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Posted on 08-24-2012
As a pet owner you have probably marveled at how similar in many ways our animals are to us. Unfortunately, just as humans tend to develop certain health challenges later in life, so can elderly animals. One health problem that many pets face is chronic kidney failure -- an inability of the kidneys to filter waste products out of the blood adequately. Left untreated, the buildup of toxins in your pet will prove fatal. Fortunately, treatments exist to help your pet enjoy a better quality of life, and we provide them at Emergency Animal Hospital of Northwest Austin.
Chronic kidney failure can affect both dogs and cats, though cats seem especially prone to it. How do you know if your cat is suffering from kidney failure? First of all, a cat with kidney failure may urinate with unusual frequency, drinking extra water to make up for the fluid loss, as the body struggles to remove toxins. Other cat symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, halitosis, depression and a loss of interest in food. The sooner an emergency veterinarian can step in with treatment, the better chance we have of improving your cat’s quality of life.
When you bring your Austin cat to our after hours veterinarian, we will first run lab tests to look for excessive levels of blood urea nitrogen and creatinine, two red flags for kidney failure. Once we confirm the diagnosis, we will place your pet on intravenous fluid therapy to correct any dehydration that may be present. Fluid therapy will also ensure that the kidneys are getting enough blood flow to help resolve the toxemia. Your cat may then need a special low-protein diet, potassium supplements, and several medications to regulate the body’s mineral balance (and possibly control hypertension). If the problem is correctable, patients will typically improve within three days of the initiation of fluid therapy and additional treatments. In a few rare cases, dialysis or an organ transplant might even be possible. Contact us to learn more about how we can aid your pet’s fight against kidney failure.
Has your cat's thirst level or litterbox habits changed? How so?
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