Dealing with Chronic Renal Failure in Your Cat or Dog
If you own an older cat or dog, then you should know that your pet is at risk for developing chronic renal failure (CRF). This condition affects the kidneys and typically manifests as an excessive need for drinking and urinating which in turn leads to general physical weakness due to low levels of water and potassium in the body. Anemia may also develop because certain hormones may decrease, causing the body to stop producing oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
The causes are usually genetic in nature. Long-term tooth infections can also contribute to the disease process if not actually cause it. In cats, a virus called Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) can cause chronic renal failure as well. Obstructions, toxins, certain forms of cancer and even medications can contribute to the formation of this disease.
Treatment consists of giving the affected cat or dog plenty of fluids to eliminate the toxins remaining in the body after the breakdown of proteins and other nutrients. Depending upon the severity of the disease, a pet may only require an increase in water intake by mouth. Otherwise, he or she may need to be given additional fluids periodically, either under the skin or in the fat.
Other treatments include giving pets potassium supplements and putting them on a quality, restricted protein diet. Sometimes, animals who suffer from a decreased appetite may not tolerate a change in their diet. In this case, it is more important to make sure your cat or dog gets nourishment rather than try to force him or her into adopting a new eating regimen.
Sometimes, a veterinarian will also recommend giving pets with CRF B-12 and iron, especially if they have anemia. Since vitamin C is water soluble and can be lost due to excess urination, this may also need to be supplemented. Vitamins such as A, D and E are fat-soluble and are therefore not affected. Some cats and dogs also develop high blood pressure as a result of CRF and will require medicine to lower it.
If you think your animal pal may have chronic renal failure, then you need to contact the veterinarians at Austin Pet and Bird Clinic. Chronic renal failure has no cure but you can rest assured that we will develop an individualized treatment plan that will help keep your cat or dog healthy and comfortable.
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