Was it my fault? Causes of kidney disease in cats
How did this happen?
Was it something I did?
Why didn’t I pick up on things sooner?
This is all my fault.
Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD, is a heartbreaking diagnosis for a pet parent. You’ve been there for your fur baby since Day 1, and the ups and downs of life have brought you two closer together in ways you never imagined. Now? It just feels like everything is so uncertain, like your days together are truly numbered.
Before you read any further, please remember that you are a good pet parent, CKD is not a death sentence, and this is not your fault.
Chronic Kidney Disease is the official name given when cats gradually lose function in their kidneys. Part of the renal system, kidneys are responsible for:
1) Getting rid of waste from the body
2) Regulate the body’s water content (make urine)
3) Balance the body’s blood salt levels
4) Manage acidity levels
5) Producing a variety of hormones and other substances found in the body
CKD is a serious disease for cats because the loss of kidney function leads to a buildup of waste in their bodies, which sets off other conditions that affect other important systems for their eyes, heart, and brain.
Causes of CKD
Causes of CKD can be traced to a pre-existing medical condition, or poisoning as a result of getting exposed to food or chemicals that are dangerous to cats
Pre-existing medical conditions
If kitty was born with extra special needs around their kidneys, chances are they have already been coping with not so healthy kidney function, which unfortunately, will get worse as they get older. Pre-existing conditions can also include:
1) Birth defects
4) Kidney tumours
5) Bacterial infections
6) Inflammation of the kidneys (Glomerulonephritis)
Since a condition they’ve always had is impossible to prevent, the best you can do is get regular check-ups with your vet and keep a super-close eye on changes in behavior in order to manage problems before they get worse. It's tough to notice the existence of these issues until your kitty becomes unwell. And, as a loving cat parent, you have to be kind to yourself and realise you can't solve every problem before it happens.
The next possibility for causes of CKD is rarer, but just as important and one you can be vigilant about: your cat may have been exposed to toxins that can damage the kidneys.
Those toxins include:
Grapes and raisins can suddenly cause developing kidney failure, if they’re your go-to snacks, keep them in the fridge - the farther aways they are from kitty the better. As for lilies? The entire flower - even the water in the vase they’ve been in - is toxic for cats. Get rid of them, you AND your cat will be happy you did. If you think your cat has eaten or been around any of the above, call your vet immediately and get the next steps from there.
Diagnosis and Treatment
In order to confirm that your cat has CKD, and if the cause was a pre-existing medical condition or a result of poisoning, your vet will most likely use a blood or urine test to make a formal diagnosis.
Changes in diet is the most effective way to manage CKD, usually including foods that lower the amount of waste in the bloodstream, and higher amounts of Vitamin B and Vitamin C.
Despite what the cause of CKD is for your cat, the most important thing to concentrate on is how you’re both going to move forward, whether with medication, therapy,or a prescription diet. A diagnosis of CKD is by no means a death sentence. Research has shown that cats who receive the correct but simple care and treatment can improve their life expectancy. Which means the opportunity to enjoy many more happy years with your beloved pet, while they live their best life.
One more thing...
Have you heard of the Kidney Vitalize Chews?
If you're looking to take control of your kitties kidney health, they're definitely worth checking out.
The active ingredients inside them (Astragalus extract & Rhemannia extract) have been scientifically backed to help reduce proteinuria. Not only that, each chew comes in a delicious chicken flavour and contains all natural ingredients.
- Provides kidney support for all cats (whether they have CKD or not)
- Science backed active ingredients (that have been studied and shown to support kidney health)
- Delicious chicken flavour, made with natural ingredients (no artificial colours, flavours or nasties)
- Made in the USA (only the best for your best friend!)
The Kidney Vitalize Support Chews are the first in its class of 'Transitional Top-Up Supplements' that support kidney health whether your cat is affected by CKD or is CKD free.
SCIENTIFICALLY BACKED - The combination of extracts of Astragalus & Rehmannia root , both potent 'super herbs' have been extensively studied, and have scientific backed to be effective in alleviating symptoms of CKD or supporting kidney health (read scientific backing section below!)
FOR CATS OF ALL AGES - Active ingredients are perfect for younger cats, and help maintain kidney function to prevent the onset of CKD, and good for older cats who are showing the signs of kidney function decline, to revitalize their organs.
TRANSITIONAL SUPPORT - Perfect for finicky cats who are having trouble switching to kidney diets, designed to provide some kidney support even when diet does the opposite! Also can provide organ support for cats who are already on prescription diets.
REDUCES PROTEINURIA - The active ingredients in Kidney Vitalize Support Chews have been scientifically proven to help reduce proteinuria. Which in turn may help reduce weight loss, and organ damage.
FIGHTS INFLAMMATION - Fights the painful inflammation which stops your fur-baby's body healing itself
PROUDLY MADE IN THE USA - From 100% high quality ingredients in GMP compliant factory under FDA standards
How it works
Feed your cat 1-3 soft chews daily (depending on their body weight)
Enjoy the natural (and science backed) kidney supporting benefits
Feel good knowing your helping improve the quality and longevity of your fur kiddos life
Astragalus Root Extract.......................60 mg
Rehmannia Root Extract......................30 mg
Carob, Catnip, Chicken, Chicken Liver, Coconut Glycerin, Coconut Oil, Garbanzo Flour, Mixed Tocopherols, Palm Fruit Oil, Pea Flour, Rosemary Extract, Sorbic Acid, Sunflower Lecithin
Safe use in pregnant animals or animals intended for breeding has not been proven. If animal’s condition worsens or does not improve, stop product administration and consult your veterinarian.
Do not use with dogs and cats with diarrhea.
Do not exceed the recommended amount of 1 chew for every 5 lb. of body weight.
Up to 5 lb.: 1 chew/day
6 – 10 lb.: 2 chews/day
11 – 15 lb.: 3 chews/day
16 – 20 lb.: 4 chews/day
For Maintenance Administration: As above but every other day.
Please allow 10-12 business days for delivery (due to current COVID situation there is a slight increase in delivery times)
Scientific Studies on Active Ingredients
Study showed that a combination of Astragalus and Rehmannia Root Extract had a 91% 'effective' rate in treating Chronic Kidney Disease. It was markedly effective for proteinuria, hematuria, improvement and recovery of renal functions, edema, anemia, anorexia etc in comparing with the control group. It showed no adverse effects on functions of liver, kidney, heart and GI tract.
Su ZZ, He YY, Chen G. [Clinical and experimental study on effects of man-shen-ling oral liquid in the treatment of 100 cases of chronic nephritis]. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1993 May;13(5):269-72, 259-60. Chinese.
Study showing Rehmannia Root Extract improving renal function in animals experiencing renal failure
Kang, D. G., Sohn, E.J., Moon, M.K., Lee Y. M., Lee, H.S. Rhemannia glutinose ameliorates renal function in the ischemia/reperfusion-induced acute renal failure rats. Biol Pharm Bull 2005, 28:1662-1667.
Study showing rehmannia reduces the deterioration of kidneys in animals affected by diabetes
Yokozawa, T., Kim, H.Y., Yamabe, N. Amelioration of diabetic nephropathy by dried rhemannia Radix (Di Huang) extract. Am J. Chin Med 2004, 32:829-839.
Study showing how administration of Astragalus root extract caused a remission in kidney disease
Leehey DJ, Casini T, Massey D. Remission of membranous nephropathy after therapy with Astragalus membranaceus. Am J Kidney Dis. 2010 Apr;55(4):772.
Studies indicating the safety of Astragali Extracts in animals
Yu SY, Ouyang HT, Yang JY, Huang XL, Yang T, Duan JP, Cheng JP, Chen YX, Yang YJ, Qiong P. Subchronic toxicity studies of Radix Astragali extract in rats anddogs. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Mar 21;110(2):352-5. Epub 2006 Sep 27.
Study showing the protective effects Astragalus extract has on diabetes related kidney damage in animals
Yin, X., Zhang, Y., Wu, H., et al. Protective Effects of Astragalus Saponin I on early stages of diabetic nephropathy in rats. J. Pharmacol. Sci 2004, 95:256-266.