Did you know that kidney disease is the #1 cause of death in cats over 10? Or that nine out of every 1000 dogs examined suffer from kidney disease?

March is National Kidney Month and because this condition is so common and can be deadly, it’s important families be aware of the symptoms of kidney (renal) disease.

For cats, a visit to the vet is warranted if you notice any unusual elimination problems, such as straining to urinate without producing urine or urinating outside the litter box. Increased vocalization is often a sign as well.

In both dogs and cats, other symptoms include increased thirst, lethargy, lack of appetite, pale gums, mouth ulcers and vomiting.

Symptoms of renal failure can come on gradually, but the condition is serious and the sooner it’s caught, the sooner you and your vet can take steps to slow the progression. Even though it is most common in older animals, renal disease and dysfunction can happen at any age. One of the reasons your pet’s doctor recommends a regular blood test is to keep informed of changes so we can be intervene early- providing relief and increasing longevity.

Treatment often includes a diet with less protein and sodium, with an emphasis on high-quality protein sources. Keeping stress and blood pressure low are also key. Kidney transplants have had some success but are very expensive and often not an option for families.

If you have questions about kidney disease or your pet is showing any of the symptoms above, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 425.242.4057.