Chronic Renal Failure

Your animal’s kidneys play a central role in almost all of its bodily processes. They help to control the blood pressure and regulate the amount and chemical consistency of fluid in the bloodstream. They produce a variety of vitally needed hormones and enzymes, and they contribute to the production of red blood cells. They also remove metabolic waste, such as urea, mineral salts and poisonous substances, from its blood. When the kidneys and their complex filtering system break down, toxic wastes can start to accumulate in the recirculating bloodstream. If a proper balance of waste, minerals and electrolytes (such as sodium and potassium) is not maintained, severe complications may affect other organs. Unfortunately, feline kidneys are susceptible to a wide range of life-threatening disorders that can lead to renal dysfunction and death. Especially in cats that are seven years of age and older, kidney failure is one of the most frequently observed causes of severe illness.




  • Increased water consumption (polydipsia)

  • Increased urination volume (polyuria)

  • Decreased urination (oliguria)

  • Lack of urination (anuria)

  • Voiding urine during the night (nocturia)

  • Blood in urine (hematuria)

  • Decreased appetite (anorexia)

  • Vomiting

  • Weight loss

  • Lethargy

  • Diarrhea

  • Hunched over posture or reluctance to move

  • Poor or unkempt hair coat




If kidney disease is suspected, a veterinarian will first perform a chemistry panel and a urinalysis. The panel will detect the blood levels of substances that would normally be shed in the urine—especially blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine. Elevated levels indicate that the kidneys are not adequately filtering these metabolic wastes. The urinalysis will provide additional information on the extent of kidney damage and whether an infection might be responsible for the diminished kidney performance. Further tests—including X-rays, ultrasound and even a kidney tissue biopsy—may be required to confirm a tentative diagnosis of renal failure.


Treatment/ Prevention


The vast majority of chronic renal failure cases will be addressed with conservative medical measures, the objective of which is to provide palliative treatment. These measures can include intravenous fluid therapy and diet modification, which may slow, but not stop, the loss of kidney function. The diet that is usually recommended for affected animals is low in phosphorus and proteins.  E.g. Hill's Prescription K/D

Healthy Kidneys

End Stage Kidneys

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Attending Vets

  • Dr. Gianuario Marotta DVM(Naples) MRCVS

  • Dr.Phyllis Yew
    BVetMed (London)

  • Dr.Sheena Ong
    BVM & S (Edinburgh) MRCVS

  • Dr.Naty Yadlin


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