Dealing with a Deadly Diagnosis
With the recent passing of my cat Snowball from this disease, I thought I would let cat owners know more about CRF and the options you have to extend the life of your kitty from this terminal disease. The first hint of his diagnosis was four years ago, and he didn’t start going downhill until the beginning of this year. So you do have, with the help of certain drugs and an experienced vet, the possibility of keeping your kitty with you for some time.
What is Chronic Renal Failure (CRF)?
In the beginning stages, the kidneys cope with their inability to adequately remove waste products by producing a larger amount of more diluted urine. After about two-thirds of the kidney tissues have failed, waste products in the bloodstream rise quickly, and that is when the symptoms can be diagnosed. Chronic renal failure is mostly a problem in older cats. Only about 10% of cases occur in cats younger than three years old.
Unfortunately, cat owners don’t recognize many of the signs as they increase subtly, such as. ..drinking more water, larger pee balls in the litter box, dull coat, slow weight loss, bad breath, lethargy, and gradual loss of sight (a symptom of high blood pressure which is a symptom of the kidney disease itself). Only a blood test and a sharp eye from your vet can determine the severity of the disease.
There are numerous treatments available depending on your finances and willingness to get “down and dirty” to keep your cat at bay of this disease. I gave my guy subcutaneous fluids every 2-3 days and had to force-feed him large potassium pills because he refused to eat the paste or powder versions. For a list of treatments available, go to Kidney Failure in Cats