TANYA'S

COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO

FELINE CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE

 

 

 

DIAGNOSIS: BLOOD CHEMISTRY PANEL

 

ON THIS PAGE:


Kidney Values (BUN/urea, Creatinine, Azotaemia, Uraemia)


Potassium and Sodium


Magnesium


Total Protein (Albumin and Globulin)


Other (CK/CPK, Cholesterol, Glucose, ALT or GPT, Amylase)


 

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SYMPTOMS


Alphabetical List of Symptoms and Treatments


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


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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


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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)


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Phosphorus, Calcium and Secondary Hyperparathyroidism (Calcitriol)


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


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ESAs (Aranesp, Epogen etc.) for Severe Anaemia


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Working with Your Vet and Recordkeeping


 

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Nutritional Requirements of CKD Cats


The B Vitamins (Including Methylcobalamin)


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Home > Diagnosis > Blood Chemistry Panel

 


Overview


  • The blood chemistry series of bloodtests measures various parameters in the blood.

  • Imbalances in these readings may have a number of symptoms and may be caused by a number of diseases.

  • This page focuses on kidney parameters (BUN or urea and creatinine), potassium and sodium, magnesium, proteins in the blood (albumin and globulin) and other readings that are often out of range in CKD cats (cholesterol, ALT, amylase, glucose and CK).


Measures of Kidney Function                                                                        Back to Page Index


Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) or Urea


Blood urea nitrogen is commonly known as BUN in the USA, and, together with creatinine, it is one of the two main measures of kidney function. In the UK, BUN is not normally tested, instead you will see urea listed on your cat's bloodwork. 

 

Blood urea nitrogen is a measurement of the levels of nitrogen in the blood that come from urea. During the breakdown of dietary protein in the digestive process, ammonia is absorbed in the gut. The liver then makes a substance called urea from the ammonia. The urea is carried in the blood, in the form of urea nitrogen, to the kidneys, which filter it out of the blood and excrete it via urination.

 

BUN rises in CKD because the kidneys are no longer able to excrete it efficiently; but it can also rise for other reasons, such as dehydration, urethral obstruction (a blockage which prevents a cat from urinating, more common in male cats) or gastro-intestinal bleeding. It is also affected by both diet (since it is a by-product of the breakdown of protein) and stress. 

 

If BUN and creatinine rise suddenly, your cat may have developed acute kidney disease on top of CKD. This is known as AoCRF (I expect the name will be changed to AoCKD in due course) and usually has a particular cause, so you should consider the possibility that your cat has a kidney infection or hypertension. Kidney stones which cause blockages may also cause a sudden and high rise in both BUN and creatinine.

 

Cats with a particular form of diabetes called ketoacidosis may also have elevated BUN or urea and creatinine levels, particularly if potassium and phosphorus levels are normal.

 

Therefore BUN or urea are not an entirely accurate indicator of kidney function, and you should not assume that your cat has CKD based on the BUN or urea measurement alone. BUN is not toxic in itself, but it is used as a marker i.e. if BUN is high, then certain toxins which cannot be easily measured will also be high. Although BUN is not a toxin, it is important to try to control high levels because they can cause lack of appetite, nausea and vomiting. 

 

If BUN or urea levels are high yet creatinine is normal or only a little elevated, it usually means that the cat is dehydrated, has gastro-intestinal bleeding, or is eating a high protein  diet. Effects of dietary protein content on renal parameters in normal cats (2011) Backlund B, Zoran DL, Nabity MB, Norby B & Bauer JE Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 13(10) pp698-704 found that BUN levels were significantly higher in healthy cats fed a high protein (46%) diet compared to a low protein (26%) diet, though (since these were healthy cats) they were still within normal range.

 

BUN is not normally low in CKD cats, but may be below normal in cats with liver disease or those who are suffering from starvation. Harpsie once had low BUN levels when he was very sick with an infection (possibly in his liver, though I suspect it was actually a kidney infection) and had not eaten much whilst on IV at the vet's, resulting in rapid weight loss.

 

Many vets who run tests in-house in the USA cannot measure BUN levels over 130, so you may see a reading of >130. If possible, it is better to know the exact level, but don't worry if this is not available. With luck, it is going to come down below 130 anyway following treatment.

 

Approximate normal levels (precise ranges vary from laboratory to laboratory) for cats are in this table.

 

Creatinine


Creatinine is another waste product excreted through the kidneys. It is generally considered to be a more accurate measurement of underlying kidney function than BUN or urea because it is less affected by diet, stress and dehydration.

 

Although creatinine is an accurate measure of kidney function, the cat's size is a factor. Creatinine is a by-product of muscle. Therefore small, dainty cats would be expected to have lower levels of creatinine than large, muscular cats. Effects of dietary protein content on renal parameters in normal cats (2011) Backlund B, Zoran DL, Nabity MB, Norby B & Bauer JE Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 13(10) pp698-704 found that the cats in this study were muscular, and that if only one creatinine reading had been taken, many of these cats would probably have been deemed to be in IRIS stage 2, even though their USG indicated that they were not in CKD.

 

In CKD cats, both BUN or urea and creatinine will be elevated to some degree depending upon the severity of the disease; but if BUN or urea levels are high yet creatinine is only a little elevated, it usually means that the cat is dehydrated, has gastro-intestinal bleeding, or is eating a high protein diet. Cats eating a raw or homemade diet tend to have higher creatinine levels.

 

Creatinine is not a linear measurement. This means that an increase in creatinine from, say, US 2 mg/dl to 3 mg/dl, indicates more loss of function than an increase from US 5 mg/dl to 6 mg/dl. Thus, whilst your cat might have a relatively high creatinine of, say US 5 mg/dl, if it increases to US 6 mg/dl, then whilst you are right to be concerned, it does not automatically indicate a massive worsening of your cat's condition.

 

See below for information about low creatinine levels in end stage CKD.

 

Other Reasons for Raised Creatinine


Cats with a particular form of diabetes called ketoacidosis may have elevated BUN and creatinine levels, particularly if potassium and phosphorus are normal. 

 

Cats with pancreatitis also sometimes have elevated creatinine levels. If your cat has relatively low creatinine (in the 2s US or 175 international) yet seems lethargic and far more ill than that mild level of kidney failure would suggest, I would consider pancreatitis.

 

Because creatinine is a by-product of muscle, large, muscular male cats may naturally have high normal levels of creatinine.

 

An unexpected high prevalence of azotaemia in Birman cats (2002) Gunn-Moore DA, Dodkin SJ & Sparkes AH Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 4 pp165-6 (letter) mentions that up to 80% of Birman kittens under six months of age seem to have high levels of creatinine and BUN. As adults, this incidence reduces, but is still high, at 35%. However, these cats do not appear to develop fullblown CKD at a young age as one might expect. Monitoring them regularly would nevertheless be wise.

 

The effects of cimetidine on renal function in patients with renal failure (1980) Larsson R, Bodemar G, Kagedal B, Walan A, Acta medica Scandinavica 208 (1-2) pp27-31 explains that cimetidine (Tagemet), which is sometimes used to treat stomach acid in CKD cats though it is not the best drug for that purpose, may cause an increase in creatinine. If your cat's creatinine levels rise while using Tagamet, you may find they improve once you stop the medication.

 

If creatinine and BUN rise suddenly, you should consider the possibility that your cat has a kidney infection or hypertension. Kidney stones which cause blockages may also result in a sudden and high rise in creatinine and BUN.

Approximate normal levels (precise ranges vary from laboratory to laboratory) for cats are in this table

Reasons for Low Creatinine (Especially if BUN and Phosphorus are High)


Since creatinine is a by-product of muscle, cats who lose a lot of weight/muscle may have reduced creatinine levels, because they cannot produce as much creatinine. University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine explains more about changes in creatinine (scroll down to Variations in Creatinine Concentration). The Merck Veterinary Manual states "Serum creatinine levels can be falsely lowered in patients with severe muscle wasting."

 

Cats with hyperthyroidism may have low creatinine levels, because they tend to lose a lot of muscle, plus hyperthyroidism masks true kidney function, making BUN and creatinine look lower than they truly are.

 

If BUN (urea) levels and phosphorus levels are high yet creatinine is normal or only a little elevated, it can mean that there is a pre-renal factor at work, for example:

BUN:creatinine ratio


If your cat is eating a low protein prescription diet, this ratio is likely to be in the region of 10:1 or 12:1 (e.g. if creatinine is US 4, BUN is likely to be around 40-48).

 

Since BUN is affected by dietary intake, if your cat is eating a higher protein diet, this ratio will be higher, with 18:1 or 20:1 not unusual (e.g. if creatinine is US 4, BUN will be around 80-96).

 

Severe metabolic acidosis, which affects protein metabolism, may contribute to a high BUN:creatinine ratio. Dehydration also affects this ratio.

 

Gastrointestinal bleeding may also cause an increase in the BUN:creatinine ratio (since blood is a form of protein), which needs to be treated if present, since it may cause or worsen anaemia.

 

Azotaemia


Azotaemia is another way of saying that there is increased nitrogenous waste in the bloodstream, i.e. BUN/urea and creatinine levels are elevated. Azotaemia is divided into three categories (bear in mind that blood flows to the kidneys where it is filtered):

  • pre-renal azotaemia ("before" the kidney):

    this means that the azotaemia does not involve the kidney and is caused by some other problem before the blood reaches the kidneys, such as infection, fever, a high protein diet, heart problems or dehydration.

  • intrinsic renal azotaemia ("at" the kidney):

    this means the azotaemia is caused at the kidney itself, i.e. CKD or acute kidney injury.

  • post-renal azotaemia ("after" the kidney): 

    this means the increased BUN/urea and creatinine are elevated because of a problem "after" the kidney, i.e. lower down the urinary tract, after the blood has already flowed through the kidneys. A common cause is if a male cat is blocked because of struvite crystals in the bladder, as happened to one of our other cats, Harpsie. The urine cannot flow past the crystals so the cat cannot urinate, and as a result the toxin levels back up in his system and rise in the blood. This is a life-threatening emergency, a cat with this problem needs immediate medical help. Mar Vista Vet has more information on urinary tract blockages.

In order to distinguish between pre-renal and renal azotaemia, urine specific gravity (USG) needs to be assessed – if USG is above 1.035, then the azotaemia is likely to be pre-renal, if lower than that, it is likely to be renal.

 

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has information about the different types of azotaemia.

Azotaemia and urine specific gravity (2008) is a presentation by Dr JE Maddison to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress.

 

Uraemia


Uraemia means that a cat has azotaemia (increased BUN and creatinine levels), but also has the associated problems commonly seen in CKD patients such as vomiting, increased urination, anaemia etc.

 

You may see reference to uraemic toxins: these are the toxins which the cat's damaged kidneys are unable to filter properly, so they cause many of the symptoms of CKD. One such toxin is parathyroid hormone. Contrary to popular opinion, BUN and creatinine are not toxins themselves. However, BUN levels correlate with uraemic toxin levels, i.e. if BUN is elevated, it is highly likely that uraemic toxins are also elevated.

 


Potassium and Sodium                                                                                   Back to Page Index


 

Potassium and sodium are electrolytes (salts), which are essential to the functioning of the body. The increased urination that occurs with CKD may cause imbalances in these electrolytes. Medicine Net explains more about electrolytes.

 

Potassium


 

Potassium is used at cellular level, in particular to help muscles function properly. If there is an imbalance, weakness, twitching and seizures may be seen.

 

Since potassium imbalances are so common in CKD cats, there is a dedicated page all about it. Approximate normal levels (precise ranges vary from laboratory to laboratory) for cats are in this table.

 

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has an overview of potassium.

 

Low Potassium Levels (Hypokalaemia)


 

The increase in urination and vomiting caused by CKD may lead to low levels of potassium, which can have various effects, such as back leg weakness or constipation. Low levels of potassium are known as hypokalaemia.

 

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has some information on hypokalaemia. 

 

High Potassium Levels (Hyperkalaemia)


It is important to understand that not all CKD cats need potassium supplements. Some cats never have low potassium levels, particularly if their CKD is relatively advanced (creatinine over 5). Thomas's creatinine was not that high, yet he never needed potassium, and the same study as mentioned above (Lulich et al., 1992) found that around 13% of CKD cats actually have the opposite problem of hyperkalaemia (high potassium levels). Therefore you should not supplement potassium without a bloodtest and your vet's approval.

 

If your cat has high potassium levels, (over 6), this is potentially very dangerous, and may cause seizures and even a heart attack.

 

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has some information on hyperkalaemia. 

 

Sodium


 

Sodium is excreted by the kidneys, but levels may rise (hypernatraemia) in CKD cats because the kidneys are no longer working as efficiently and cannot adapt to changes in sodium levels as quickly. Vomiting or diarrhoea may also be factors.

 

In Preparing cats for radioactive iodine treatment (2005), Presentation to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress, Dr T Shermerhorn mentions that elevated sodium levels may also be seen in cats with hyperthyroidism.

 

There is some debate as to whether elevated sodium levels can worsen hypertension (high blood pressure). Approximate normal levels (precise ranges vary from laboratory to laboratory) for cats are in this table.

 

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has some information on hypernatraemia.

Pet MD also discusses high sodium levels.

 


Magnesium                                                                                                           Back to Page Index


 

Magnesium is a mineral but I am including it here because there may be correlations between potassium levels and magnesium levels. Magnesium imbalances are not unknown in CKD cats, but for some reason, it is only rarely measured during routine blood tests.

 

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has an overview of magnesium.

 

High Magnesium


In CKD cats, magnesium levels tend if anything to be high, because the damaged kidneys cannot excrete it properly. Therefore CKD cats do not normally need a magnesium supplement. This is one reason why using phosphorus binders containing magnesium is also not recommended.

 

Pet MD has some information about high magnesium levels.

 

Low Magnesium


Occasionally, however, a CKD cat will have low magnesium levels. Usually such a cat will also have low potassium levels. Cats with hyperthyroidism tend to have low magnesium levels, so if your cat has both hyperthyroidism and low potassium levels, you may wish to have magnesium levels checked. 

 

If your cat has both low potassium and low magnesium levels, initially you should ask your vet about starting a potassium supplement. You may well find that both potassium and magnesium return to normal once the potassium supplement is begun. If, however, your cat has low potassium levels which do not rise despite the use of a potassium supplement, it is possible that the low magnesium also needs to be treated. In such cases, you are unlikely to be able to raise the potassium to an acceptable level until you have also treated the low magnesium. Your vet should also consider the possibility of hyperaldosteronism if your cat has persistently low levels of magnesium and potassium, especially if hypertension is also present. 

 

Medscape discusses low magnesium levels.

Newman Veterinary explains more about low magnesium levels.

 

Evaluation of ionized and total serum magnesium concentrations in hyperthyroid cats (2006) Gilroy CV, Horney BS, Burton SA & MacKenzie AL Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research 70(2) pp137–142 focuses on cats with hyperthyroidism but also has some useful information about magnesium levels in cats generally.

 


Total Protein (Proteins in the Blood)                                                               Back to Page Index


 

Total protein is the sum of the two proteins in the blood, albumin and globulins. High total protein levels may be seen when a cat is dehydrated. In this case, albumin will probably also be high. High levels of total protein may also be seen in cases of infection or inflammation. Approximate normal levels (precise ranges vary from laboratory to laboratory) for cats are in this table.

 

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has some information on total protein.

 

Albumin (Alb)


This is the main protein in blood. Albumin may be high or low. Approximate normal levels (precise ranges vary from laboratory to laboratory) for cats are in this table.

 

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has some information on albumin.

 

High Albumin


If albumin is high, it may indicate dehydration. In this case, total protein will probably also be high.

 

Low Albumin


Albumin may be low in a cat with gastro-intestinal bleeding or some other kind of problem which causes inadequate nutrition. Cats with a chronic infection or chronic inflammation, such as cats with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), may have low albumin and total protein levels, as may cats with liver disease. Nephrotic syndrome will often cause low albumin levels, but this syndrome is quite rare in cats.

 

One of albumin's roles is to provide pressure to keep water in the blood, so if it falls too low, there is a greater risk of fluid build up (oedema or ascites). This can sometimes happen if your cat is being overhydrated.

 

If your cat's albumin level is very low (below 2 US, 20 international), please discuss this with your vet, because it can be quite dangerous.

 

If albumin is low, usually calcium will also be low. 

 

Pet MD has information about ascites.

My Optum Health explains more about ascites.

 

Globulin


This is another protein in blood, and is calculated from the values for albumin and total proteins i.e. globulin = total protein minus albumin. Globulin contains antibodies (immunoglobulins), so high levels may be seen when infection or inflammation is present. Approximate normal levels (precise ranges vary from laboratory to laboratory) for cats are in this table.

 

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has information on globulin.

 

Albumin:Globulin Ratio


This is as it suggests, the ratio between albumin and globulin. It is usually around 1:1, but it needs to be looked at in conjunction with the total protein level. If the ratio is lower than 1:1, then normally globulins are high. If the ratio is higher than this, then normally albumin levels are high. A high total protein with a normal A:G indicates that there is probably dehydration.

 

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has some information on the albumin:globulin ratio.

 


Other Test Results Which May Be Out of Range                                        Back to Page Index


Creatine Kinase (CK) and Creatine Phosphokinase (CPK)


These are two slightly different names for the same muscle enzyme, which is released when muscle is damaged.

 

Approximate normal levels (precise ranges vary from laboratory to laboratory) for cats are in this table. In most CKD cats, there is usually only a mild increase if any, and this might simply be because of the stress of being held and having blood taken at the vet’s; occasionally, levels also increase after prolonged inactivity or if a cat has a seizure. In Zen and the art of cat maintenance I and II (2004) Dr AM Wolf mentions that "Most increases in CPK are due to anorexia in cats", but a more recent study, Diagnostic and prognostic value of serum creatine-kinase activity in ill cats: a retrospective study of 601 cases (2010) Aroch I, Keidar I, Himelstein A, Schechter M, Shamir MH & Segev G Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery 12(6) pp466-75 found that cats with elevated CK levels were actually less likely to be anorexic. This study concluded that "Increased CK activity is very common in ill cats."

 

Many labs have a maximum level of 300, and a level of up to 500 is not usually cause for concern. If levels are high, it may indicate some kind of muscle disease; alternatively, very high levels of CK are often seen when an animal has heart issues. If your cat's level is over 1800, your vet should investigate further.

 

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has some information about CK levels.

 

Cholesterol (Chol)


High cholesterol levels do not have the same significance for cats as they do for humans, but are usually secondary to some other disease. As in humans, bloodwork results will vary depending upon whether the blood is taken after fasting. It is not uncommon for CKD cats to also have increased cholesterol levels.

 

Occasionally, high cholesterol levels are seen in cats with nephrotic syndrome, but this syndrome is quite rare in cats.

 

Approximate normal levels (precise ranges vary from laboratory to laboratory) for cats are in this table.

 

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has some information about cholesterol levels.

Pet MD discusses cholesterol levels in cats.

 

Glucose (Glu)


This is also known as blood sugar. This value may increase suddenly because of stress – it is not uncommon for this value to be high in cats who get stressed or frightened at the vet’s. Therefore a high level on one occasion should not be taken to indicate diabetes, urine testing is also required.

 

Glucose levels may be elevated in cats with secondary hyperparathyroidism.

 

Approximate normal levels (precise ranges vary from laboratory to laboratory) for cats are in this table.

 

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has some information on glucose and mentions here that stress may make glucose levels rise in cats.

 

ALT (Alanine Aminotransferase) or SGPT (serum glutamic-pyruvic transferase)


This is an enzyme which is largely found in muscle, the liver and the brain. It often leaks out of damaged liver cells, so is an indicator of liver disease, although it is sometimes elevated in hyperthyroidism. Cats on methimazole for hyperthyroidism may also have elevated liver enzymes and low white blood cells.

 

Approximate normal levels (precise ranges vary from laboratory to laboratory) for cats are in this table. Mild elevations are not normally cause for concern - one of my cats has mildly elevated ALT for years without problems.

 

If a sample is haemolysed, ALT may be elevated.

 

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has some information about ALT.

 

Amylase (Amyl)


Amylase is a digestive enzyme made in the pancreas that breaks carbohydrates down into simple sugars.

 

Because amylase is made by the pancreas, many vets seem to assume that an increase in this enzyme must indicate pancreatitis. Whilst this is often true for other species, it does not usually apply to cats, particularly CKD cats, because amylase is excreted by the kidneys, so it is by no means uncommon for it to be elevated in CKD. Approximate normal levels (precise ranges vary from laboratory to laboratory) for cats are in this table.

 

This is not usually a cause for concern - a value up to 2200 is not uncommon in CKD cats. However, if the level is much higher, around three times normal level, and your cat is showing other symptoms of pancreatitis combined with relatively low CKD values that seem to be out of line with how ill your cat is acting, then you might want to rule it out.

 

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has some information about amylase.

 

 

 

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This page last updated: 26 June 2012

Links on this page last checked: 03 April 2012

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Joining the Group                                                                                                                        Back to Page Index


 

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Existing yahoo! ID

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  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