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Old 01-17-2008, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Southeast Wisconsin
46 posts, read 121,391 times
Reputation: 28

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Hello to all...

My almost-16-years old kitty named Molly was recently diagnosed with kidney disease. She is not in complete failure yet. In fact, she is still her happy, hungry, spunky little self. However, the diagnosis was not a big surprise to me because of her age.

Our vet has prescribed a special diet for her. We are waiting for results of a second blood test and urinalysis. He may put her on some sort of medication in addition to the prescription diet.

Many years ago I had a kitty named Cricket who was put on this diet when she was about 9 years old. She did quite well on it. Unfortunately, I got divorced and had to leave her with the ex, so I never knew exactly how old she lived to be, but I am sure it was into her teens.

I have tried to read as much as I can about this disease. I am familiar with it because years ago I had to put my Blackberry to sleep, and I learned a lot about it then. It is my understanding that many, many cats end up with kidney failure.

My question is this:

With kidney failure being so prevalent in senior cats, why don't veterinarians just automatically prescribe the kd diet once kitties reach a certain age; say, 12 years old?

It is just a question I was wondering about...

I must say, although I am sad about the diagnosis, I am trying to be positive. I am trying to keep the attitude of "Right here, right now". In other words, I don't want to get caught up in worrying about how long she will live, or how will I handle coming home to an empty house when she is gone...

She is with me right here, right now, on my lap, purring as usual. I will focus on the present, and cherish every minute of every wonderful day that we have together! She will let me know when the time comes, and I will be with her, holding her, when she does leave for the Bridge.

Thanks in advance to all of you for your thoughts on my question.
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Old 01-17-2008, 02:05 PM
 
Location: Burlington County NJ
1,969 posts, read 5,522,377 times
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I'm very sorry to hear about your kitty's diagnosis. I have had 2 cats go through this (one with the pet food thing last year). Unfortunately, we did not catch either one until it was too late. I hope your kitty does well on her new diet. I think you should definately live in the present. Its possible this will take a bad turn, so you'll need to prepare for that.....but enjoy her now. Especially since she doesn't seem to be showing signs of illness.

I would like to offer you a suggestion - with my experience - we had one cat that we did everything for...he had surgeries...he was on life support...he was on IV's ...and we had to put him down anyway - this was heart wrenching for us all. Don't put yourself through that. I will pray you don't have to be faced with that.
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Old 01-17-2008, 02:31 PM
 
Location: Marion, IN
8,191 posts, read 29,021,416 times
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First off, the "prescription diets" that vets push so hard are not medicated. They are formulated towards health concerns. If you read the ingredients panel you will not find much in the way of nutrition.

Different vets have different ideas about how to address diet in cats with CRF. My vet chooses not to go the low protein route (k/d) but instead recommends a high quality single source protein that is easier to digest.

I lost my last kitty to CRF at the ripe old age of 19. He lived 5 years after his diagnosis with only a simple change in his diet. I would love to see vets spend more time educating the pet owners and less time telling people to buy crappy food. JMHO.
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Old 01-17-2008, 02:37 PM
 
Location: Southern Oregon
3,568 posts, read 3,503,808 times
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"With kidney failure being so prevalent in senior cats, why don't veterinarians just automatically prescribe the kd diet once kitties reach a certain age; say, 12 years old? "

To answer your question...

IMO, It is because not all cats get kidney disease. Some never have kidney probs. Since cats need protein, low protein foods can do more harm than good. It would be like a pediatrician scripting out antibiotics to every child he saw because "most" kids get ear infections.

hope that helps...
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Old 01-17-2008, 03:38 PM
 
Location: Southeast Wisconsin
46 posts, read 121,391 times
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Thank you so much for all of your replies!

So many of us have been touched by kitties that have had failing kidneys. I had to put my Blackberry down years ago due to this. The vet had suggested fluids and all this and that...it would have involved taking my Berr to the vet several times a week, and I just knew that she would have been miserable. It was simply prolonging the inevitable, and indeed, that was THE most hardest thing I have ever had to do, was to have her put to sleep. But I held my girl on my lap and let her go, and for as heartbreaking as it was, I knew it was the right thing to do. She was simply wasting away before me.

Anyways, I just want my Molly to be happy and comfortable for her remaining time. She is just so silly and goofy...I gave her a sheet of tissue paper this afternoon. Tissue paper is one of her most favorite things to play with. She scoots along it with her front legs stretched straight out in front of her, and her little fuzzy fanny in the air, and she will just play with that paper until there is nothing left of it! Such a silly kitty.

I just have to continue to remain in the present...the right here, right now. As I have said, Molly will let me know when she is ready to leave. Until then, I will cherish every moment we have together!

Thank you again to everyone. Make sure you hug your kitties nice and close...I have to go find Molly and give her a bunch of kisses and squeezes!
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Old 01-21-2008, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 8,997,376 times
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My Odin was also diagnosed with CRF (and diabetes) this fall. I've done tons of research on this and have talked with several of the leading veternarians in the US who are focusing on diet and medications for CRF cats and who are having wonderful results in their patients. Here's some information that I've found which indicates good maintenance for CRF cats which can (in some cases) halt the progression of the disease and can extend their life for YEARS:
  1. Feed moderate protein, moderate fat, low carb, no grain canned or homemade food.
  2. Feed low phosphorus food, not low protein food. Phosphorus levels in food should be less than 200 mcg/100 kcal (here's a good list (http://webpages.charter.net/katkarma/canfood.htm - broken link))
  3. If the blood phosphorus level is elevated, begin adding a Phosphate Binder to the cat's food. Aluminum Hydroxide is more potent than the Calcium-based binders, and the calcium binders can cause hypercalcemia. Epakitin is also new on the market, but cannot be taken with Calcitriol. So there is no definitive answer as to the "best" binder to use... it depends strongly on your cat's individual needs.
  4. Begin Benazapril (prescription) as it alleviates strain on the kidney. The Kidney filtration rate goes haywire, but does not appear to cause any danger to overall health. This medication appears to slow or stop further kidney degeneration.
  5. Begin Calcitriol (prescription), the active form of vitamin D so that the kidneys don't have to process D3 into it's active form, thereby reducing the stress on the kidneys.
  6. BUN elevation because of high protein is not at concerning as high Creatinine and low Urine Specific Gravity. BUN should only be lowered, but reducing protein, if the cat is showing negative affects (headache, lethargy, aggression).
  7. As the disease progresses - Creatinine & Urine Specific Gravity in danger range - and the cat begins suffereing from chronic dehydration, sub-cutaneous fluid (SubQ) can be administered as necessary --- at home if the owner is able and willing.
  8. If your cat also has high blood pressure, restricting the salt intake and putting them on BP meds, like Norvasc, will help both the kidney and the circulatory system.
  9. Prolonged elevated blood sugars (diabetes) damages the kidneys, if your cat has diabetes as well as CRF it is essential to get control of the blood glucose levels with diet, insulin and medications (if necessary).
  10. Untreated hyperthyroidism damages the kidneys, if your cat is HyperT as well as CRF, it is essential to treat this with medication.

As for your question: "With kidney failure being so prevalent in senior cats, why don't veterinarians just automatically prescribe the kd diet once kitties reach a certain age; say, 12 years old?"

12 is not really that old for a cat (middle-aged really).We just think that over 10 is senior because so many cats have gotten sick around this age that we assme it's their natural life span. Cats fed proper nutrition, receiving only the necessary innoculations, and living in a safe environment can live happy and healthy well into their 20s. The majority of the problem is nutrition... namely, dry cat food! Cats are obligate carnivores and need to eat high quality meat protein and fat. They have almost no dietary requirement for fruits or vegetables, and can't digest most grains. Also, being descended from desert animals, cats don't actually drink that much and need to get their moisture from the food they eat. Feeding cats low protein, high grain/high carb dry kibble basted in digestive soup to make it taste better is a massive whammy to a cat... not enough protein for their body, low quality protein that is not bio-available, all sorts of ingredients they can't utilise that has to processed (irritable bowel and kidney disease), too many carbs (diabetes) and little or no moisture (renal disease).

Food like that may be ok for an omnivorous dog... but cats are not little dogs. There has been almost no long term health studies on commercial cat foods... including those "prescription" brands. New information is coming out everyday on cat nutrition and many vets and pet food companies are not keeping up with the times.
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Old 01-21-2008, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Loss Wages
1,311 posts, read 6,168,583 times
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If I may ask everyone, we know that dried cat food is not good for the system. We should do canned, or/and then ultimately raw. My question to you is I'm still confused with these canned foods that everyone recommends. They still have things like carrots, zuchinni, cottage chees, seaweed extract, but aren't we supposed to feed them an all meat diet? CAts aren't omnivores. Why are the best brand still putting brown rice and carrots when we have still established that cats can only eat meat? I have read many recommendations of Innova, Wellness, all the brands that make the very best, but they still include veggies. Why are they recommended then?
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Old 01-21-2008, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Burlington County NJ
1,969 posts, read 5,522,377 times
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neither of my cats like wet food
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Old 01-21-2008, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 8,997,376 times
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Deegers - well, technically, a cat does get some veggies and fruits, and some pre-digested grain, in the stomach of it's prey. I think that's why so many of the good foods still throw in pumpkin, peas, carrots and berries. Also, veggies and fruits do offer some fiber that the cat isn't getting in canned food because they aren't eating the bones and ligaments of a prey animal. Not to mention some additional nutrients that are better "natural" than "synthetic"... the seaweed is a good example since it contains iodine and other trace minerals. Veggies and fruits aren't strictly "bad" as long as they are less than 10% of the food. Grains of any type shouldn't be in there at all, and are just fillers so the food has enough bulk and calories without too much of something else (protein, fat, phosphorus), so I always stick with the grain-free flavors of those brands.
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Old 01-21-2008, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Loss Wages
1,311 posts, read 6,168,583 times
Reputation: 562
What do you think about Sheba canned cat food?
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