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Feline Polycystic Kidney Disease

"Feline polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a condition found mostly in Persians and in Exotic Shorthair cats. It is an inherited disease. Affected cats have multiple cysts in their kidneys, which prevent the kidneys from functioning properly."

Feline Polycystic Kidney Disease Symptoms

Symptoms of polycystic kidney disease in cats include:

* Reduced appetite
* Weight loss
* Excessive thirst
* Depression

While the cysts are present from birth, symptoms do not normally show up until about seven years of age, when the cysts begin to grow. The kidneys will become enlarged and eventually the cat will go into kidney failure.

In addition to the above symptoms, signs that your cat is in kidney failure include increase urination (your cat may begin peeing outside of the litter box), bad breath, and vomiting. Take your cat to the vet if she shows any of the signs listed here.

Feline Polycystic Kidney Disease Diagnosis

Polycystic kidney disease in cats is diagnosed by abdominal ultrasound. The cysts are easy to see. Even though symptoms don't appear until cats are much older, P DK can be diagnosed in kittens as young as six weeks old, because the cysts are present from birth.

In cats that are used for breeding, owners may have them checked for the condition at a young age. Otherwise, owners may not become aware of the condition until their cat begins to show symptoms.

The primary advantage to knowing about the condition at an early age is that breeders will not breed an affected cat, since the condition is hereditary. There is no treatment to prevent the cysts from growing or to keep problems from developing as the cat ages.

Feline Polycystic Kidney Disease Treatment

There is no specific treatment for polycystic kidney disease. It is treated much like chronic kidney failure.

A special diet is recommended, one that is slightly lower in protein than normal and is also low in phosphorous. That's because protein and phosphorous are difficult for the kidneys to process. Medication can also be given to bind phosphorous in the intestines so it is not absorbed by the body. Fresh drinking water should be available at all times.

Despite treatment, the kidneys will eventually fail. How long the cat will survive depends on a variety of factors, including the size of the cysts (the can vary in size from one millimeter to several millimeters), the number of cysts, and the age of the cat when the cysts begin to grow and the kidneys begin to enlarge.

You might also want to discuss natural remedies for additional kidney support and to help prolong kidney function. Pet Alive Kidney Support is made specifically for this purpose and is a good source for research on the topic. Discuss this option with your veterinarian so that they can track progress and provide insight into this approach.

Sources

Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease in Persians/Exotic Shorthairs
David Biller and Marie Thiers

Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease in Persian Cats
David Biller, Stephen DiBartola, and Wilma J. Lagerwerf

 

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