TANYA'S

COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO

FELINE CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE

 

 

 This site is dedicated to my three CKD cats:

   

Tanya

 

 Thomas

 

Ollie

 

 

HOME


Site Overview


What You Need to Know First


Alphabetical Index


Glossary


Research Participation Opportunities


Search This Site


 

 

WHAT IS CKD?


What Happens in CKD


Causes of CKD


How Bad is It?


Is There Any Hope?


Acute Kidney Injury


 

KEY ISSUES


Nausea, Vomiting, Appetite Loss and Excess Stomach Acid


Maintaining Hydration


The Importance of Phosphorus Control


All About Hypertension


All About Anaemia


All About Constipation


Potassium Imbalances


Metabolic Acidosis


Kidney Stones


 

SUPPORT


Coping with CKD


Tanya's Support Group


Success Stories


 

SYMPTOMS


Important: Crashing


Alphabetical List of Symptoms and Treatments


Fluid and Urinary  Imbalances (Dehydration, Overhydration and Urinary Issues)


Waste Product Regulation Imbalances (Vomiting, Appetite Loss, Excess Stomach Acid, Gastro-intestinal Problems, Mouth Ulcers Etc.)


Phosphorus and Calcium Imbalances


Miscellaneous Symptoms (Pain, Hiding Etc.)


 

DIAGNOSIS: WHAT DO ALL THE TEST RESULTS MEAN?


Blood Chemistry: Kidney Function, Potassium, Other Tests (ALT, Amylase, (Cholesterol, Etc.)


Calcium, Phosphorus, Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) and Secondary Hyperparathyroidism


Complete Blood Count (CBC): Red and White Blood Cells: Anaemia and Infection


Urinalysis (Urine Tests)


Other Tests: Ultrasound, Biopsy, X-rays etc.


Renomegaly (Enlarged Kidneys)


Which Tests to Have and Frequency of Testing


Factors that Affect Test Results


Normal Ranges


International and US Measuring Systems


 

TREATMENTS


Which Treatments are Essential


Fluid and Urinary Issues (Fluid Retention, Infections, Incontinence, Proteinuria)


Waste Product Regulation (Mouth Ulcers, GI Bleeding, Antioxidants, Adsorbents, Azodyl, Astro's CRF Oil)


Phosphorus, Calcium and Secondary Hyperparathyroidism (Calcitriol)


Miscellaneous Treatments: Stem Cell Transplants, ACE Inhibitors - Fortekor, Steroids, Kidney Transplants)


Antibiotics and Painkillers


Holistic Treatments (Including Slippery Elm Bark)


ESAs (Aranesp, Epogen etc.) for Severe Anaemia


General Health Issues in a CKD Cat: Fleas, Arthritis, Dementia, Vaccinations


Tips on Medicating Your Cat


Obtaining Supplies Cheaply in the UK, USA and Canada


Working with Your Vet and Recordkeeping


 

DIET & NUTRITION


Nutritional Requirements of CKD Cats


The B Vitamins (Including Methylcobalamin)


What to Feed (and What to Avoid)


Persuading Your Cat to Eat


Food Data Tables


USA Canned Food Data


USA Dry Food Data


USA Cat Food Manufacturers


UK Canned Food Data


UK Dry Food Data


UK Cat Food Manufacturers


2007 Food Recall USA


 

FLUID THERAPY


Intravenous Fluids


Subcutaneous Fluids


Tips on Giving Subcutaneous Fluids


How to Give Subcutaneous Fluids with a Giving Set


How to Give Subcutaneous Fluids with a Syringe


Subcutaneous Fluids - Winning Your Vet's Support


Dialysis


 

RELATED DISEASES


Heart Problems


Hyperthyroidism


Diabetes


Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)


Pancreatitis


Dental Problems


Anaesthesia


 

OBTAINING SUPPLIES CHEAPLY


UK


USA


Canada


 

SAYING GOODBYE


The Final Hours


Other People's Losses


Coping with Your Loss


 

MISCELLANEOUS


Early Detection


Prevention


Research


Canine Kidney Disease


Other Illnesses (Cancer, Liver) and Behavioural Problems


Diese Webseite auf Deutsch


 

SITEOWNER (HELEN)


My Three CKD Cats: Tanya, Thomas and Ollie


My Multi Ailment Cat, Harpsie


Find Me on Facebook


Follow Me on Twitter


Contact Me



Introduction


 

Hello, and welcome to my website, though I am sorry you need to be here.

 

My name is Helen. I have had three cats with CKD, Tanya, Thomas and Ollie (their photos are above). I created this website because I know first hand the shock and fear of the diagnosis, and how helpless it can make you feel, and I wanted to give people the detailed, practical information which would have helped me the first time I received the CKD diagnosis.

If your cat has also just been diagnosed with CKD, you are probably feeling shell-shocked and frightened. Your cat may be in the midst of a crisis, perhaps on intravenous fluids (IV, or a drip, or a flush) at the vet's. If your cat has high bloodwork values, you may not even have been offered any treatment, but instead told that there is no hope and you should just put your cat to sleep. Perhaps your cat has had CKD for a while, but you are now realising that you need to become more proactive if you want him or her to remain well. Or maybe you've caught things early, but are anxious to find out all you can about this disease so you can do all you can to keep your cat stable. Whatever your situation, please take a deep breath and don't give up hope, because it may well be possible to help your cat.


What is Kidney Disease?


There are two main kinds of kidney disease, Chronic Kidney Disease, abbreviated as CKD, and Acute Kidney Injury, abbreviated as AKI.

 

Kidney disease used to be known as kidney failure, and you may therefore see references in some of my links to Chronic Renal Failure (CRF), or Acute Renal Failure (ARF). I used to use these expressions myself, but these days the academic literature prefers the less scary and more accurate expression, kidney disease, so that is what I use throughout the site.

AKI is a serious condition which usually comes on suddenly and which is often triggered by a particular event or "insult", such as your cat eating something poisonous. Lilies and antifreeze are both extremely toxic to cats and may cause AKI. AKI is usually treated with intravenous fluids (IV fluids, also known as a drip) and other medications at the vet's and, although it is hard to treat, if the cat survives the initial crisis, he/she can often regain much or sometimes all of his/her normal kidney function.

CKD may also manifest itself very suddenly and require IV treatment at the vet's, but in contrast to AKI it is an ongoing disease in which it is not possible to regain lost kidney function; so the goal is to keep the remaining function for as long as possible.

This site is primarily designed for people with a cat with the chronic form of the disease (CKD), but may be of some use to those with a cat with AKI. Please visit the Acute Kidney Injury page for more information.


Aims of the Site


 

This site shares all the information and tips I know, in great detail, in order to help your cat feel better and hopefully extend his/her life. I am not a vet myself (though a lot of vets do recommend the site, see the reviews below), just an ordinary person who has educated herself about CKD in cats, so wherever possible I do try to offer veterinary information to support what I say.

I try to share the information I have using layman's language. My goals are to:

  • describe the symptoms which you may be seeing now or which you may see in the future;

  • explain what these symptoms and your cat's test results may mean;

  • discuss treatments which can often help, many of which are not very expensive (the most commonly used treatments can usually be obtained for around US$5 a week in total);

  • cover the emotional aspects of living with CKD and help you to cope with it, including at the end of your CKD journey. 

The site provides information on an international basis, aiming to help you wherever you happen to live, although in practice much of the information relates to the USA and Europe since these are the areas where the most information and treatments are available. 

 


Where to Start


 

This site is extremely comprehensive, as you can see from the number of links in the sidebar on the left. But don't panic, you won't need to learn about every single aspect.

 

Most people who arrive here for the first time have two overwhelming concerns:

  • they want to know how severe their cat's case is.

  • they want to know how best to help their cat, and quickly.

I therefore recommend that you read these pages first:

  • How Bad Is It? - discusses the various stages of CKD in cats.

  • Is There Any Hope?: discusses the various scenarios you may face.

  • Key Issues - the crucial issues to focus on in order to best help your cat. Don't worry, it is highly unlikely that you will need to deal with all of them at once.

These pages will get you started quickly so you can hit the ground running. Then, later on, you can gradually get up to speed on CKD in more detail. The Site Overview - Finding What You Need page provides a brief summary of the contents of each page, so if you're not sure where to find something, check here, or just check the sidebar on the left.

 


If Your Vet Has Recommended Immediate Euthanasia


 

Please read the Just Diagnosed? What You Need to Know First page urgently. Unfortunately, some vets are not overly familiar with the latest treatments for CKD, and may recommend euthanasia prematurely. You need to educate yourself and work out how severe your cat's case is before you make this irrevocable decision.  

 


My Three CKD Cats


 

This website is named in honour of Tanya, who was my first CKD cat. Unfortunately Tanya did not receive as much proactive care as Thomas and Ollie, because at the time that she was diagnosed (1998), I did not know about the treatment options described on this website. I tried desperately to find information to help her but I was not online, so my options were limited. Once I got online, I vowed that nobody else should have to go through that, so I created this website.

 

Thomas, in contrast, had much more severe CKD yet survived longer than Tanya because he received more proactive treatment.

 

Ollie was a somewhat different case: he came to me a week before his sixteenth birthday with relatively mild CKD but with a host of other health problems which ultimately took him from me.

 

You can read more about all of them here. You can also read some Success Stories here, some of whom have survived for years with CKD. I can't promise the same success for your cat, but in most cases it's certainly worth a try.

 


Other Urinary Tract Problems


 

I sometimes hear from people whose cats have lower urinary tract problems rather than kidney problems. Lower urinary tract problems are relatively common in cats, but do not automatically lead to kidney problems. So please be sure your cat has kidney issues before deciding this is the website to help your cat, because treating for the wrong condition is at best pointless and at worst dangerous.

 

If you are not sure, ask your vet if your cat has CKD or another condition that would fall into the category of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). You can read about our experiences with FLUTD, including a lifethreatening urinary tract blockage caused by struvite crystals, with one of our other cats,  Harpsie.

 


Is Chronic Kidney Disease Terminal?


 

Sadly, yes, CKD is terminal. BUT that does not necessarily mean death is imminent: it is often possible to buy the cat months or even years of quality life. In fact, with appropriate treatment, quite a few CKD cats not only live for a long time, they eventually die of other causes, with the CKD firmly under control at the time of death.

 

An analogy used by my vet is that a CKD cat is approaching the edge of a precipice: the cat may approach the precipice very slowly, taking years to reach it; the cat may approach quite quickly; whichever way the cat approaches the precipice, it may be possible to grab the cat and pull him/her back even after he/ she has started to fall over the edge, and this could be done several times if you move quickly enough.

 

The good news is there are almost certainly a few things you can do to help your cat. This site is geared towards slowing the progression towards the precipice, and may also be able to help pull your cat back if he/she has started to fall over the edge, while simultaneously trying to make the cat's remaining time more comfortable. CKD cats can look very ill at diagnosis, but improve dramatically with treatment, so I strongly recommend trying treatments for a few weeks before considering euthanasia.

 

Good luck on your CKD journey.

 

Helen

 

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Tanya's CKD Support Group

 

Need help and support? Available online now, completely free of charge,

the support group allows you to talk to others fighting this disease

who can offer help and support as you make your CKD journey.

Read more about the group here or enter your details below to apply immediately. It will tell you you may have to wait a few days for approval, but don't worry, most people are approved in under two hours.

 

Existing members log in here:

 

 

DONATIONS

 

I have no financial interest in any products or services mentioned here, nor do I accept advertisements. I neither solicit nor accept donations for maintaining this site, because I can afford the running costs, and my time comes free.

If you would like to thank me in some way, please:

  • pay me the compliment of telling your vet about this site, so that other cats may benefit.

  • If you can afford it, you might also wish to make a small donation to your local branch of Cats Protection (UK) or your local shelter in memory of Tanya, Thomas and Ollie.

  • If you would prefer to make a donation to fund CKD research, please click here.

  • If you would prefer that I benefit directly (as I know some of you do), you can buy the book version of this website.

  • But if funds are tight right now and you need them to pay for your cat's care, please just go and hug your cat (-:

 

REVIEWS AND AWARDS

"You might be interested to know that I refer veterinarians to the information on your site quite often.

It came up recently regarding one of the experimental therapies and

I just linked to your site and said the folks that run that site are knowledgeable and responsible

and if they say it there, it's been researched and is up-to-date.

I consider what you do in trying to help cat owners to be the work of "angels"."

 

Dr Katherine James, DVM, PhD

Urology and Nephrology Specialist at the Veterinary Information Network

March 2007

 

*****

 

Recommended by Catwatch,

the newsletter of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

May 2011

 

*****

 

Recommended by the

American Association of Feline Practitioners

 

*****

 

 

Recommended by the Pet Community Website

August 2008

 

*****

 

 

Recommended in the International Cat Care Journal

Volume 43 (4) 2005

*****

*****

The Best of the Net Award

February 2002.

*****

Recommended in the International Cat Care Journal

Volume 40 (3) 2002

 

*****

 

Recommended in Your Cat magazine

December 2000

 

 

 

SEARCH THIS SITE:

Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease Web
 

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This page last updated: 24 June 2014

 

 

Website last updated: 26 June 2014

 

See above for when this particular page was last updated

 

*****

 

TREATING YOUR CAT WITHOUT VETERINARY ADVICE CAN BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.

 

I have tried very hard to ensure that the information provided in this website is accurate, but I am NOT a vet, just an ordinary person who has lived through CKD with three cats. This website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat any cat. Before trying any of the treatments described herein, you MUST consult a qualified veterinarian and obtain professional advice on the correct regimen for your cat and his or her particular requirements; and you should only use any treatments described here with the full knowledge and approval of your vet. No responsibility can be accepted.

 

If your cat appears to be in pain or distress, do not waste time on the internet, contact your vet immediately.

 

*****

Copyright Tanya's Feline CKD Website 2000-2014. All rights reserved.

 

This site was created using Microsoft software, and therefore it is best viewed in Internet Explorer. I know it doesn't always display too well in other browsers, but I'm not an IT expert so I'm afraid I don't know how to change that. I would love it to display perfectly everywhere, but my focus is on making the information available. I am trying to teach myself to use another type of software, in the hope that using it will enable to site to display better in the future.

 

You may print out one copy of each section of this site for your own information and/or one copy to give to your vet (though it is about 800 pages long, so it is probably cheaper and it is definitely easier to buy the book version!), but this site may not otherwise be reproduced or reprinted, on the internet or elsewhere, without the permission of the site owner, who can be contacted via the

Contact Me page.

 

This site is a labour of love on my part. Please do not steal from me by taking credit for my work.

If you wish to link to this site, please feel free to do so. Please make it clear that this is a link and not your own work. I would appreciate being informed of your link.