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RE: Kidney question

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Posted by: cyclopsgrl at Sat Sep 15 16:55:44 2007  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by cyclopsgrl ]  

When Stanley was first diagnosed with early CRF two years ago, the vet said he was at the high end or just outside the normal range. He'd taken a jump in BUN from his visit six months before. Can't recall his creatinine. From age 10 or 11, she their other geriatric vet really watched "concentration" to see how the kidneys were functioning. On the Science Diet KD, he held his values very well for about two years and creeped up to but never went over upper 30s that I can recall.

When he last went in to monitor the anemia/anemia med progress, his values had jumped, but his biggest problem was anemia. He had also started classic symptoms of later stages of CRF -- started declining fast. She said this is common in the CRF guys to take a quick turn almost overnight. He was badly dehydrated, his fur was very rough and dry (like petting straw), he'd had a 3 pound weight loss in a very short time, not eating well, lethargic, etc... We'd started sub-q fluids, but he just declined too fast and never got his appetite back no matter what we did. I won't go into it too much, but he basically stopped eating and nothing would get him to, I pretty much force fed him and he became lethargic and not interested in normal things; got much weaker. It was a very tough time, and it was only three weeks ago... Still is tough.

I started Pookey on the KD the same time as Stanley and he shows no sign of kidney problems at all (recently turned 16). I attribute part of that to the food and part to genetics (although both were from the same litter). His blood and urine levels are good and she said it is OK to continue to feed him the KD.

But, there is one thing in your post that caught my eye. "My vet says he's fine and a kidney diet would not be good for his IBD." I can't speak to the food affecting IBD, as Stanley's problem was constipation from kidney failure not diarrhea. This is something you have to balance. I know with Stanley, he had multiple problems that we had to juggle to treat "the worst first." I learned to address what is most critical first. They won't be with us forever, but with common sense and working with our vets, we help them lead quality senior years with intervention that makes sense. Sometimes treatement is a double-edged sword that will fix one thing, but affect another (really had to watch his liver closely on the steroids for brain swelling).

"But since his BUN and creatinine levels are outside the normal range, doesn't that mean that only 25% of his kidney function is left?" I don't think so, he isn't there until the end stages Stanley showed. They say early CRF cats can go a couple or more years without showing symptoms (that's what my vet told me when they first detected his levels just outside the normal range). Each cat is different, but Stanley went around two years before symptoms really started showing about four months ago with his anemia we couldn't control and last month with the final sudden symptoms I mentioned above. It is my understanding symptoms show themselves when the kidneys are something like 70-75% failed. I've heard when they start needing the sub-q fluids and hit the wall with weight loss, etc., like Stanley did, that is a big sign they are at 75% or worse... But, if we could have controlled his anemia and regained his appetite, he might have had up to another year on the sub-q fluids. Many might have beens, but I say this to you to not worry about anemia overmuch, many cats with CRF don't have anemia as bad as he does and many that get the anemia can be helped with the anemia med (Epogen). Stanley just didn't respond and his anemia became chronic the last four months.
Tammy and Pookey
(Stanley 8/91 - 8/07)


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