If you're a cat owner, you want to ensure that your feline friend enjoys the happiest and healthiest life possible. In order to help make this possible, it's important for you, as the pet owner, to be educated about feline health issues. While cat kidney disease most often affects elderly felines, it has the potential to affect cats at any stage of life. So in order to protect and promote your cat's health, it's a good idea to understand the basics of feline kidney function and cat kidney disease.
The Feline Urinary Tract
Generally, a healthy cat's urinary tract will consist of two kidneys, each of which is each connected to the bladder by a ureter. As a physiological system, the feline urinary tract carries out several different functions, including the regulation of the concentration and acid-based balance of the blood. However, the main function of the kidneys and urinary system is the filtration and removal of waste products.
Feline Kidney Disease
Feline kidney disease occurs when the kidneys are no longer able to function properly. This usually occurs because the kidney cells become damaged or worn out. In most cases, feline kidney disease will develop slowly over time and a cat with this medical problem generally won't display any symptoms of the disease until approximately two thirds of normal kidney function is lost. At this point, the kidneys are no longer able to sufficiently remove waste products from the body and toxins begin to accumulate within the cat's system, causing significant discomfort for the animal as well as dangerous and potentially fatal disruptions with several other physiological pathways.
Once a cat reaches this point, where approximately two thirds of normal kidney function is lost, a variety of signs and symptoms will begin to appear. Two of the most frequently displayed symptoms in cases of feline kidney disease are increased thirst and increased urination. Other common warning signs include bloody urine, loss of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, depression, and poor coat quality. In some cases, feline kidney disease will also cause vomiting and bad breath. Since chronic kidney disease, which develops slowly over time, is more common in cats than acute kidney disease, signs and symptoms will typically occur with a gradual onset and grow increasingly severe with time.
Generally, a case of cat kidney disease will be diagnosed through blood tests and urinalysis. With respect to blood tests, the concentrations of the substances urea and creatinine can be very helpful with diagnosing feline kidney disease. Both of these substances are typically filtered out of the body by healthy kidneys and, therefore, unusually high concentrations of urea and/or creatinine could suggest a lack of proper function on the part of the cat's kidneys. Also, when a cat is suffering from this disease, the concentration of its urine will often be higher than normal as well. As a result, urinalysis can also be helpful when it comes to diagnosing feline kidney disease.
As alluded to earlier, there are two types of cat kidney disease -- acute kidney disease, which develops suddenly, and chronic kidney disease, which develops slowly over time. Acute feline kidney disease is often caused by a traumatic event such as being hit by a car or losing a significant amount of blood. Toxins such as antifreeze can also trigger the sudden onset of cat kidney disease. Chronic feline kidney disease, the most common type of this disease, can be caused simply by the natural wear and tear that occurs with age, a genetic defect, or an infection. While there are numerous potential causes of cat kidney disease, in many cases the exact cause will be unknown.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for feline kidney disease; however, in many cases this condition is controllable. Two of the most basic and common forms of treatment for cat kidney disease include diet control and prevention of dehydration. In addition to these treatments steps, a holistic approach to dealing with this condition often proves to be very beneficial as well. Natural supplements and remedies can help to increase the feline patient's comfort by reducing symptoms and can also promote the animal's overall health and well-being. However, no matter what treatment methods are used for your particular cat, they should always be carried out under the supervision of a veterinarian.
If your cat does not have feline kidney disease and you'd like to ensure that he or she never does develop this condition, there are several steps that you can take to increase the chances of your feline friend living a long and healthy life free of kidney disease. One of the best ways to do this is to deal with your pet's health in a holistic manner, ensuring that he or she is as healthy as possible in every respect. By providing your cat with a healthy diet complemented by natural supplements, you will be increasing the strength of your pet's immune system while improving its overall health and happiness. With a well-rounded health care plan and regular veterinary care, you can decrease your cat's likelihood of developing kidney disease as well as many other feline health problems.
Article Courtesy of Article Cat http://www.articlecat.com
Author: Catharine Wells