JUST DIAGNOSED? START HERE
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WHAT IS CKD?
What Happens in CKD
Causes of CKD
How Bad is It?
Is There Any Hope?
Acute Kidney Injury
KEY ISSUES: PROLONGING LIFE
(High Blood Pressure)
Pyelonephritis (Kidney Infections) and Urinary Tract Infections
KEY ISSUES: HELPING YOUR CAT FEEL BETTER
Nausea, Vomiting, Appetite Loss and Excess Stomach Acid
The B Vitamins (Including Methylcobalamin)
CAT FOOD DATA
Ways of Assessing Food Content, Including What is Dry Matter Analysis
How to Use the Food Data Tables
USA Canned Food Data
USA Dry Food Data
USA Cat Food Brands: Helpfulness Ratings
USA Cat Food Brands: Contact Details
USA Food Data Book
Coping with CKD
Tanya's Support Group
Alphabetical List of Symptoms and Treatments
Fluid and Urinary Imbalances (Dehydration, Overhydration and Urinary
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
Complete Blood Count (CBC): Red and White Blood Cells: Anaemia and
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
International and US Measuring Systems
Which Treatments are Essential
Fluid and Urinary Issues (Fluid Retention, Infections, Incontinence,
Waste Product Regulation (Mouth Ulcers, GI Bleeding, Antioxidants,
Adsorbents, Azodyl, Astro's CRF Oil)
Phosphorus, Calcium and Secondary Hyperparathyroidism (Calcitriol)
Steroids, Stem Cell Transplants and 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,
Tips on Medicating Your Cat
Supplies: What to Buy and Where to Find It
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
2007 Food Recall USA
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
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
What to Buy and Where to Find It NEW!
SUPPLIES: WHERE TO FIND THEM CHEAPLY
USA Local (Fluids)
The Final Hours
Other People's Losses
Coping with Your Loss
Feline CKD Research, Including Participation Opportunities
CKD Research in Other Species
Share This Site: A Notice for Your Vet's
Bulletin Board or Your Local Pet Shop
Canine Kidney Disease
Other Illnesses (Cancer, Liver) and Behavioural Problems
Diese Webseite auf Deutsch
My Three CKD Cats: Tanya, Thomas and Ollie
Find Me on Facebook
Hello, and welcome to my website, though I am
sorry you need to be here.
My name is Helen, and I have been running this
website for twenty years (where does the time go?). 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.
arriving here usually fall into one of two camps. If your cat has
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.
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. Alternatively, 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
Whatever your situation, please take a
deep breath and don't give up hope, because it may
well be possible to help
website is extremely comprehensive, which is both a blessing and a
curse. On the one hand it will answer 99% of your questions about
kidney disease in cats, but on the other hand it may seem a bit
overwhelming to start with. Try not to worry, just read the
Key Issues section and dip into the other sections that
interest you. it will eventually start to make sense. And above
all, get food into your cat.
Over 1500 US cat foods
in order of brand and
This website in book
Aims of the
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,
just an ordinary person who has educated herself
about CKD in cats.
If you are a
vet visiting this site because your client has mentioned it to you, I
can imagine your heart is sinking about now. It may reassure you to
know that, wherever
possible, I do try to offer veterinary information to support what I
say. Many vets do recommend the site, including a number of vet
schools and veterinary specialists (see the reviews
I try to share the information I have using
layman's language. My goals are to:
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
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$5-10 a week in
emotional aspects of living with CKD and
help you to cope with it, including at the end of your CKD journey.
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.
What is Kidney Disease?
There are two main kinds of kidney disease:
Chronic Kidney Disease, abbreviated as
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. Cats with AKI
are normally hospitalized for treatment, which usually includes
intravenous fluids (IV fluids, also known as a drip); depending on the
cause of the AKI, other treatments may also be offered. AKI is hard to
treat, but if the cat survives the initial crisis, he/she can often
regain much or sometimes all of his or her normal kidney function.
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.
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.
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 three overwhelming concerns:
they want to know how severe their cat's case is
they want to know how best to help their cat, and
in particular they want to know how to get their
cat to eat
I therefore recommend that you read these pages
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
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
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.
Oh, and do not panic if your vet says your cat has
lost 70% of kidney function - it's actually normal for CKD not to be
diagnosed until this much function has been lost. What matters is how
well your cat can manage with the function that is left, and a lot of
cats do well.
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 (and of course many of them were not
available back then). 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
here. You can also read some
Success Stories here, some of whom 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
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
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD).
Is Chronic Kidney
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
Good luck on your CKD journey.
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help and support? Available online now,
the support group allows you to talk
to others fighting this disease
can offer help and support as you make your CKD journey.
now, it's quick, easy and free.
or enter your e-mail address in the box below and click
DISCLOSURE AND DONATIONS
I make some money from the
book version of the site, but it contains nothing that is not
already included on the website. I also make some money from the
book version of the food data. I recently discovered that if
you click on the link to my books on Amazon, I also receive
commission on anything else you may buy at the same time (this
applies to anything you buy, whether I link to it or not).
Apart from that, I have no financial interest in any products
or services mentioned here, nor do I accept advertisements. I also do not make any money from my support
If you would like to thank me in some
Catster/Belvoir Marketing Group Lorie Huston Health Award
Cat Writers' Association Annual Communication
excellence of writing and technical accuracy;
of the topic and public education impact on feline health
Dr Ana Lara
Recognised Specialist in Veterinary Oncology
the European Society of Veterinary Oncology
of Excellence and Muse Medallion Winner
Cat Writers' Association Annual Communication
Dr Jessica Quimby
into CKD in cats
University College of Veterinary Medicine
Pet Health Network
Dr Margie Scherk
Dr Mark E Peterson
Professor Daničlle Gunn-Moore
of Edinburgh, Scotland
the newsletter of Cornell University College of
Dr Sarah Caney
Recommended by the
American Association of Feline Practitioners
Recommended by the
Pet Community Website
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
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.
what you do in trying to help cat owners to be the work of "angels"."
Katherine James, DVM, PhD
International Cat Care Journal
of the Net Award
International Cat Care Journal
Share This Site: A
Notice for Your Vet's Bulletin Board or Your Local Pet Shop
SEARCH THIS SITE:
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last updated: 22 May 2020
TREATING YOUR CAT WITHOUT VETERINARY ADVICE CAN BE
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. Veterinary
frequently and I make no representation, express or implied, as to the
accuracy, completeness or suitability of the information for your cat.
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.
By continuing to visit and use this website, you
agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.
If your cat appears to be in pain or
distress, do not waste time on the internet, contact your vet
© Tanya's Feline CKD Website 2000-2020. All
This site is run by a private
individual who happens to hate the loss of privacy experienced in
modern life. Therefore the site does not contain any trackers (which follow you to
other sites to identify your interests so they can target
advertisements at you online), though if you click on the links to my
books on Amazon, Amazon may be able to identify you (depending upon
your computer or phone settings).
I use a counter to check how many people
visit the site and to determine which pages are the most popular, but
the counter does not identify you to me personally. It does log your
IP address but that tells me nothing about you, though it may provide
information to the company which provides me with the counter,
depending upon your settings.
If you apply to join my support
group, I keep your response (containing your e-mail address, first
name, cat's name and age, country of residence and anything else you
choose to share with me) in case of future problems with your
If you make a donation, I will be told
your e-mail address and which bank made the payment.
The only information I hold about you
anything you choose to tell me in an e-mail sent to me personally via
this website. I keep your e-mail
in an e-mail folder in case I need to refer to it in the future (e.g.
in case you write to me again). The e-mail folder is on my personal
laptop and a back up hard drive. If you do not wish me to keep your
e-mail, please let me know when you write to me.
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 the site to display better in the future.
may not be reproduced or reprinted, on the internet or elsewhere,
without the express written permission of the site owner, who can be
contacted via the
page. I suggest you just buy the books.
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.