Vet’s Voice with Dr Tafara Mapuvire
CHRONIC kidney disease (CKD) is the persistent loss of kidney function over time.
Healthy kidneys perform many important functions, most notably filtering the body’s waste products out of blood and making urine. As such, problems with kidney function can result in a variety of health problems for a cat.
Among the many different kidney diseases that may affect cats, CKD is the most common. CKD typically affects older cats. Cats with CKD may experience a buildup of waste products and other compounds in the bloodstream that are normally removed or regulated by the kidneys.
This accumulation may make them feel ill and appear lethargic, unkempt, and lose weight. Persistent vomiting and diarrhoea are also common signs. They may also lose the ability to concentrate their urine appropriately, and as a result they may produce large volumes of dilute urine and drink more water to compensate.
The loss of important proteins and vitamins in their urine may contribute to abnormal metabolism and loss of appetite. They may also experience elevated blood pressure (hypertension), which can affect the function of a number of important systems, including the eyes, brain, and heart.
CKD may also decrease a cat’s ability to produce red blood cells, which can lead to anaemia. This may cause their gums to appear pale pink, or in severe cases, whitish in color, and make them lethargic.
CKD can be managed well provided it is detected early and treatment protocols are instituted promptly. Regular check-ups help with early detection of diseases. Consult your veterinarian if you suspect that your cat has CKD.