It is estimated that almost 400,000 cats in Australia may have chronic kidney disease,
with many not showing any clinical signs. 1,2,3,4
Chronic kidney disease is a common condition in older cats, and usually occurs due to a progressive loss of function over time. The kidneys may be damaged by a variety of causes, however in most cats the underlying cause is unknown. Regardless of the cause, damage to the kidneys can impair their ability to function and remove waste products from the blood. Signs of chronic kidney disease are seen when the kidneys are unable to adequately filter blood or concentrate urine.
Damage to the kidneys can occur due to:
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Normal wear and tear
How is it diagnosed?
Clinical signs noticed by pet owner
Veterinary physical examination (e.g. palpating the kidneys)
Blood and urine tests
Feline Chronic Kidney Disease
Cats with chronic kidney disease may pass through a number of stages.
The following signs may be seen in each stage:
Mature, senior or geriatric cats over the age of 7
Animal Medicines Australia (2016) Pet Ownership in Australia.
Marino, C.L. et al (2014) Prevalence and classification of chronic kidney disease in cats randomly selected from four age groups and in cats recruited for degenerative joint disease studies. J Feline Med Surg, 16(6), 465-472.
Sparkes, A.H. et al (2016) ISFM consensus guidelines on the diagnosis and management of feline chronic kidney disease. J Feline Med Surg, 18(3), 219-239.
Watson, A. (2001) Indicators of renal insufficiency in dogs and cats presented at a veterinary teaching hospital. Aust Vet Pract, 31(2), 54-59.