Thanks to better diets and care in general, more and more of our cats are living to an advanced age.
Chronic kidney disease is estimated to affect more than 30 per cent of cats over the age of 10 years but is often only diagnosed later on in the disease process.
Compensation by the kidneys make early diagnosis a challenge in that much of the damage is done before the condition is diagnosed.
Most cats do not show signs until the disease shows up in blood tests at the vets.
Diagnosis at an earlier stage is an advantage to the cat and the owner allowing earlier treatment and monitoring which will help to prolong the life and aid quality of life.
When you take your cat to the vets for its annual vaccination it will receive a thorough health check and now is the time to mention any problems to the vet.
Many clues of kidney trouble are non specific so look for indicators of ill health such as reduced appetite, increased thirst, weight loss, dehydration and the vet may be able to feel the kidneys to check for increased size or pain on
It is important to note that that physical examination of patients with renal disease is often normal.
If your cat has lost more than five per cent in weight since the last visit to the clinic then that should be viewed as significant and further tests will be considered.
A urine test is the first move and you can obtain a sample at home using a special litter and box which your vet will supply.
In fact an annual analysis for all cats over the age of seven is recommended.
The vet will perform several tests on the sample such as specific gravity, glucose, ketones, protein, ph, blood and bilirubin.
A diagnosis of kidney disease may be suspected on the basis of history and clinical findings but can only be confirmed by blood and urine analysis.
Early diagnosis of kidney disease is a challenge but if owners and vets can detect problems promptly treatment and alteration of diet can not only improve quality of life but may also increase life span.