A Cat Clinic

Kidney Disease in Cats: Getting old is tough!

Posted on: March 20th, 2015 by Dr. Dale Rubenstein

Getting old is tough..

Aurora just celebrated her 17th birthday, and as so many of you kindly noted, she looks great for her age. In human years, 17 cat years is equal to about age 85, so the fact that her favorite sleeping spot involves hopping up on Dr. Mustillo’s chair (arthritis and all!) is remarkable. She even tolerated anesthesia for a dental cleaning recently.

However, Aurora was diagnosed with kidney disease a little over a year ago. Recently our staff let us know that Aurora was just “off,” so Dr. Mustillo rechecked blood and urine tests. Unfortunately her kidney disease is advancing. Kidney disease in older cats is a commonly diagnosed problem. Aurora had been receiving subcutaneous fluids by injection three times weekly to help her kidney function. We know that many of you are or have been in a similar situation with your senior cat. Giving fluids is like a mild form of dialysis. It helps flush out of her system the nitrogen wastes that cause nausea and generally not feeling well. We’ve now increased her fluids to 4-5 times/week. She is amazingly good about getting fluids (better than for her oral meds!), so we are grateful and know we are lucky about that. And the 10 minutes it takes to administer the fluids means she feels better and eats better for a couple of days. Aurora also receives Pepcid AC to help with nausea, as well as medications for her chronic controlled colitis. We can help kidney function in some cats with renal diets, but with Aurora’s intestinal issues, that isn’t an option for her.

She is still hopping on Dr. Mustillo’s chair, so that is a good sign. She is doing pretty well, many more good days than bad. And we will all continue to monitor her closely and adjust her care when needed. But, since she belongs to “all” of us (including you), we wanted to keep you posted. Hopefully we won’t be writing about this again for a long while, if nothing changes. Hopefully not until her 18th birthday!