We have all heard at some point of “chronic kidney disease” or “renal insufficiency” in pets. This is the most common illness affecting cats and dogs and causing their death as well.
The kidneys are the organs that filter the blood, maintains PH, regulate blood pressure and excrete waste in the urine.
Renal insufficiency damage cannot be reversed which causes a gradual loss of kidney function. It usually happens with older pets although it can affect cats and dogs at any age. Usually we don’t find out until it is a 70% or greater loss of kidney function.
Some of the symptoms include extreme thirst and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, reduced energy and lack of appetite. This can result in trauma, infection, exposure to toxins and decreased blood flow to the kidneys.
Once your pet has been diagnosed with chronic disease it is irreversible and there is no cure.
However it can be managed through medication and diet and nutritional therapy is very important. Studies have shown that in pets being fed the proper diet formulated for renal disease, there were many improvements in the quality of life as well as an increased life span.
Ideally, the right diet will restore the animal’s energy and nutritive requirements while lessening the symptoms and slowing down the disease.
The best diets can be purchased or homemade and formulated by a qualified veterinary nutritionist.
Feeding a diet that is not rich in protein lets the kidneys work less and prevent an accumulation of waste products. In the early stages of the illness it is recommended to feed a high protein diet especially with cats to prevent malnutrition and muscle loss.
It is very important to provide the dog or cat with enough calories while providing a restricted level of protein. Therefore fat is added for kidney disease to provide pets with a source of energy and to make food better tasting. Preferably algae extract, salmon oil and flaxseed.
It is also very important to consult a veterinarian since the illness can change and get worse with time.
When the kidneys have been damaged they cannot filter excess minerals. This can result in higher levels of phosphorus in the blood and crystals may form in the kidneys which can cause more damage and make the disease worse. Too much phosphorus can also cause bone loss and vitamin D deficiency.
Diets that are good for renal insufficiency are lower in phosphorus to help slow down the disease.