TANYA'S

COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO

FELINE CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE

 

 

CAUSES OF CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE

 

ON THIS PAGE:


Proven Causes:


Chronic Interstitial Nephritis


Hereditary or Congenital Abnormalities: PKD, Renal Dysplasia or Reflux Nephropathy


Infections: Pyelonephritis or FIP


Inflammation: Glomerulonephritis and Nephrotic Syndrome, or Dental Disease


Hypertension


Renal Calculi (Kidney Stones)


Cancer: Renal Lymphoma


Toxins: Lilies or Antifreeze


Renal Calculi (Kidney Stones)


Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), e.g. Meloxicam


Autoimmune Diseases: Amyloidosis


Perinephric Pseudocysts


 

Possible (Unproven) Causes:


Vaccinations


Potassium Depletion


Dietary Concerns: Dry Foods, Acidified Diets or Free Feeding


New Flooring


 

 

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


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


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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


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SITEOWNER (HELEN)


My Three CKD Cats: Tanya, Thomas and Ollie


My Multi Ailment Cat, Harpsie


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Home > What is CKD > Causes of CKD

 


Overview


  • In many ways, this page is not particularly important, because in most cases it does not matter how a cat developed CKD - the treatment is the same once it is present (although in the case of glomerulonephritis, there may be other things which can be tried).

  • However, I am including the information because so many people seem to blame themselves for their cat's illness, when in truth CKD is rarely avoidable - as the What Happens in CKD page mentions, around 10% of cats over the age of ten will develop CKD, with as many as 30% of cats over the age of 15 having the disease.

  • This page is divided into known causes of CKD and possible causes.

  • The possible causes section is just that at this point, possible causes. This section is not there to make you feel guilty about, say, your food choices. There is no hard evidence that any of these possibilities truly do cause CKD, although the anecdotal evidence is stronger for some than for others.


Incidence of the Various Causes                                                                      Back to Page Index


 

In Renal disease (2006), Dr D Polzin mentions that 70% of cats with renal disease had chronic interstitial nephritis, 15% had glomerulonephritis, 11% had lymphoma (cancer), and 2% had amyloidosis.

 

Selected diseases of the feline kidney (2001) is a paper presented by Dr Stephen DiBartola to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress.

Renal diseases in cats (2002) is a presentation by JP Pagès to the 27th World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress.

Clinical epidemiology of kidney diseases in the cat (2008) Francey T & Schweighauser A Veterinary Focus 18(2) pp2-7 discusses the various causes of both CKD and acute kidney injury.

 


Chronic Interstitial Nephritis                                                                           Back to Page Index


 

This is the most commonly seen type of kidney problem, so when a vet says a cat has CKD, s/he often means chronic interstitial nephritis. Cats with chronic interstitial nephritis have small, shrivelled kidneys with scar tissue. The What Happens in CKD page explains why this occurs.

 

As humans age, they are prone to developing cancer or heart disease; whereas cats are more likely to develop kidney disease. It may be caused by any of the other problems described in this section. Feline morbillivirus, a previously undescribed paramyxovirus associated with tubulointerstitial nephritis in domestic cats (2012) Woo PC, Lau SK, Wong BH, Fan RY, Wong AY, Zhang AJ, Wu Y, Choi GK, Li KS, Hui J, Wang M, Zheng BJ, Chan KH & Yuen KY Proceedings of the  National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109(14) pp5435-40 found that a recently discovered virus may also be present in some cases of interstitial nephritis in cats. Yahoo! News reports further on this study.

 

However, in many cases interstitial nephritis is basically "old age" kidney disease wherein the kidneys simply "wear out." In other words, it is nothing to do with anything you did or how you cared for your cat, so no guilt trips please.

 

Selected diseases of the feline kidney (2001) is a paper presented by Dr Stephen DiBartola to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress, which includes this condition.

Merck Veterinary Manual has some information on interstitial nephritis and CKD.

 

 


Hereditary/Congenital Abnormalities                                                             Back to Page Index


Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)


Polycystic Kidney Disease, or PKD, is a condition in which cysts form on the kidneys. There is detailed information about PKD on the Polycystic Kidney Disease page.

 

Renal Dysplasia and Renal Hypoplasia


In these conditions, the kidneys either do  not develop normally (renal dysplasia) or they do not develop completely (renal hypoplasia). In some cases of renal hypoplasia, known as renal aplasia, the cat has only one kidney. Cats with only one kidney tend to be male, and for some reason it is usually the right kidney which is missing.

 

Cats who develop CKD at an early age often suffer from renal dysplasia or renal hypoplasia. These cats often are rather small, and may be noticeably smaller than their littermates.

 

Merck Veterinary Manual has some information on these conditions.

 

Reflux Nephropathy


This is a rare condition in which the kidneys are damaged by urine flowing backwards into the kidney. A genetic form of this has recently been identified in Ragdolls, and research is underway at the University of Helsinki in Finland.

 


Infections                                                                                                              Back to Page Index


 

Pyelonephritis


Pyelonephritis is a bacterial infection of the kidneys. The cat may also have a lower urinary tract infection -  in some cases, untreated lower urinary tract infections rise into the kidneys - but not always. Cats with Polycystic Kidney Disease are particularly prone to pyelonephritis, since the bacteria can burrow into the cysts. Our PKD cat, Harpsie, used to get regular bouts of pyelonephritis.

 

 If your cat has a kidney infection and also has high bloodwork values, the bloodwork may improve once the infection is under control.

 

There is more information about pyelonephritis in the Diagnosis and Treatments sections.

 

Urinary tract infection (UTI): how to diagnose correctly and treat (2003) is a presentation by Dr C Brovida to the 28th World Congress of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, and includes information on pyelonephritis.

 

FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis)


Feline infectious peritonitis is a serious and often fatal condition that develops in some cats who catch the corona virus. FIP is notoriously difficult to diagnose, and testing positive for the corona virus does not inevitably mean that the cat will develop FIP.

 

FIP occurs in two forms, effusive (wet) and non-effusive (dry). Cats with the non-effusive form of FIP sometimes have enlarged kidneys and kidney problems. However, very few cats on Tanya's Feline CRF Support Group have FIP.

 

Dr Diane Addie is a lecturer in veterinary virology, and is an expert on FIP. Her site is available in a number of different languages.

An update on feline infectious peritonitis (2001) Horzinek MC & Lutz H Veterinary Sciences Tomorrow 1 is a rather technical article, but it has a very useful diagnostic tree.

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has a good overview.

Winn Feline Foundation has information about FIP.

Newman Veterinary has information on FIP.

 


Inflammation                                                                                                        Back to Page Index


 

Glomerulonephritis and Nephrotic Syndrome


The glomeruli are very fine blood vessels in the kidneys that act as filters of waste products to produce urine. If they are damaged, blood proteins, which would normally be recycled into the bloodstream, may leak out into the urine (proteinuria). In severe cases, the resulting low levels of protein in the blood may cause weight loss and a build-up of fluids under the skin (subcutaneous oedema). 

 

Glomerular disease is an immune-mediated disease, and is not as common as interstitial disease. It is actually relatively rare in cats, and is usually secondary to some other condition such as an infection, inflammatory disease or diabetes. Glomerulonephritis is often managed differently to CKD - using medications to suppress the immune system may help, and one study found that amino acids may help. ACE inhibitors may also be of use for this condition because they appear to reduce the proteinuria commonly see in patients with glomerulonephritis.

 

Nephrotic Syndrome


In the worst case, glomerulonephritis may result in something called nephrotic syndrome. Nephrotic syndrome is not a disease in itself, but rather a collection of symptoms that may be seen as a result of the glomerular problems. The primary symptoms of nephrotic syndrome include proteinuria, oedema and/or ascites, low albumin levels and high cholesterol levels. You may also see diarrhoea, reduced urine output, anaemia and occasionally saddle thrombus (a blood clot in the leg). However, since glomerulonephritis itself is relatively rare in cats, so is nephrotic syndrome.

 

Pet Place has a helpful overview of glomerulonephritis.

Dr Katherine James has information about both glomerulonephritis and nephrotic syndrome.

Mar Vista Vet has very helpful information, including information on how to treat glomerulonephritis.

VCA Animal Hospitals have information on glomerulonephritis.

Strategies for protein losing nephropathy (2001) is a presentation by Dr MS Wallace to the Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference in which she discusses glomerulonephritis and amyloidosis.

Immune-mediated elements of renal disease (2007) Sellon RK is a presentation to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress 2007.

Merck Veterinary Manual has interesting, albeit rather technical, information.

E Cure Me is a human site with information about nephrotic syndrome.

 

Dental Problems


It appears that dental problems may be linked to an increased risk of other health issues. Although the precise mechanism is not known, scientists believe that in humans there may be a link between the oral bacteria associated with poor dental hygiene and heart disease. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports on studies to date.

 

A similar link is thought to exist in cats. The American Animal Hospital Association states that "Dental disease doesn’t affect just the mouth. It can lead to more serious health problems including heart, lung and kidney disease."

 

This topic is covered in detail on the Dental Problems page.

 


Hypertension                                                                                                       Back to Page Index


For many years it was thought that hypertension in cats was the result of another condition, such as CKD or hyperthyroidism. Whilst it is true that hypertension is more common in cats with these conditions, it is gradually becoming clear that primary hypertension does exist in cats, and may in fact contribute to the development of CKD. There is more information on the Hypertension page.

 

Feline hypertension: risks and management (2005) is a presentation by Dr Clarke Atkins to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Thirtieth World Congress, in which he states "adding to the confusion in understanding the pathogenesis of hypertensive renal disease, renal disease begets hypertension and hypertension begets renal disease."

 


Renal Calculi (Stones) and Obstructions                                                     Back to Page Index


 

Renal calculi (kidney stones) may cause kidney problems. The stones may calcify, and cause damage that way, or they may lodge in the ureter, thus allowing waste products that would normally be excreted by the bladder to build up in the kidneys - this is called obstructive nephropathy. If a cat's kidney bloodwork suddenly becomes extremely high, a kidney stone blocking the ureter may be the cause. The diagnosis can usually be confirmed via ultrasound. The ultrasound may show one small kidney and one enlarged kidney (see renomegaly).

 

There is more information about kidney stones on the Kidney Stones page.

 


Cancer - Renal Lymphoma (Lymphosarcoma)                                           Back to Page Index


 

Lymphoma (lymphosarcoma) is a type of cancer in which white blood cells called lymphocytes become cancerous and produce tumours. Around 50% of cats with lymphoma also have feline leukaemia.

 

Lymphoma may be found in several parts of the body; if it occurs in the kidneys, it is called renal lymphoma. It is the most common type of renal cancer in cats.  As renal lymphoma progresses, it may cause kidney disease.

 

Some of the symptoms of renal lymphoma resemble those of CKD. For example, BUN may be elevated because of internal bleeding (which may eventually also cause anaemia). Renal lymphoma may cause the kidneys to become enlarged (see renomegaly) but this is not always visible on x-ray because it is a soft tissue type tumour, though it may  show on ultrasound.

 

Renal lymphoma can often be treated with steroids and occasionally chemotherapy, and in many cases it has a good prognosis. Cats tend to cope far better with chemotherapy than humans do, so I would consider this treatment if you are offered it.

 

Renal diseases in cats (2002) is a presentation by JP Pagès to the 27th World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress. Section 2.5 discusses renal cancer.

The Veterinary Society of Surgical Oncology has an overview of the most common types of renal tumour.

The Feline Cancer Resources Website has information and many links.

There are more links about feline cancer, including lymphoma, on the Other Illnesses page.

 


Toxins: Lilies and Antifreeze                                                                           Back to Page Index


 

Common nephrotoxins include lilies and antifreeze, which cats may lick or eat accidentally (the taste of antifreeze is unfortunately very attractive to cats). In most cases these cause Acute Kidney Injury, but in some cases, if the cat recovers, there may be residual kidney damage resulting in CKD.

 


Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)                                       Back to Page Index


 

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are very effective at controlling pain and inflammation in cats, but unfortunately cats cannot metabolise them very well. Meloxicam is an NSAID available in both injectible and liquid (oral) form. Although it is approved in the UK for the ongoing treatment of arthritis in cats (and I myself used it successfully for my PKD but not CKD cat who had severe arthritis), there are concerns that it may cause kidney problems in some cats, particularly when used at higher doses, as tends to happen in the USA where cat-sized formulations are not available.

 

You can read more about meloxicam and other NSAIDs in the Treatments section, which includes a protocol for what to do if your cat experiences an adverse reaction.

 


Auto-Immune Diseases                                                                                    Back to Page Index


 

Amyloidosis


Amyloid is a type of protein found in the body. In amyloidosis, amyloid is deposited in organs and tissues where it does not belong, so it adversely affects them. In cats, the deposits are often found in the kidneys, and they eventually lead to CKD. Amyloidosis is not particularly common, but it may be found in Abyssinian cats in particular, and sometimes in Siamese and Oriental cats. Cats with amyloidosis often have proteinuria.

 

Strategies for protein losing nephropathy (2001) is a presentation by Dr MS Wallace to the Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference in which she discusses glomerulonephritis and amyloidosis.

 


Perinephric or Perirenal Pseudocysts                                                             Back to Page Index


 

Perinephric or perirenal pseudocysts are large fluid-filled sacs that form around one or both of a cat's kidneys. They appear to be more common in male cats, and the cat may appear healthy apart from having an abdomen that is increasing in size but not usually tender to the touch. Upon examination, which is usually performed via ultrasound, the kidneys are usually enlarged.

 

The cysts may be treated by draining the fluid, but this is often only a temporary measure. Removing the wall of the cyst may be more effective, but in more severe cases it may be necessary to remove a kidney. However, this is a last resort because it may lead to CKD, since many cats with these cysts tend to have compromised kidneys (they are often already in early stage CKD) and/or urinary tract infections. However, the first link below does state that the prognosis is usually good if accompanying CKD is not severe and no other diseases are present.

 

Pet MD explains more about this problem.

Pet Place has some information about pseudocysts.

Perinephric pseudocysts in the cat: a retrospective study and review of the literature (1999) Ochoa VB, DiBartola SP, Chew DJ, Westropp J, Carothers M, Biller D Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 13(1) pp47-55 reports on thirteen such cases.

Clinical exposures: a perinephric pseudocyst in a cat (2005) Morrow BL Veterinary Medicine reports on a cat with this problem and provides a good overview of these cysts and treatment options.

Berkshire Vet tells how cysts were successfully removed from a young cat called Daisee.

 


Suspected Causes (Not Proven)                                                                         Back to Page Index


 

These are just that - areas where people have their suspicions, but there is no real evidence that these are causes of CKD, although the evidence for some is stronger than for others. Further research is needed, and in some cases is ongoing.

 

A Vaccination Connection?


A study at Colorado State University, Parenteral administration of FVRCP vaccines induces antibodies against feline renal tissues (2002) Lappin MR, Jensen WA, Chandrashekar R & Kinney SD Presentation to the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum, Dallas, indicates a tentative connection between feline vaccinations and CKD.

 

The connection arises because feline vaccines are grown on kidney cells known as Crandell Reese Feline Kidney (CRFK) cells. It has long been known that growing the vaccines in this way produces some unidentified antibodies in addition to those required for the vaccine, but it has only recently been discovered that the unidentified antibodies were to renal tissue. These additional antibodies occur in all modified live or killed vaccines, but do not occur with intranasal vaccines. In the UK, live vaccines are usually used.

 

In a further study, Investigation of the induction of antibodies against Crandell-Rees feline kidney cell lysates and feline renal cell lysates after parenteral administration of vaccines against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia in cats (2005) Lappin MR, Jensen WA, Jensen TD, Basaraba RJ, Brown CA, Radecki SV, Hawley JR American Journal of Veterinary Research 66(3) pp506-511 it was concluded that "hypersensitization with CRFK cell proteins did not result in renal disease in cats during the 56-week study".

 

A later study, Interstitial nephritis in cats inoculated with Crandell Rees feline kidney cell lysates (2006) Lappin MR, Basaraba RJ, Jensen WA Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 8(5) pp353-6, found that 50% of the cats in the study who were given normal vaccines developed interstitial nephritis according to biopsies. However, these cats were vaccinated 12 times in 50 weeks, which is obviously far more often than is normal (the current US guidelines are for cats to be vaccinated only once every three years). One group of cats in the study were given intranasal vaccines, and they did not develop any signs of interstitial nephritis.

 

Antibodies against Crandell Rees Feline Kidney (CRFK) cell line antigens, a-Enolase and Annexin A2 in vaccinated and CRFK hyperinoculated cats (2010) Whittemore J, Hawley J, Jensen W & Lappin M Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 24 pp306–313 was able to identify a number of CRFK antigens in cats vaccinated with four commercially available FVRCP (standard vaccinations) vaccines. Further research is required to determine the clinical relevance of the findings.

 

Feline vaccine side effects (2012) is a presentation by Dr Lappin to the 84th Western Veterinary Conference, in which he states that in his research cats who developed antibodies did not go on to develop CKD. He recommends that core vaccines should continue to be given to healthy cats in accordance with the American Association of Feline Practitioners vaccination guidelines. 

 

Regardless of these findings, I would not recommend giving any vaccines to a cat who already has CKD: vaccines are intended for healthy cats and a CKD cat is not healthy. Once Thomas had been diagnosed, our vet felt it was not wise to give him his usual vaccinations, and we agreed with her. For healthy cats, intranasal vaccines appear to be safer. Please see the Treatments page for more information on the use of vaccines in cats, and discuss what is appropriate for your own cat with your vet.

 

Colorado State University has a report on Dr Lappin's research.

Heska has information about intranasal vaccines.

 

Potassium Depletion


In Chronic renal failure in cats Dr D Chew mentions that low potassium levels (hypokalaemia) "can both initiate and perpetuate chronic renal damage." One study, Chronic renal disease and potassium depletion in cats (1992) (no abstract provided) Dow SW & Fettman MJ Seminars in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery (Small Animal) 7 (3) pp198-201, suggested that all cats with CKD should be supplemented with potassium, even if they do not appear to have low potassium levels. Some people go further and believe that all older cats should be supplemented with potassium, whether they have CKD or not. 

 

Whilst it is true that potassium blood tests may not accurately reflect potassium levels at the cellular level, where the potassium is needed (see Diagnosis for more on this), this does not automatically mean that every cat would benefit from potassium supplementation. A more recent study, Muscle potassium content and potassium gluconate supplementation in normokalemic cats with naturally occurring chronic renal failure (1997) Theisen SK, DiBartola SP, Radin MJ, Chew DJ, Buffington CA, Dow SW Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 11(4) pp212-217, found that CKD cats with normal potassium levels who were given potassium supplementation did no better than CKD cats who received a placebo.

 

Feeding potassium-restricted acidified diets (see below) to cats with normal renal function reduces gastro-intestinal absorption of potassium and may therefore lead to potassium depletion. I therefore would not recommend feeding such diets to older cats; and these diets should not be fed to CKD cats anyway (see Nutritional Requirements).

 

I would be wary about giving potassium to any cat with a serum potassium level over 4.4 - high potassium levels may develop quickly, particularly as the CKD progresses, and are potentially very dangerous (see Diagnosis).

 

Dietary Concerns


Dry Food Diet


It is thought that feeding an exclusively dry food diet may cause chronic dehydration, which in turn may contribute to the development of CKD. This is not proven, but it is true that cats may benefit from more water in their diet, particularly CKD cats, as do cats with FLUTD. The Nutritional Requirements page has more information on dry food versus wet.

 

Acidified Diets


Many commercial diets over the last ten years have been re-formulated to promote "urinary tract health", or words along those lines. Essentially, these diets are acidified, so as to reduce the risk of cats developing feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). Cats with FLUTD tend to have urine that is too alkaline, and are therefore at risk of developing struvite crystals, which develop in an alkaline environment. Feeding an acidified diet reduces this risk.

 

Unfortunately, feeding these diets to cats who are not at risk of FLUTD may lead to urine that is too acidic. It is speculated that acidified diets may be a factor in the increase in renal calculi (kidney stones) i.e. calcium oxalate stones, which develop in an overly acidic environment, and which in turn are a risk factor for developing CKD. These stones, unlike struvite, cannot be dissolved by diet - they can only be removed by surgery.

 

Acidified diets may also contribute to low potassium levels.

 

Free Feeding


A 2002 study, Diet and lifestyle variables as risk factors for chronic renal failure in pet cats (2002) Hughes KL, Slater MR, Geller S, Burkholder WJ, Fitzgerald C Preventive Veterinary Medicine 55(1) pp1-15, compared cats in three groups:

  • free feeding with fibre;

  • free feeding with Factor-2 (a composite variable composed of fiber, magnesium, protein, sodium and ash);

  • and fibre alone.

The researchers concluded that free feeding was associated with increased odds of developing CKD. However, they did not simply free feed the cats; they also gave them additives. It is therefore not known whether free feeding alone would give similar results.

 

I myself have always free fed, and will continue to do so. In the wild, cats naturally feed multiple times a day. See Nutritional Requirements for more information on this topic.

 

Hunting


One study, Case control study of risk factors associated with feline and canine chronic kidney disease (2010) Bartlett PC, Van Buren JW, Bartlett AD & Zhou C Veterinary Medicine International Vol 2010, Article ID 957570, states that "There was a nonsignificant finding that the percent of diet from hunting might be positively associated with CKD, and further investigation may be warranted. This question was asked because infectious or toxicologic agents associated with hunting, such as hantavirus in rodents, may contribute to renal destruction as a hidden cause of CKD."

 

New Flooring


Some people on Tanya's CKD Support Group believe that new carpets and floors contain potential toxins for cats - several people have noted that their cats developed CKD shortly after new flooring was laid.

 

Carpets and other floor coverings may contain various volatile organic compounds, particularly in the backing. The Carpet and Rug Institute in the USA recommends ventilating the area where new carpet is installed for 48 - 72 hours.

 

Cats appear to be particularly sensitive to smells; essential oils, for example, are toxic to cats, who lack the metabolic pathways to process them. I therefore would recommend keeping cats away from new carpets and floors for several days after installation, if possible.

 

Back to Page Index

This page last updated: 24 June 2012

 

Links on this page last checked: 26 March 2012

   

*****

 

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 2000-2012. 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. When I get time, I'll try to improve how it displays in other browsers.

 

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, 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.

 

 

The group is hosted on yahoo!groups, part of yahoo. It has its own address separate from Tanya's website. You can either click here or copy and paste this link into your browser:

 

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/tanyas-ckd-support/

 

If you are already familiar with yahoo!groups, just click on the link and apply to join (and don't forget to complete the short questionnaire you'll be sent), but if you'd like to know more about how the group works, read on.

 

I own and run the group, but I am ably assisted by two moderators, Anne V and Anne A. They help with membership queries, approve messages, and do lots of boring admin stuff behind the scenes to help the group run smoothly for the members.

 

The group has various sections, including a photos section and a realtime chat function but for most people the most important part of the group is its message section. Basically, a member who wants support, vet recommendations, or to hear how others are coping with a particular problem, sends a message to the rest of the group. Other members then respond if they can. All messages sent to the group are stored in a message archive which members can search if they wish.

 

The group is private, i.e. messages sent to it are only visible to members, so people are not posting to the internet at large. The names of group members are also private, so nobody will know you are a member unless you choose to send messages to the group.

 


Joining the Group                                                                                                                        Back to Page Index


 

There are two ways to join the group, via the group's website or via e-mail:

 

How to Join the Group via E-mail


Just send an e-mail to

tanyas-ckd-support-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

You should then receive an e-mail in response asking you to confirm that you definitely want to join the group. Just click Reply and send.

 

If you join the group via e-mail, you will be able to send and receive e-mails to the group, but you will not be able to access the group website and read the message archives or look at the photos. If you wish to do that, you will need to set up a yahoo! ID by visiting the group website.

 

How to Join the Group via the Web


You can visit the group's homepage and follow the instructions. If you do this, yahoo!groups will help you set up your yahoo! ID, which gives you access to the group message archive etc. A yahoo! ID is not the same thing as an e-mail address.

 

Here are the steps to follow. Don't worry, this all sounds far worse than it is! You should find that in practice it all works more smoothly than it sounds when you're trying to explain it in writing:

 

Existing yahoo! ID

  1. Go to the group website: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/tanyas-ckd-support/

  2. Click on the Join this Group button and you'll be taken to a Sign In to Yahoo! page.

  3. Sign in and link Tanya's Support Group to your existing account.

  4. Choose the e-mail address you wish to use for the group (see below).

  5. There is a little box for you to tell me why you would like to join the group. You don't need to be inventive or fancy, it's not a competition, it's just an extra check by yahoo!groups to keep spammers out.

  6. Choose your message delivery options (see below).

  7. Scroll down and click on the blue Join button at the bottom right of the page.

New yahoo! ID

  1. Go to the group website: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/tanyas-ckd-support/

  2. Click on the Join this Group button and you'll be taken to a Sign In to Yahoo! page.

  3. Scroll down a little and click on the Create New Account button.

  4. On the next page you can create your new account. Some people are somewhat inventive in their responses, but in such cases it is important to remember what responses have been given in case the information is needed later to access the account. I can't see any of this stuff, it's entirely private between you and yahoo!groups, so I cannot help in case of later queries. 

  5. Once the account is successfully set up, you'll be taken to a Congratulations! page.

  6. Before you click on the Continue button on the Congratulations! page, untick the box that makes yahoo! your homepage (unless that is what you want).

  7. Also click on the Edit Marketing Preferences link below the Continue button. This takes you to another page where they helpfully opt you in to everything, so go through and set it as you wish.

  8. Then on the same separate page click on Account Info at the top of the page. You will be asked for your password again and taken to the Account Info page. Click on Profile and opt out of the various choices as you wish. The key thing is, you do have choices here, you can make things as public or private as you wish.

  9. Now click on the Continue button on the original page. You will be taken back to the group page to choose your membership settings.

  10. Choose the e-mail address you wish to use for the group (see below).

  11. There is a little box for you to tell me why you would like to join the group. You don't need to be inventive or fancy, it's not a competition, it's just an extra check by yahoo!groups to keep spammers out.

  12. Choose your message delivery options (see below).

  13. Scroll down and click on the blue Join button at the bottom right of the page.


Membership Settings                                                                                          Back to Page Index


 

There are various choices you need to make regarding your membership of the group. The most important are which e-mail address to use, and which way you read messages sent to the group by group members.

 

Membership Settings: Your E-mail Address


You need to decide which e-mail address you wish to use for the group. If you have created a yahoo! ID, yahoo!groups will normally have also set up a free yahoo! e-mail account for you based on your new yahoo ID. You can use this e-mail address to access the group if you wish, but it's not essential, you can use any e-mail address you wish. Since yahoo! is now scanning messages for advertising purposes (similar to gmail), I would recommend not using yahoo! e-mail if possible (though it would probably be better than using your work address for private stuff).

 

If you do not want to use your free yahoo! e-mail address, click on Add e-mail address to add a different one. Be aware, if you don't add a new address here, yahoo! will use the yahoo! e-mail address as a default address. So if you don't receive the membership questionnaire, it may well be because it's gone to your new yahoo! e-mail address.

 

If you ever wish to change the e-mail address you are using for the group, you can do that here:

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/tanyas-ckd-support/join

 

Membership Settings: Message Delivery


This sets up how you will access messages that are sent to the group.

 

This is a pretty active group. If you're looking after your CKD cat, you want support but you probably don't want a full inbox all the time. To help you manage this issue, you have three options for messages, and you can switch between them all as you wish:

  1. Individual E-mails

  2. Daily Digest

  3. Web Only (No e-mail)

Individual E-mails


This is the default setting. If you apply to join the group via e-mail, you will end up with this setting. If you apply to join the group via the group's webpage, if you don't choose one of the other settings, this is the one you will end up with.

 

This setting means that as soon as somebody sends a message to the group, it is sent directly to your inbox. It's a good choice if you might want to know immediately if somebody has responded to you, or if you would like to store some of the group messages for your reference. It's also good for being able to quickly delete messages which don't interest you.

 

The downside is that this is a busy group, averaging 50-100 group messages each day, so your inbox can quickly get full. One solution is to create a folder to use for group messages. All messages sent to the group have a tag in the subject line [tanya-crf] so you can filter all messages from the group to a new folder using this tag if you wish.

 

With both individual e-mail and message digest options, you can also choose the format of messages sent to you (Display Format), either Fully Featured (html, pretty colours etc.) or Traditional (plain text).

 

Message Digest


This means that you receive e-mails from the group, but yahoo!groups waits until there are about 25 messages available and sends them to you all in one go. With this option, you would therefore only receive 2-4 e-mails a day from the group, but it means you have to wait for responses (though you can still check on the group website for messages) and it can be more difficult to find what you are looking for within each digest.

 

With both individual e-mail and message digest options, you can also choose the format of messages sent to you (Display Format), either Fully Featured (html, pretty colours etc.) or Traditional (plain text).

 

Web Only (No Mail)


This means that you receive no messages at all from the group. This is a wise choice if you are using a work e-mail address, or if you cannot cope with the group's message volume. With this system you simply go to the group's website and read the messages that interest you there. Even if this is not your usual choice, it can be helpful to use this option if you are going on holiday.

 

So make your choices, then click the Join button at the bottom right of the page.

 


Important: Membership Questionnaire                                                           Back to Page Index


OK, so you've successfully applied to join the group. However, there is one more thing you need to do in order to join. I want to protect the group members from spammers, so whichever way you apply to join the group, you will receive a short questionnaire asking:

  1. Your first name

  2. The country where you live

  3. Your CKD cat's name and age

You need to respond to this before your membership will be approved.

 

Please don't worry about saying "the right thing." This is not a test to see if you are "good enough" for the group, everybody is welcome here, whoever they are or wherever they come from, as long as they want to help their cat. This questionnaire is basically just to reassure us that you are a real person applying to join rather than somebody trying to sell stuff and spam the group, but it also enables us to tailor our responses to your group messages e.g. if we moderators know where you live, we will not suggest treatments not available there.

 

Please note, only the two Annes and I can see your responses to these questions. The group will not know anything about you unless you choose to introduce yourself.

 

Once you respond to the questionnaire, your membership application should be approved very quickly (most people are approved within two hours or less).

 

Occasionally the questionnaire goes missing. You think we haven't sent it, and we think you haven't responded! If we haven't heard from you five days after you apply to join, we will send you a reminder. Unfortunately, we can only use the address you've used to sign up for the group, so if you've accidentally used your new yahoo e-mail address without realising it (see above), you won't see either the questionnaire or our reminder. If you don't hear from us, please simply write to us at tanyas-ckd-support-owner@yahoogroups.com and let us know. Please respond to the three questions in your response and we will either approve you (if your membership is pending) or send you a personal invitation to join the group (if your membership application has disappeared into a black hole).

 


Messages                                                                                                                                          Back to Page Index


 

Message Options: Sending Messages


You don't have to post, you can just lurk if you prefer.

 

If you wish to change the name that appears on messages you send to the group, Yahoo! explains how you can do that.

 

Starting a Thread


  1. You can simply send an e-mail to ask your question by sending it to tanyas-ckd-support@yahoogroups.com.

  2. You can go to the group website, click on Post Message in the sidebar on the left, and then write your message there.

Replying to an Existing Message


Messages sent in response to another message on the group also go directly to the group, not to the individual to whom you are replying. Therefore if you wish to respond to a message somebody else has sent, you can simply click reply on your e-mail programme. If you reply via the group website, you can click on the message in the group archives, then click reply which is top left above the message.

 

If you're changing the subject, or replying to a Digest (which have the subject line of Digest No. xxx), please change the subject line appropriately to something more meaningful. And please remove everything except that to which you are replying.

 

If you wish to reply privately to somebody, you will need to press reply, then delete the group e-mail address and paste their personal e-mail address into the To: line if you are using e-mail. If you are replying via the group website, you will see a little envelope over on the right under the person's name. If you click on that, your message will go to that person.

 

Message Content


You are welcome to discuss anything relating to care of your CKD cat. We do have a few guidelines we ask people to follow though:

  1. Please do not refer to vets or vet clinics by name for legal reasons. Just say "my vet" or "Dr J".

  2. Please do not ask for money or other donations.

  3. Since this is a very busy group, we ask that condolences are sent privately to the bereaved group member. Certain other messages should also be sent privately e.g. short "me too" messages, off topic posts etc.

  4. Please trim your posts.

Moderation of Messages


When you first join the group, your messages will be moderated for a short while. This means that they will not reach the group immediately, but will first be read and approved by one of the moderators. We do this to ensure that:

  1. you are not a spammer;

  2. you are keeping to other group guidelines (e.g. not naming your vet publicly);

  3. you are trimming your messages appropriately.

If you comply with the group guidelines sent to you when you join the group, you will be taken off moderation quickly. The main reason people stay on moderation is because they do not trim their posts. So please read up on this in the group guidelines. If you get stuck, just ask for help.

 


Leaving the Group                                                                                                Back to Page Index


 

Some people decide to leave the group. Their cat may have died, or they may find the message volume is too much, or they simply decide it's not the place for them. Leaving is fine, but if you're thinking of leaving simply because you cannot cope with message volume, please consider changing your message options first, such as by going no mail. This means your inbox will not be full, but you can still reach out for support quickly when you need it.

 

If you are leaving because your cat has died, please consider joining our sister group, Tanya's Feline Loss Support:

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/tanyas-feline-loss/

 


Conclusion                                                                                                            Back to Page Index


I do hope you've decided to join Tanya's CKD Support Group! It can give you support, it can give you hope. It can make you smile too - where else would people share your thrill at hearing that your constipated cat has pooped? (Believe me, when you've been dealing with CKD for a while, things like this are real triumphs which can absolutely make your day).

 

I personally read every message sent to the group. I don't respond to every post (my priority is running this website) but I do keep an eye on things and post occasionally if I can add to what has already been said.

 


Group Quick Links                                                                                               Back to Page Index


Some of these only work if you are already a member of the group.

 

Weblinks


Group homepage:                                                 http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/tanyas-ckd-support/

Managing your membership options:                  http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/tanyas-ckd-support/join

Messages archive                                                 http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/tanyas-ckd-support/messages

 

E-mail Addresses


Sending a message to the group via e-mail:        tanyas-ckd-support@yahoogroups.com

Group owner e-mail address:                                 tanyas-ckd-support-owner@yahoogroups.com

Joining the group via e-mail:                                   tanyas-ckd-support-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Leaving the group via e-mail:                                  tanyas-ckd-support-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com