Experts are calling for veterinarians to recognize acute kidney disease (AKI) in cats as a dynamic and complex disease. AKI is a serious and usually severe form of kidney failure. Unlike CKD,
which is chronic and usually develops gradually, AKI usually comes on suddenly and is often triggered by a particular event or “insult” to the kidneys.
AKI is considered to be a very serious disease in cats and other animals and cover a wide spectrum of symptoms, causes and problems. Doctors consider this a multi-organ disease because so
many other systems in the body are damaged. Any treatment plan must must address these problems as well as the disease itself.
There is no standard treatment plan for cats with AKI. Some cats may develop AKI and CKD simultaneously. There are many different causes of AKI in cats. They can include dehydration, shock,
poisoning, perhaps even through injecting household poisons.
An infection is another cause certain medications, for example, medications for humans can be accidentally injected. Additionally, a cat suffers severe blood loss or their blood pressure is too high or too low, they may be susceptible to AKI.
There are a variety of symptoms of AKI in cats. Excessive vomiting is one. Cats with AKI can loss coordination and develop seizures. Lethargy and a decreased urination are other signs to watch for. A cat might loss their appetite or become weaker.
The first and most important step to curing AKI is early detection. This is especially critical as over time, more and more systems in the cat will be affected by the disease. After that a veterinarian will go for the main cause of the disease, while seeing to it the animal gets the best care while its kidneys heal.
A major goal of treatment is the restoration of hydration. But experts warn there is a risk of over hydration and that can lead to death of the cat.
If therapy using fluids does not work, diuretic treatment is another option. Diuretic treatment uses materials, sometimes certain food and liquids to cause a cat to urinate more. Medications which serve as diuretics are called water pills. This option is also used if a cat cannot undergo dialysis.
Dialysis, when conducted as a treatment, removes waste material from the cats blood when the kidneys cannot do it themselves due to AKI. While there are no studies to confirm, they know from humans the sooner this treatment begins the better for the cat.
For more information about what you can do to support normal kidney function in your cat, be sure to check out our pet articles!