How long does a cat with kidney failure live?

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Unfortunately, the renal insufficiency it is a very common disorder, especially in older cats. This insufficiency, which consists of the failure of the function of one or both kidneys, can present in a chronic or acute. In both cases it will require veterinary management, with treatments, a diet specially formulated to treat this problem and periodic reviews.

When we receive the diagnosis that our cat suffers from this pathology, the first question we ask ourselves is usually: ¿how long a cat with kidney failure lives? In this AnimalWised article we are going to give the keys to answer this question.

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  1. Kidney failure in cats
  2. Factors to consider in kidney failure
  3. Life expectancy

Kidney failure in cats

Broadly speaking, kidney failure consists of a kidney malfunction, only one or both may be affected. The main problem is that kidney damage takes a long time to manifest itself because the body is activating compensation mechanisms with which it is enduring.

When we begin to appreciate symptomatology, the kidneys may already be badly damaged. Renal failure can occur acutely, suddenly, with symptoms that will include vomiting, anorexia, dehydration or a more than obvious prostration. If left untreated, the cat will die. Other times, kidney failure is chronic. We can see that our cat loses weight, is a little dehydrated, vomits, drinks a lot, etc. It also requires veterinary treatment but the situation would not yet be one of imminent death.

A blood test can inform us of the state of the kidneys and it is also possible to perform a urine test and ultrasound. With all these data, the veternary will classify the stage of the disease in which our cat is, since the treatment to be followed will depend on it..

In acute renal failure the main thing is to recover the animal and it will be once stabilized when the resulting damage and the most appropriate treatment will be assessed.. Kidney failure is not cured but we can offer quality of life to our cat as long as it stays with us. This is what treatment is aimed at, since kidney damage not only affects the kidneys but also has progressive consequences throughout the body and it is this deterioration that ends up causing death.

Since the symptoms can appear when the disease is already very advanced, it is essential that we subject our cat to reviews every 6-12 months from approximately 7 years of age. With a simple blood test we can detect kidney damage (and other diseases) in the early stages. The sooner we start treatment, the greater the life expectancy. But, ¿how long does a cat with kidney failure live? We see what to take into account in the next section.

Factors to consider in kidney failure

We must start by affirming that it is impossible to determine exactly how long a cat with kidney failure lives We are going to point out some relevant aspects that may predict a longer or shorter life span for the cat suffering from this disorder..

Factors that influence life expectancy from a cat with kidney failure:

  • Acute or chronic kidney failure: an acute presentation can become fatal in a matter of hours, on the other hand, if what our cat suffers from is a chronic insufficiency, it can maintain a good quality of life for years.
  • The stage of the disease: Veterinarians classify the stage of failure in which a cat is based on various factors, such as symptoms or phosphorus levels. Depending on these indicators, the disease will be more or less serious and this, logically, will affect life expectancy. Therefore, cats in stages that are less serious will have, a priori, a greater life expectancy and vice versa..
  • The treatment: this will consist of a specific diet for kidney patients and more or less medication, depending on the severity of the condition. Find out which are the best feed for cats with kidney failure on the market, as well as the steps to follow if you want to offer a home diet for cats with kidney failure.
  • Handling the animal: if the cat refuses to consume the prescribed food or there is no way to administer the medication, its life expectancy will decrease. At this point it is important to assess whether we want to force our cat to follow the treatment, which will cause stress that will not help maintain its quality of life, or we decide to leave it, even if that means that it lives less time. It is a circumstance that can occur and we will have to assess.

Life expectancy

Since we cannot give an exact figure on how long a cat with kidney failure lives, they are multiple and unpredictable factors To take into account, we can point to the life expectancy pattern that usually occurs in cats suffering from insufficiency. It would be the following:

  • For cases of acute kidney failure the first 24-48 hours are crucial since, if there is improvement, that is, the symptoms subside, the animal begins to eat and we can withdraw the fluid therapy and intravenous medication, we can say that the cat has recovered, but generally it tends to become chronically ill, having to follow a few lifelong veterinary care.
  • In chronic insufficiency, life expectancy will depend a lot on the phase in which the cat is, being higher the milder the symptoms and vice versa. Generally, and taking this data into account, cats with this type of insufficiency can live from several months to a few years.

When the feline is in the terminal phase, without any chance of recovery, the vet may recommend Euthanasia in cats with kidney failure, to alleviate the pain and suffering that they may suffer. These terminally ill cats may experience serious discomfort in the days following death, preventing them from carrying out basic day-to-day routines..

For this reason, as a last resort and to avoid the serious suffering of this ailment, some veterinarians may recommend euthanasia of the cat. If this is your case, think carefully about the decision and follow the advice and recommendations of the specialist. If you do not agree, go to a second professional for a second evaluation to ensure the diagnosis or the recommendation of the first specialist you have visited..

As a last note, it is important to point out and value the importance of quality of life, above time.

This article is merely informative, at we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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