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Help and advice if your pet suffers from cat flu, cat colds or other ailments

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Kidney failure is among the most common cat health problems - but there are many new treatments available today which are capable of slowing down the development of the disease.

If you suspect your cat is suffering from a kidney-related issue you should organise a visit to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Among other things, your vet will help you choose the correct diet for your pet as the dietary needs of cats with kidney disease are significantly different than those for all the health problems such as bladder disease.

Naturally a cat is most healthy with two fully functioning kidneys but it is capable of getting by with just one.

Many diseases can affect the kidneys, but most renal problems are treated similarly - a key issue is whether the disease is acute or chronic, with long-standing cases usually proving the more serious.

Signs of dysfunctional kidneys include increased urination, dental disease, vomiting, dehydration, weight loss and increased thirst.

Cats' urine is very concentrated and low in water. The urine-specific gravity falls in a cat with kidney disease because the urine becomes diluted and too much water leaves the body - leading to dehydration.

A good way to check for dehydration is to pinch your cat's neck skin upwards - if it does not return to normal within a few seconds the cat is dehydrated.

Fluid therapy is the key method for treating

a cat with kidney disease and involves administering balanced electrolyte solutions. Cats with high waste products levels in their blood will initially be given fluids intravenously.

In some cases of chronic kidney disease cat owners are taught how to inject fluids under the skin of their pets. This can be continued at home on a long-term basis, with many owners happily administering subcutaneous fluid injections for years.

Other treatments for kidney problems include a low protein, low phosphate diet which helps to reduce the workload on the kidney. Tests have shown that cats on renal prescription diets can be expected to live two to three times longer than those not on such a diet.

Antibiotics can also be given to cats who show signs of kidney infection.

There are also many medications that can be given to cats suffering from renal failure including Fortekor, a tablet which reduces blood pressure in the kidneys. It's proved very successful in helping cats to gain weight and increase their appetites.

Cats suffering from kidney disease may become anemic because they stopped producing enough erythropoietin and some become anorexic and may require anabolic steroids and hand feeding.

Cats can undergo kidney transplants with the surgery being available at a select number of clinics and universities - however it can be prohibitively expensive and carries a risk of organ rejection.

In the latter stages of renal disease, a cat will lose a significant amount of weight and will be unable to maintain hydration despite receiving fluid supplements. At this stage some cat owners will consider euthanasia to spare their pet any further pain or suffering.


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