Feline CRF Resource Page
What is Feline Chronic Renal Failure?
Feline chronic renal failure, or CRF, is a common illness among cats, and it can affect any cat breed. This condition occurs when a cat’s kidneys fail to function effectively, and toxic materials begin to build up inside its body. The increased toxicity can lead to various health problems, including weight loss, loss of appetite, excessive urination, nausea, dehydration, lethargy, stomach irritation, and others. In the advanced stage, it can also cause convulsion and seizures. CRF usually occurs in older cats, and unfortunately it is terminal condition. It is advisable that you take your cat to the vet for CRF diagnosis when it reaches the age of seven. Early treatment of the disease can reduce the severity of the symptoms and enable your cat to live longer.
How does a cat get CRF?
It has been proven that CRF is caused by a number of kidney-related health problems, which can be hereditary or acquired. Hereditary conditions include polycystic kidney disease, renal dysplasia, and renal hypoplasia. Polycystic kidney disease occurs when there are cysts in the kidneys, while renal dysplasia and renal hypoplasia refer to abnormal developments of the kidneys. Infections and inflammations in the kidneys can also result in CRF. Another known cause of CRF is lymphoma, which is a common renal cancer among cats. This type of cancer can also lead to feline leukemia. Cats that lick or consume toxic materials such as antifreeze and lilies will have a higher chance of developing CRF, as these materials can do significant damage to the kidneys and cause acute renal failure.
CRF causes the malfunction of nephrons, which are small filters in the kidneys that aid in the proper removal of waste products. As such, most treatment methods for CRF are aimed at decreasing the amount of waste materials in the body. Some of the more widely practiced treatment methods include medication, special diet, hydration therapy, and kidney transplant.
Medications are prescribed to treat individual symptoms that are affecting a cat. If your cat is suffering from anemia, medications such as Procrit and Epogen can make your cat more energetic. Calcium imbalance is also a common symptom of CRF, and it can be treated with Rocatrol. Periactin and Pepcid Acid Controller are usually used to treat loss of appetite and stomach irritation respectively.
The ideal diet for cats with CRF has to be low in protein and phosphate. The amount of sodium consumed has to be limited too because sodium can contribute to the development of high blood pressure, which can worsen the CRF condition. Your cat’s diet should contain high levels of potassium and vitamin B, because there will be insufficient amounts of these substances as your cat begins to urinate frequently. The intake of calories should also be increased to prevent weight loss.
Kidney transplant is an effective way to counter CRF. This surgery replaces one of the kidneys in a cat with CRF with a healthy kidney from another cat. With one functioning kidney, the cat can fight off the disease and live a normal life. However, anti-rejection medications have to be taken for the remainder of the cat’s life, so that its body will not reject the transplanted kidney.
Feline CRF Resources
CRF Owner Support Groups