There are a number of tests that your vet may have to undertake in order to diagnose chronic kidney disease in your cat. The two most common ones are a blood test and urine test, usually done at the same time. Typically, with chronic kidney disease a cat will have elevated blood levels of two waste products: urea and creatinine, as well as having poorly concentrated urine and the relevant clinical signs of the disease. Occasionally your vet may suggest some further tests such as checking your cat’s blood pressure, taking an x-ray, or performing an ultrasound examination of your cat’s abdomen.
How is chronic kidney disease treated?
In most cases an underlying cause for chronic kidney disease cannot be identified, so treatment is aimed at managing the disease and supporting your cat to live a full and happy life, for as long as possible.
Your vet may recommend changing your cat’s food to one specifically designed for chronic kidney disease. These diets typically contain lower protein and phosphate levels and help to prevent ongoing kidney damage and the build-up of excess waste products in the blood which causes cats to feel unwell.
Cats with chronic kidney disease can become dehydrated very quickly so it is very important that your cat always has free access to a fresh supply of water. Your vet will be able to advise you on how you can increase your cat’s water intake. Some ways include: placing multiple water bowls throughout the house, having a cat water fountain, feeding a wet (tin or sachet) diet, or adding extra water to your cat’s food.
Sometimes your vet may suggest additional therapies to maintain normal blood pressure and appropriate levels of potassium and phosphate. Your vet will also be able to advise you on any other lifestyle changes that may help your cat to cope with their kidney condition.