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Does my Old Cat Have Kidney Disease?

on March 25, 2015
Posted in Cats

Q:

Dr. Huntingford,

I was hoping to get your opinion as to a problem my 17 year old male cat is having. He is beginning to show signs of early kidney disease. This past December, we started giving him your Kidney Support Gold which has helped tremendously! He has had three rounds of blood work, with the first round back in October, then in November and again within the past week. His blood work was good for the most part. His creatinine level stayed about the same from October to November, but went down from 3.7 to 2.6 in the blood work just done this past week. However, his BUN has increased with each round of blood work, with it being 68 in the most recent workup. So, the creatinine level has decreased, but, the BUN continues to increase.

Back in October, we had to take him to our local emergency pet hospital one weekend because he was having significant trouble walking in his hind legs. It was almost like a waddle in his back legs. The vet there thought he could possibly have a saddle thrombus, which has since been ruled out. She did the blood work, an x-ray and gave him sub-q fluids. She said he was beginning to show some signs of arthritis.

A few days thereafter, we spoke with our regular vet after he reviewed the notes from that visit. He indicated our cat could possibly have vestibular disease. He did continue to get better over time, but every so often would have a little trouble walking, but not to the great significance he did when we took him to the emergency pet hospital that particular time. Also, I might add, since this first episode in October, sometimes when he goes into a deep sleep, he jumps and jerks to the point that he raises up off whatever he is sleeping on and it is hard to wake him up.

Then in November, we took him in for his annual checkup. Our vet repeated the blood work then (this was the second round). As indicated, above, his creatinine level stayed about the same (3.7), but the BUN was a little more elevated than in October. Everything else was good. During this visit, our vet suggested starting him on the KD food for kidney function.

At that time, we found your website and the Kidney Support Gold and decided to order it. We started giving it to him the first part of December, 2014. Our vet wanted to repeat the blood work after the first of the year, but, I kept putting it off as it is such a traumatic event taking this cat to the vet, but, I also wanted to give the Kidney Support Gold time to work to see if it was going to help. During this time, I did not feed him the KD food as I was curious to see if the Kidney Support Gold was working. In any event, about a month ago, my husband and I did go in and talk to the vet about the problems he continued to have with walking/stumbling. He wanted us to try him on Prednisone. It did seem like it helped, but did not totally make him completely well.

He initially took 6 pills, one each day for three days (3 pills), and then one every other day (the remaining 3 pills). He was off of the Prednisone for about a week and a half when we started him on it again because he started having some of the same issues again.

Then, late in the evening on Saturday, February 14, 2015, he went from being fine to barely able to walk. He had been asleep on our sofa, woke up and he jumped down onto the floor and at that point could barely walk. He kept wanting to fall to the left. It was getting late on that Saturday night, so we decided to see how he was the next morning before taking him to the emergency pet hospital, hoping he would be better.

Well, on Sunday morning, he could not walk at all. When we tried to stand him up, he would just fall over on his left side and lie down. So, we took him in. That vet (a different one from the first time in October), did blood work (third round) and it showed his creatinine level had went down to 2.6 so the Kidney Support Gold has worked, but, his BUN was increased to 68. He also did an x-ray to see if he had fluid in his ears, which he didn’t as he thought that may be causing his problem. He gave him an enema because he could feel fecal matter in his colon, and also gave him sub-q fluids, and a shot of antibiotics. He also gave him some Meclizine for dizziness related to vertigo. He told us to continue with that, as well as the Prednisone.

He told us he did not have a saddle thrombus. He said he could have vestibular disease, or, he could be having episodes of mini strokes because he goes from being fine one minute and unable to walk the next. He said he also could possibly have a tumor. However, without putting him through all sorts of tests, it is very hard to say for sure what the problem is.

In any event, we brought him home and he has improved over the last week to the extent he can walk again now, but, not the greatest. He still wants to lean to the left somewhat when he is sitting or lying down, with his left front paw in front of the right. When he walks, he tries to put his left front paw in front of the right and his back feet sometimes slide out to the side on our hardwood floors, almost like he is skating and he still has the “waddle“. Also, he tends to lose his balance easily, such as when he steps from something that is only slightly elevated, like a rug, etc., but not to the point that he falls down. He had been slightly losing his balance somewhat prior to the episode in October, but not to the extent he has since October. However, the strange thing is that he could still jump onto the sofa and the bed, except for last week after the very bad episode on Sunday the 15th. But, last night, he jumped onto the sofa with no problem, but, I don’t want him jumping down because I am afraid he might hurt himself. Also, his appetite has been fine through all of this. He eats and drinks fine, well maybe not drinking enough, but he does drink .

This past Tuesday, February 17, 2015, I spoke to another vet at our vet’s office, and she was of the opinion that he is dehydrated since his BUN continues to rise. She had me start him on Azodyl to help with his kidney function. She also told me to continue with the Kidney Support Gold, the Prednisone and the Meclizine. I did take him in this past Friday, February 20, 2015, for some sub-q fluids as he didn’t seem to be doing as well since having him at the emergency pet hospital the Sunday prior. They gave him 200 mil. (his weight was between 10-11 lbs.). Since then, he does seem to be doing better, although he still leans to the left somewhat, with the left paw in front of the right. They want him to have sub-q fluids twice a week, so, I have him scheduled again for this Wednesday.

So, as you can see, this is a lot of information. We are just trying to figure out if he is (a) just dehydrated that is causing this problem, or, (b) is he having mini strokes, or, (c) does he have vestibular disease, or, (d) does he have a possible tumor or cancer, or, (e) is it arthritis causing him to have this problem.

I might add that we did order the Agile Joint and Smooth BM Gold at the same time we ordered the Kidney Support Gold, but, I have not given the Agile Joint and Smooth BM Gold as often as I should. It seemed he was very lethargic when I gave him all three, but, it may have just been a coincidence. Since this latest episode, I have started giving him the Agile Joint on a regular basis to help with the arthritis. I have not been giving him the Smooth BM because I am using Laxaire to get the pills down him and it also helps with the constipation! However, I have started feeding him the KD food for kidney function, but, I am still using the Kidney Support Gold, along with the Agile Joint. I put the drops in his food.

So, I was wondering what your opinion or recommendation is regarding this cat’s situation? I didn’t know if you had ever seen or dealt with anything of this nature in your practice. It has, unfortunately, been a mystery and taking a stab in the dark as to how to treat him, without putting him through all sorts of expensive testing. I really thought we were possibly going to have to have him put to sleep on Sunday, the 15th, and I could hardly stand the thought of that! Despite his current situation, he is a very healthy cat. The vet at the emergency pet hospital told us that he had very good muscle mass/bone structure and seemed to be in very good shape for his age.

In any event, do you possibly have any suggestions as to what we should do or another product or products that we might try that you sell? I really appreciate your time in reviewing this. Thank you so much, in advance, for any help you can give us. Please let me know if there is any other information that I can provide that would assist you.

Thank you very much for your time, etc.!!!
Lori

A:

Hi Lori

This is a complicated case but I have seen similar cats. It does seem he is dehydrated and sounds like vestibular disease or a brain tumor. Find a vet acupuncturist is your area to help you with this. Not sure I would be using agile joints but I would continue the kidney support, fluids and Smooth Bm if needed. Look at the websites www.ivas.org or www.tcvm.com for vet acupuncturists.

Best to you,

Dr Jan

Read also: Sassy overcomes cat kidney disease

Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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Supports normal and stable kidney function. Helps maintain appetite and weight, urination and thirst, as well as immune support.

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