Chronic Renal Failure (aka CRF) occurs when ~70% of kidney function is irreversibly
. Kidney function consists of the work done by tiny
units called nephrons. Nephrons are responsible for filtering out
toxins and wastes, like BUN and Creatinine, from the bloodstream.
The toxins and wastes are normally concentrated and eliminated
through urine. When the nephrons are destroyed, the kidneys are
unable to filter out toxins, this in turn causes uremic
poisoning. Thus, tests that show elevated levels of Creatinine
and BUN indicate the possibility of CRF. About Creatinine &
- BUN (blood urea nitrogen) A waste product excreted
through the kidneys. BUN is is reflective of diet. An increase in
BUN can also be due to dehydration (a symptom of CRF and many
other problems). Normal BUN levels for felines are in the range
of 14 - 36 mg/dl.
- Creatinine A waste product excreted through the
kidneys. It is indicative of declining kidney function. Normal
Creatinine levels for felines are in the range of .6 - 2.4
CRF is a terminal illness and is one of the more common causes of
death in older cats. It can result from:
- Kidney inflammation
- Renal diseases
- Renal lesions
- Bacterial infection in kidney
- Feline leukemia
- High blood pressure
- Immune system problems (i.e., FIV
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
With specialized treatment, many CRF cats are able to live months
to years after diagnosis. The goal of treatment is to ease the
burden put on the kidneys and to prevent dehydration. This means
diet & fluid therapy:
- Diet - CRF treatment diets must be low in phosphorus
and are often prescription based.
- Fluid Therapy - CRF cats are often given distilled
water, because tap water and bottled water are hard on the
kidneys. Some treatments involve the subcutaneous fluids. This is
something you must discuss with your vet.
Other things to discuss with your vet revolve around calcium
restoration, potassium supplements, phosphate binders,
hypertension medicines and appetite stimulants.
I hope that Cookie makes it through! The most important thing is that you and your vet start her on a treatment program!! Simba