are not veterinarians. The life and health of your
cat are in your hands and the hands of the professional
veterinarian you have chosen.
Please read our disclaimer
just come home from the vet's office with the ominous
diagnosis of chronic renal failure and you are in shock.
Perhaps you came home alone, with your cat still at the
vet's receiving IV fluids.
to remain calm.
the diagnosis you just received can be devastating, try
to remain as calm as possible. The calmer you can be,
the more help you will be to your cat.
what you're up against.
need information right away and this page will serve as
your starting point in understanding feline chronic renal
failure. It contains minimal but crucial information -
just some highlights and key points - to help you begin
to understand what is happening before you start your
in-depth research of the extensive information on this
rush to judgment!
some vets may recommend euthanasia immediately upon diagnosis,
be sure your vet understands how much you are willing
to do to help your cat. Many cats who were in extremely
serious condition when first diagnosed have lived with
a good quality of life for months (and even years) after
diagnosis because their condition was treated aggressively.
If you feel that your vet is not as knowledgeable about
CRF as he/she should be, or if the vet does not want to
aggressively treat your catís CRF and you do, seek a second
opinion and consider changing vets. Be sure to read our
With Your Veterinarian.
your cat has been on IV fluids and has just arrived home,
he may appear to be in worse condition or show no improvement
from his previous condition. Don't give up hope. It is
important to give the cat some time to restore the blood
electrolyte balance that may have been lost owing to the
renal failure does not progress at the same rate in all
cases. In some cases, the deterioration is fast, in others
it can be quite gradual. You cannot know how your cat
will respond to treatment unless you try.
CRF progresses and toxin levels rise, cats become more
uncomfortable with an overall sensation of feeling unwell.
Human patients with a similar condition don't report "pain"
but describe their condition as feeling poorly. Dehydration,
in particular, can make the patient very uncomfortable.
Aggressively treating CRF, especially with subcutaneous
fluid therapy, should not be thought of as "prolonging
the agony" as there is no significant pain associated
with kidney failure until the end-stage. Even then, unless
the patient convulses, the chief symptoms will be malaise,
weakness, nausea and discomfort.
key points about CRF
is a progressive, irreversible deterioration of
kidney function that may not become apparent until
approximately 70% of that function is lost.
most obvious symptoms of CRF are increased thirst
and excessive urination. There are many other
symptoms that are harder to spot.
See the What
is CRF? page
blood test to check BUN and creatinine and a urine
test to measure specific gravity are what your
veterinarian needs to confirm a diagnosis of CRF.
See the Tests
and Diagnostics page
(IV) fluids may save your cat's life when his
condition suddenly becomes critical, but regular
subcutaneous (sub-Q) fluids will extend your cat's
life. IV fluids will not keep your cat hydrated
for long and sub-Q fluids, on a regular basis,
should be started as soon as possible. Sub-Q fluids
are the mainstay of CRF care and are the most
successful treatment we know.
protein diets are recommended for CRF cats but
low phosphorus is thought to be more critical.
for cats is expensive and not widely available.
See the Management
of CRF section
transplants are available for CRF cats. They are
not available everywhere and not every CRF cat
is a candidate.
related to feline CRF may include:
of these symptoms are treatable to some extent. )
and detached retinae - If you
suspect that your cat is losing or has lost vision,
take him to a veterinarian immediately! If detached
retinas are treated with medication within a day or
so of onset, it is possible that partial or full vision
can be restored.
to go from here:
you're ready for more detailed information, be sure to
visit the Site
Guide page to get a brief overview of the
content of the various sections of this site.