Kidney Disease, Cat Food Diet and Treatment - Petcha
Low protein intake is often prescribed in kidney failure diets, because excess protein stresses the kidneys during the breakdown of wastes and other materials. However cats, who are natural carnivores, may reject many low-protein foods and as a result can become dehydrated and malnourished. Instead of dwelling on protein, carb and fat content, focus on feeding fresh (wet) meats, oils and anything else your cat will eat. During his body's time of nutritional need, it's better for him to eat something than nothing.
Kidneys are important because they remove waste substances from the blood, and maintain the normal balance of fluid and minerals within the body. Once kidney damage occurs, the consequences are usually irreversible. Hill's nutritionists and veterinarians developed Prescription Diet k/d, clinical nutrition especially formulated to support your cat's kidney health. In fact, k/d is clinically tested nutrition to improve and lengthen quality of life. This irresistible food makes it easier for you to bond with your pet with gently cooked, bite-sized chunks of real chicken and natural ingredients with added vitamins and minerals.
(2) High Quality Protein - Many veterinarians state that diets consisting of high quality protein help cats with kidney issues. As the “obligate carnivore”, a cat most efficiently utilizes high quality protein for energy. What the cat does not use from its food is then sent into the bloodstream as waste. Eventually, this waste is filtered by the kidneys. It is therefore best to feed cats foods that will emit the least amount of harmful toxins into the bloodstream which will in turn be the least taxing on the kidneys. Such proteins are animal based proteins that contain clean muscle meat flesh. Inferior protein sources are those that come from animal by-products or from plant based sources, such as wheat gluten or corn gluten.Cat food specifically tailored for the needs of cats with renal failure should contain high-quality protein to minimize strain on kidneys. At first it might even be important to feed a low-protein diet, depending on the animal's illness and the vet's recommendations. A low-phosphorus diet can reduce mineral deposits in the kidneys. The food should also be low-sodium and contain omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E to slow disease progression. Cats need supplemental taurine. A B-vitamin complex will increase appetite and energy.Chronic renal (kidney) failure in cats is a common problem as pets age, especially those who have been fed a diet of primarily dry cat food. Switching to homemade cat food may offer the best chance of recovery.Long-term feeding of an all-dry-food diet is also suspected as a factor in CKD. Cats’ kidneys are highly efficient and adapted to life in the desert, where they would get most or all of their water from eating their prey. Cats eating dry cat food take in only half the water that cats on a canned or homemade diet get; this chronic dehydration can cause stress on the kidneys over time. Dry diets also predispose cats to lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD, LUTD, FUS, crystals, stones, cystitis) because they force such a high degree of urine concentration. Chronic or recurrent bladder disease may also be a factor in the development of CKD.Laboratory tests are needed to definitively diagnose CKD. A blood test alone is usually not sufficient; a urinalysis must be taken at the same time the blood is drawn. Kidney disease is likely present when the cat is “azotemic” AND the urine is not sufficiently concentrated. “Azotemia” means that there is an increase in particular compounds in the blood; specifically blood urea nitrogen–BUN–and/or creatinine. The measurement of urine concentration is called Urine Specific Gravity (USG). If the cat’s USG is less than 1.035 (1.030 in dogs) AND azotemia is present, then kidney function is abnormal. BUN and/or creatinine may be high if the animal is dehydrated (common in cats who eat a lot of dry food, or during hot weather or after a stressful car ride). They may also be increased in animals on a high protein diet. As long as the kidneys are able to concentrate the urine, small elevations in BUN and/or creatinine are usually not a cause for alarm.You may have heard that restricting protein is recommended for cats in kidney failure. Although this has been the “standard” treatment for decades, as far as cats are concerned, it has always been–and remains–very controversial. High protein/high phosphorus diets will not cause kidney disease in a normal cat, and restricted protein does not prevent kidney failure in a healthy cat. Some experts suggest that protein has no effect on the ultimate progression of renal disease. Research also shows that even very high protein diets do not make renal failure worse in cats (although high protein does worsen the disease in dogs and humans). (One pet food maker recently completed a study it claims shows that its restricted-protein diet increases lifespan in CKD cats. However, because the study has not been published, it is impossible to evaluate the data, which is contradicted by other research.) The real culprit is actually phosphorus, which meat contains in large amounts. The only practical way to restrict phosphorus is to restrict protein. Decreasing phosphorus intake (by restricting protein) can help some cats feel better, so it may be worth a try in a symptomatic cat. Adding a phosphate binder may also be needed.