Kidney Failure in Cats: A Sign of Severe Feline Diabetes
Feline diabetes caused by a deficiency of insulin - a hormone that regulates how sugars are absorbed in the body. Once absorbed, the sugars are utilized by the related cells and tissues of the body as an energy source. Male cats are more commonly affected with diabetes than females. There are two types of feline diabetes:
- Type I feline diabetes (diabetes mellitus type I) is caused by an insufficient production of insulin by the pancreas. This deficiency is due to an insufficient number of insulin producing cells. Type I is not preventable, but is also uncommon.
- Type II feline diabetes (diabetes mellitus type II) is the result of a bodily resistance to insulin combined with an insulin deficiency. Older, obese cats are more susceptible to Type II diabetes as fat cells may become resistant to insulin. Type II feline diabetes is preventable through weight control, diet and exercise.
The exact cause of feline diabetes in cats is not known. However, risk factors like genetics, obesity, pancreatic disease, hormonal imbalances and certain types of medications can all lead to the development of feline diabetes.
Common Symptoms of Feline Diabetes
There are several classic signs of the onset of diabetes in cats. The most common are:
- Polyuria (Excessive urination)
- Hyperglycemia (High blood sugar levels)
- Glucosuria (Passing excess sugar in urine)
- Polydipsia (Excessive thirst)
Renal Failure Risks with Feline Diabetes
One of the most common health risks of feline diabetes is renal failure. There are two types of renal failure: Acute Renal Failure (ARF) and Chronic Renal Failure (CRF). Acute renal failure is a type of kidney failure that can come on suddenly. This is a serious medical emergency and if a cat is affected by this, veterinary care should be sought at once. If a cat stops urinating or has trouble urinating, seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. The effects of acute renal failure can be reversed if caught quickly and treated aggressively.
Symptoms of acute renal failure include:
- Decreased appetite
- Bad breath (Ketone smell)
- Changes in urination (too little or too much urination)
- Stumbling or seizures
Chronic renal failure is not a medical emergency, but it does require regular follow up and treatment from a veterinarian. The mean age is nine years, and the potential for chronic renal failure increases with age. Chronic renal failure is known as azotemia, which is the accumulation of urea and creatinine in the blood.
Symptoms of chronic renal failure include:
- Acute blindness
- Decreased appetite
- Excessive drinking and urination
- Seizures and coma
- Weight loss
Treatment for Kidney Failure
For cases of acute renal failure, in-patient management by a veterinarian is recommended. For cases of chronic renal failure, inpatient treatment for uremic crisis, changes in diet and unrestricted access to fresh water at all times is essential.
Kidney failure is a serious and life threatening condition. Check with your cat's veterinarian to monitor for signs and provide regular checkups as needed. Taking steps to treat the condition will not only help to keep a cat's kidneys under control, but will allow the cat to live a normal and healthy life.