check-up wouldn't be a bad idea. many cats have thyroid issues past the age of 10 or 12.

If you aren't happy with your current vet because they didn't take this thing seriously in your opinion, you could seek a second opinion.

As for the kidney issue, keep in mind that controlling it by a specific diet only could be not enough, and fluids and/or meds and supplements would be a better idea.
Depending on his CKD stage, you could act differently. Remember that preventing is better than curing.
 

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Hi. I agree with all of the above! Did the vet draw blood when Ashwin was there last month? I would definitely want to see Ashwin have a full scale blood work up done, including checking his thyroid. The blood work will also tell you how his kidneys are doing compared to when he was diagnosed a while back.

Eating fairly well and still losing weight, as well as howling can be signs of hyperthyroidism. Ditto for poor hair quality. But, the howling can also be related to his kidney disease, as well as vision issues. The howling is also known to be tied to high blood pressure too, so make sure the vet checks his blood pressure. And, if you don't have night lights to turn on at night, I would get some in case his vision is not what it used to be.

If you are not already aware of it, there is a web site dedicated to kidney disease in cats - Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease - Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Cat (felinecrf.org). It is loaded with information about kidney issues, as well as other possible related issues such as hyperthyroidism. There is a lot of information to digest, but it is well worth taking the time to read through it.
 
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mrsgreenjeens

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The excessive noise he's making could also be from hearing loss. As cats lose their hearing, they tend to get louder and louder. Not knowing his age means I am speculating here, but I'm surprised your Vet couldn't give you some idea of his age by looking at his teeth. I thought that's normally how they judged on strays. It's not an exact science, but can be close (I thought).

As for the weight loss while still eating, it could definitely be his thyroid, or possibly the kidney diet. It's lower in protein than regular cat food, and lower protein means weight loss for cats (IMHO) He could also have proteinurea, which one of my kidney cats had. She started eating MORE than before, yet could not gain any weight. If your Vet did not do bloodwork at the last visit, I would definitely get that done, as stated above. And do check out the website FeebysOwner FeebysOwner provided. It's got all kinds of good information on kidney disease and related items.
 

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I would go back to the vet for a full workup. Weight loss and not grooming isn't good. It could be thyroid issues or even diabetes, it's very possible the kidney disease has progressed in stages and might require fluids. I would do a full blood panel and urine as well.
 

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My vet also did a thyroid test for my cat with ckd. He gave her elura to help control her weight since ckd will cause weight loss. Has she seen a specialist. My vet suggested that. She could be meowing because she's in pain or hearing something that disturbs her
 
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maggie101

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The excessive noise he's making could also be from hearing loss. As cats lose their hearing, they tend to get louder and louder. Not knowing his age means I am speculating here, but I'm surprised your Vet couldn't give you some idea of his age by looking at his teeth. I thought that's normally how they judged on strays. It's not an exact science, but can be close (I thought).

As for the weight loss while still eating, it could definitely be his thyroid, or possibly the kidney diet. It's lower in protein than regular cat food, and lower protein means weight loss for cats (IMHO) He could also have proteinurea, which one of my kidney cats had. She started eating MORE than before, yet could not gain any weight. If your Vet did not do bloodwork at the last visit, I would definitely get that done, as stated above. And do check out the website FeebysOwner FeebysOwner provided. It's got all kinds of good information on kidney disease and related items.
I couldn't follow that because I don't remember what I've read a few secs ago!
I was feeding her high protein,low carb diet, then she was crying loud constantly. So I took her to a vet and she was diagnosed with ckd. Now she is doing fine on Prescription food for ckd, only 26% protein. If I give her fortiflora she will eat a whole can
 

maggie101

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I also want to add that ckd can cause dehydration. Today and yesterday my cat sounded like she was throwing up a fur ball but nothing came out. She has an appointment Wed or pay $83 for an emergency instead of 54. So many water bowls scattered around
 
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Cataria

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Thanks everybody, I will talk to the vet again when they are open. They did bloodwork when he was there last month, but I'm not sure what the workup included. All they told me is that his kidney function was slightly worse and that they wanted to try a different renal diet since he didn't really like the last one -- loves the new one though. They said IV fluids may be in his future but didn't say he needed to start anything with that now.

No idea if they tested his thyroid or anything else, but I'll see what they have to say. And I'll see if they checked his blood pressure. Anything else I should talk to them about testing for?

Funny you mention vision problems... I completely forgot about this because I'm so used to it, but after I found him, I noticed his eyes were weird... His pupils are always dilated and barely react to light. I mentioned it to the vet two years ago and they were just like "huh, yeah, that's strange."

Regarding his age, I had one vet at my office say he was around eight and another vet at a different appointment laugh at that estimate and say "over 10".

He's welcome to sleep in bed with me, but he doesn't always do it. He is quiet when he's in the room with me, so maybe I just need to start dragging him into the room at night, haha.

Thanks everyone for the advice, and I will check out the resources you guys mentioned!
 

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Anything else I should talk to them about testing for?... His pupils are always dilated and barely react to light... He is quiet when he's in the room with me, so maybe I just need to start dragging him into the room at night, haha.
Sorry, I am not particularly 'impressed' with your vet. The eyes should have been checked out. I don't know about the 'not reacting to light' part, but dilation can be a sign of high blood pressure, as mentioned before - along with the 'howling'. So, that is another thing to talk to the vet about.

If he does better being near you at night, by all means try taking him to bed with you - he may just like it!

I am a big advocate of cat parents getting copies of tests that are run, learning what the various elements mean, and comparing test results to one another. I even log Feeby's test results in spreadsheets so I can look at all the results side by side. This means I can see changes/trends that might be otherwise ignored by vets because the readings fall into/or just outside the 'normal' ranges. However, even if they are falling in the normal ranges but are changing/trending, it still means something is 'brewing', IMO.
 
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maggie101

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Sorry, I am not particularly 'impressed' with your vet. The eyes should have been checked out. I don't know about the 'not reacting to light' part, but dilation can be a sign of high blood pressure, as mentioned before - along with the 'howling'. So, that is another thing to talk to the vet about.

If he does better being near you at night, by all means try taking him to bed with you - he may just like it!

I am a big advocate of cat parents getting copies of tests that are run, learning what the various elements mean, and comparing test results to one another. I even log Feeby's test results in spreadsheets so I can all the results side by side. This means I can see changes/trends that might be otherwise ignored by vets because the readings fall into/or just outside the 'normal' ranges. However, even if they are falling in the normal ranges but are changing/trending, it still means something is 'brewing', IMO.
The reason my vet suggested a specialist is because they have more knowledge about a cats digestive system like crystals
And kidney disease. Eventhough it's expensive it might be worth it
 
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Cataria

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Sorry, I am not particularly 'impressed' with your vet. The eyes should have been checked out. I don't know about the 'not reacting to light' part, but dilation can be a sign of high blood pressure, as mentioned before - along with the 'howling'. So, that is another thing to talk to the vet about.

If he does better being near you at night, by all means try taking him to bed with you - he may just like it!

I am a big advocate of cat parents getting copies of tests that are run, learning what the various elements mean, and comparing test results to one another. I even log Feeby's test results in spreadsheets so I can look at all the results side by side. This means I can see changes/trends that might be otherwise ignored by vets because the readings fall into/or just outside the 'normal' ranges. However, even if they are falling in the normal ranges but are changing/trending, it still means something is 'brewing', IMO.
Honestly, 100% fair. I have not been impressed with them at *all* either, but I have struggled to find another vet in my area that is not equally terrible. I have some horror stories, let me tell you. They used to have a web site where I could see all the test results, but it's "temporarily down for maintenance." I've asked and been told several times it will be back, but it's been down for two years. :/

I have another vet about an hour away I sometimes take them to when I really question what my main vet is saying, and maybe I'm at that point where I need to take Ashwin there. I'm going to get them to send what test results they have to me first though because my vet has a history of "sending a copy of the vet records" to the other vet, but they never seem to send any of the important information like tests and so on. I also have a specialist vet I could potentially take him to, but they are two hours away -- also not sure if I can get him an appointment sooner than 3 months from now.
 

maggie101

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First vet wouldn't run any tests. Second vet I liked til the last time I took her there. His helper would ask me questions,leave to get the vets answer,come back, and so on. Then took my cat for urinalysis. The whole hour I never saw the vet. My 3rd one I really like. Though it's hard to make an appointment. Very frustrating!
 
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Cataria

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Oh! I just realized I never updated this, but I do have some news.

I eventually took Ashwin to the second vet I mentioned, and I'm glad I did! It turns out that he does have hyperthyroidism on top of his kidney disease. When he first went, I was pretty devastated -- they said that he probably only had weeks left, and that treating they hyperthyroidism would likely worsen his kidney disease. We talked it through for awhile, whether it would be best to leave it be or try something, and we eventually decided on methimazole and subcutaneous fluids.

I did my best with the fluids, but unfortunately, with him being stubborn and me being alone, I was not successful in getting that to work out and ended up discontinuing that treatment. :/

The good news though -- next time he went to the vet, the methimazole got his thyroid back in the normal range, the meds did not worsen his kidneys, and his kidney function has in fact been holding steady. The vet revised his estimate and I now have hope he might last the year, or even longer.

He had his second follow-up appointment last week and his kidneys are still the same, thyroid looks good, and he didn't lose any more weight! Vet says he was a little anemic, but that was to be expected. The vet also commented that they were shocked to see a cat with his level of disease being so outgoing and friendly, so I'm glad he also seems to be doing well, all things considered. His next appointment is in three months.

Thank you guys for encouraging me to reach out to a different vet. :)
 

emelyssa

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Hey all!

I have a sweet kitty I took in a few years ago, Ashwin, and I've been worried about him. He was diagnosed with kidney disease awhile back and so far is just on a special diet, no fluids or other treatments. But I've been really worried about his health, and I'm not sure if I'm just worrying too much.

1. He has a number of cysts on his body, the most obvious one being one by his eye. The vet says there's nothing they can do about it.
2. Behavior-wise, he is very, very clingy. I don't mind this, but I worry that it's a sign of something bad? He's been clingy since I first took him in -- he was a stray and it was honestly the only reason why I took him in because he would not leave me alone, haha.
3. He gets very vocal at night -- caterwauling even. I don't know why, but I worry that he's in pain? The howling doesn't bother me other than me worrying about why he does it.
4. He's been losing weight. Still eating a decent bit though. He currently weighs about 7 lbs, and it looks to me that a healthy weight for him would be at least 9 lbs.
5. He sheds a lot and doesn't take care of his fur. I brush him to keep him looking neater/clean, but it worries me that he's not doing it himself.

He was at the vet last month. I told them about his behavior, they saw what he looked like, and they noticed the weight loss, but they didn't seem concerned.

Do I have anything to worry about right now, or should I get a second opinion?

The other thing I should mention that I have no idea how old he is -- he could also be an elderly cat for all I know. I know he's at least 7 because he has a microchip registered in 2014 (the registrant was uncontactable so I still have him), but he seems much older than that to me.
So glad you got a second opinion! I have also been blown off by a regular vet when my cat had kidney disease, and in the future, I know I would always insist on a referral for an internal medicine specialist.
 
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Cataria

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Hey all,

Ashwin is at the emergency vet, not sure what's going to happen. :(

I've been noticing he was looking a little skinnier, but his next follow-up vet appointment was scheduled in two weeks so I didn't think it was an emergency.

This morning he was really weak and unable to walk. Tried eating food when I offered it to him, but he couldn't hold himself up. I took him to the second vet for an emergency appointment, and they put him on IV fluids and said they wanted to keep him for a few days to see if he improves. He's been there since this morning so I called them a few minutes ago to get an update. His temperature is about 97, they have him on oxygen, and they said he's moving around a little bit. They will do more bloodwork in the morning and call me with an update. There's some minor improvements, but not enough to say that he'll make it through. :/

I don't know if I'm doing the right thing. I don't want him to suffer, but I also don't want to lose him... But how much time am I truly buying him if he recovers with the help of the IV fluids? If they can get him back, I'm afraid that he will need subcutaneous fluids in order to maintain his health, and I tried giving him fluids before, but couldn't do it. I live alone and don't have anyone who can help me and I just don't have enough hands to hold the cat, hold the needle, and squeeze the bag. I talked to the local vet and they said that if I bring him to their office twice a week, they would give him the fluids, but their office schedule doesn't line up well with my work schedule and I'm going to be a mess for however long he lives trying to get in all my work hours and get him to the vet twice a week.

I feel horrible and I don't want the reason he doesn't have a full life to be because of that, but I don't know what to do. I don't even know if he's going to make it through the weekend.
 
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