Kidney Health Awareness

FVAH is dedicated to provide awareness to help prevent and treat kidney disease!

What is the function of your pets kidneys?

Kidneys are an important organ that removes waste products, excess fluid from the body, produce hormones that regulate blood pressure and control calcium metabolism.

There are 2 types of kidney disorders; Acute and Chronic.

Acute kidney disease often occurs when a toxin is ingested, severe reaction to some medications or if the pet has a bad infection. Often with early intervention, kidney health can stabilize.

Chronic Kidney disease is a slower progression; usually pets are born with (congenital) or caused by untreated toxic exposure/infections. Management to slow the progression is the goal and to treat symptoms as they occur.

In our pets, kidney disease is known as a silent assassin. The good news is that there are some ways to support your pets kidneys early on. Nutrition along with early diagnosis will give your pet the best chance at slowing/changing the progression of this disease.

Nutrition has the goal of supporting kidneys by:

  • Providing high quality and appropriate quantities of nutrients that help slow the progression, by allowing the kidneys not to be in over drive.
  • Reducing inflammation in the kidneys by supplementing antioxidants such as Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Helping maintain weight by increasing the caloric density while maintaining the desire of your pet to eat. Food aversion is common.

Symptoms Commonly Seen in Pets:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss (especially seen in chronic cases)

“At least 2/3 of the kidneys must be dysfunctional before clinical signs are seen.”


Diagnostic testing will include bloodwork and urinalysis.

What our veterinarians will be measuring by doing blood work are the level of two waste products in the blood, namely blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and blood creatinine (CREA). When these values are abnormal it can indicate decreased kidney function. They also measure the blood levels for substances such as albumin, globulin, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, and calcium, and red and white blood cells.

A urinalysis is needed to evaluate kidney function. It will help our vets determine if your pet is properly concentrating urine along with evaluating if there is protein present in the kidneys. This can also be a sign of decreased kidney function.

Your Pet Has Been Diagnosed With Kidney Disease… Now What?

Your cat’s kidneys will be staged based on an IRIS scale which categorizes CKD into 4 stages:

  • Stage 1: non-azotemic
  • Stage 2: mild
  • Stage 3: moderate
  • Stage 4: severe

It will be recommended to monitor your pet’s weight, blood pressure, blood and urine parameters every 6 months

Medical management will be changed based on symptoms and medical tests

Management of Kidney Disease:

* Recommended based on degree of severity and clinical signs noted

  • Kidney Specific Diets – Royal Canin, Hills – Prescription Diet and Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets.
  • Phosphate binder – aluminum hydroxide
  • Potassium Supplement – Thera K
  • Blood Pressure treatments – Amlodipine
  • Anti nausea medication – Cerenia
  • Appetite stimulant – Mirtazapine
  • Supplemental fluids – SQ fluids (at home or in clinic)