Kidney Disease In Pets

Kidney Disease In Pets

Kidney (or Renal) disease or failure are general terms used to describe problems with the kidneys and their ability to function properly. Kidney disease is one of the most common problems we see in pets at Castle Vets. Continue reading

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High Blood Pressure In Cats (Feline Hypertension)

Hypertension

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a fairly common but potentially severe problem for older cats. Over the past few years the importance of monitoring blood pressure in older cats has been recognised and monitoring equipment is now readily available in most veterinary practices.

What is Blood Pressure and Hypertension?

The blood pressure is the force that is exerted by the blood against the walls of blood vessels. A certain amount of pressure is needed to enable the heart to effectively pump blood around the body in order to deliver oxygen and energy to the various organs, muscles and tissues. When an animal (or person) becomes hypertensive, the blood is pumped with greater force than normal which puts extra strain on the vessels, arteries and heart.

What Causes Hypertension?

Hypertension in cats may be caused by (or be a side effect of) another disease, illness or problem such as Kidney disease, Heart Disease, Hyperthyroidism, Diabetes and Obesity. However, many older cats can develop hypertension without having other illnesses or disease, or even showing any other clinical signs. Sadly if it is not detected early on and is left untreated, it can cause serious and sometimes sudden consequences, including the following illnesses and symptoms

  • Kidney problems
  • Heart problems
  • Neurological (Brain) problems such as seizures or disorientation
  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Dilated pupils (large pupils that do not get smaller in the light)
  • Blood spots/bleeding in the eyes
  • Blindness
  • Respiratory problems

If your cat is showing any of the above signs, please make an appointment for your cat to be examined by veterinary surgeon.

How is blood pressure measured?

Blood pressure is measured in cats using the same method that is used for humans.

In humans, two values are taken into account, the higher one being the blood pressure in the arteries that is recorded when the heart beats (systolic pressure) and the lower value, when the heart rests between beats (diastolic pressure). These two values are recorded one above the other, separated by a slash mark; Normal human blood pressure is around 120/70-80 mmHg (which stands for millimetres of mercury). With cats, we tend just focus on the systolic blood pressure reading which is typically higher than humans, at around 120 to 170 mmHg.

Sphygmomanometer Dial

How Is Hypertension Diagnosed?

The vet will make a diagnosis by using the Sphygmomanometer as mentioned below, but also by taking into account any other clinical symptoms that your cat may have.
Because hypertension is often associated with other conditions such as kidney disease and hyperthyroidism it may be tested for if these illnesses are present, or, if hypertension is the initial problem, blood tests may be performed to check for these other illnesses.

Sometimes the vet may need to take 2 or 3 readings over 2 to 3 weeks to confirm a diagnosis of hypertension. Factors such as the cat being anxious, distressed or even excited can give ‘false high’ pressure readings which is why your vet may recommend several measurements over the course of a few weeks.

Blood pressure monitoring

Monitoring the blood pressure in cats is a non-invasive and relatively straightforward procedure that can be carried out by a vet or veterinary nurse at the practice (as long as the cat is cooperative and happy to sit still for a while!). The procedure is very similar to human blood pressure testing and is measured with an instrument called a sphygmomanometer.

  1. A small cuff attached to the sphygmomanometer is wrapped around the cat’s leg (or occasionally the tail).
  2. A Doppler probe is used to listen for the pulse in the cat’s lower leg, near the main stopper pad. The probe is a handheld diagnostic device that emits ultrasonic waves into the body; it picks up the sound of the blood flow (pulse) and enables the vet or veterinary nurse to hear it.
  3. The cuff is gently inflated with a pump until the pulse can no longer be detected, then a valve is opened to slowly deflate the cuff.
  4. The reading on the sphygmomanometer is recorded when the pulse can be heard again as the cuff is deflating.
  5. The measurements are taken 3-6 times and the vet will use an average of the readings as the blood pressure measurement.
Sphygmomanometer#2

Sphygmomanometer & Cuff

Treating Hypertension

Medication is available to treat hypertension and fortunately, with appropriate monitoring and treatment, feline hypertension is usually manageable. Early diagnosis means that treatment can be started as soon as possible, which reduces the risk of damage to the body from persistent high blood pressure. Occasionally, if the underlying disease or illness is treated, the hypertension may resolve on its own, but most cats will need to be on medication for life after diagnosis. Many cats may also be on medication for other conditions at the same time.

How often should blood pressure be monitored?

We usually recommend that any cat over the age of 8 years old is tested annually to make sure they do not have hypertension. In healthy cats this will be a record of what is normal for them and the offers the possibility of detecting hypertension early on before other signs are present.
If the vet has diagnosed hypertension, they may initially recommend monthly monitoring until it is under control. This may then be reduced to a test every 3 months or so.

BP1

The aim is to keep cats as calm as possible during the monitoring procedure to avoid the ‘white coat effect’ of blood pressure being raised due to anxiety.  Some cats will be better away from their owners and some cats will prefer to stay with their owners.

 

If your cat is already showing any of the clinical symptoms mentioned above, you should book an appointment for him or her to be examined by the veterinary surgeon as soon as possible.

 

Feline Hyperthyroidism

Feline Hyperthyroidism is one of the most common diseases seen in senior cats at Castle Vets. It can occur in any breed or sex of cat, but usually occurs in cats over the age of 10 years old (although it is occasionally seen in younger individuals).

Hyperthyroidism in most cats is caused by a benign (non-cancerous) change in one or both of the cat’s thyroid glands, in rare cases it can also be caused by a malignant (cancerous) growth or change in the thyroid gland. Unfortunately no one knows what causes these changes to occur, but they both make the thyroid gland produce excessive amounts of the thyroid hormone Thyroxine. Continue reading

Kidney Disease In Pets

Kidney (or Renal) disease or failure are general terms used to describe problems with the kidneys and their ability to function properly. Kidney disease is one of the most common problems that vets see in pets. Continue reading

Feline Hypertension (high blood pressure)

cat sleeping

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a fairly commonly seen, but potentially severe problem for older cats. Over the past few years the importance of monitoring blood pressure in older cats has been recognised by veterinary surgeons and monitoring equipment is now readily available in most veterinary practices.

What is Blood Pressure and Hypertension?

The blood pressure is the force that is exerted by the blood against the walls of blood vessels. A certain amount of pressure is needed to enable the heart to effectively pump blood around the body in order to deliver oxygen and energy to the various organs, muscles and tissues. When an animal (or person) becomes hypertensive, the blood is pumped with greater force than normal which puts extra strain on the vessels, arteries and heart.

What Causes Hypertension?

Hypertension in cats may be caused by (or be a side effect of) another disease, illness or problem such as

  • Kidney disease
  • Heart Disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

However, many older cats can develop hypertension without having other illnesses or disease, or even showing any other clinical signs and if it is not detected early on and is left untreated it can cause serious and sometimes sudden consequences. Including the following illnesses and symptoms

  • Kidney problems
  • Heart problems
  • Neurological (Brain) problems such as seizures or disorientation
  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Dilated pupils (large pupils that do not get smaller in the light)
  • Blood spots/bleeding in the eyes
  • Blindness
  • Respiratory problems

If your cat is showing any of the above signs, please make an appointment for your cat to be examined by veterinary surgeon.

How is blood pressure measured?

Blood pressure is measured in cats using the same method that is used for humans. In humans, two values are taken into account, the higher one being the blood pressure in the arteries that is recorded when the heart beats (systolic pressure) and the lower value, when the heart rests between beats (diastolic pressure). These two values are recorded one above the other, separated by a slash mark; Normal human blood pressure is around 120/70-80 mmHg (which stands for millimetres of mercury). With cats, we tend just focus on the systolic blood pressure reading which is typically higher than humans, at around 120 to 170 mmHg.

Sphygmomanometer Dial

Sphygmomanometer

How Is Hypertension Diagnosed?

Your vet will make a diagnosis by using a Sphygmomanometer (as mentioned below), but also by taking into account any other clinical symptoms that your cat may have.
Because hypertension is often associated with other conditions such as kidney disease and hyperthyroidism , blood pressure may be tested for if these illnesses are present or, if hypertension is the initial problem, blood tests may be performed to check for these other illnesses.

Sometimes the vet may need to take 2 or 3 readings over 2 to 3 weeks to confirm a diagnosis of hypertension. Factors such as the cat being anxious, distressed or even excited can give ‘false high’ pressure readings which is why your vet may recommend several measurements over the course of a few weeks.

Blood pressure monitoring

Monitoring the blood pressure in cats is a non-invasive and relatively straightforward procedure that can be carried out by a vet or veterinary nurse at the practice (as long as the cat is cooperative and happy to sit still for a while!). The procedure is very similar to human blood pressure testing and is measured with an instrument called a sphygmomanometer.

  1. A small cuff attached to the Sphygmomanometer is wrapped around the cat’s leg (or occasionally the tail).
  2. A Doppler probe is used to find the pulse in the foot. The probe is a handheld diagnostic device that emits ultrasonic waves into the body; it picks up the sound of the blood flow (pulse) and enables the vet or veterinary nurse to hear it.
  3. The cuff is gently inflated with a pump until
    the pulse can no longer be detected, then a valve is opened to slowly deflate the cuff.
  4. The reading on the sphygmomanometer is recorded when the pulse can be heard again as the cuff is deflating.
  5. The measurements are taken 3-6 times and the vet will use an average of the readings as the blood pressure measurement.

Treating Hypertension

Medication is available to treat hypertension and fortunately, with appropriate monitoring and treatment, feline hypertension is usually manageable. Early diagnosis means that treatment can be started as soon as possible, which reduces the risk of damage to the body from persistent high blood pressure. Occasionally, if the underlying disease or illness is treated, the hypertension may resolve on its own, but most cats will need to be on medication for life after diagnosis. Many cats may also be on medication for other conditions at the same time.

How often should blood pressure be monitored?

We usually recommend that any cat over the age of 7 years old is tested annually to make sure they do not have hypertension. In healthy cats this will be a record of what is normal for them and the offers the possibility of detecting hypertension early on before other signs are present.
If the vet has diagnosed hypertension, they may initially recommend weekly or monthly monitoring until it is under control; the monitoring frequency may then be reduced to a test every 3 months or so.

BP1

We aim to keep cats as calm as possible during the monitoring procedure to avoid the effect of blood pressure being raised due to anxiety. Some cats are better away from their owners and some cats prefer to stay with their owners.

Blood Pressure Monitoring at Castle Vets

Cats over 7 years old who are members of the Castle Vets Pet Health Club are eligible for a free annual blood pressure test, which can be booked with a veterinary nurse as an outpatient procedure.
If you are not a member of our pet health club, there will be a charge for blood pressure monitoring, but it can be booked the same way.

If your cat is already showing any of the clinical symptoms mentioned above, you should book an appointment for him or her to be examined by the veterinary surgeon.

For further information or advice about hypertension or any other pet related issues, please contact your veterinary practice for advice

 

 

 

Kidney Disease & Failure

Castle Vets No Text PHCKidney disease and renal failure are general terms used to describe problems with the kidneys and their ability to function properly. Kidney disease is one of the most common problems we see in pets at Castle Vets in Reading.

The kidneys are responsible for maintaining the normal composition of the blood by filtering waste products from the body such as urea, ammonia, drugs and toxic substances. They also keep the volume of water in the body constant, help regulate blood pressure, maintain calcium levels and produce a hormone that encourages red blood cell production. The kidneys filter waste through thousands of tubes known as nephrons; if these become damaged it makes it more difficult for the kidneys to filter out the toxins from the blood stream which will make the pet feel very unwell and cause symptoms such as

  • Increased thirstKidney function
  • Changes to urination – increased, decreased or toileting in the house
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhoea
  • Hunched position (pain)
  • Poor coat

If your pet is showing any of these signs then you should have him or her checked by a vet as soon as possible; it is also a great help if you can get a fresh urine sample from your pet, as this simple and inexpensive test can give your vet information about how well the kidneys are working.

Common causes of kidney disease

One of the most common reasons for kidney disease and deterioration is the age of the animal, but kidney disease may also happen very suddenly (acute kidney failure), depending on what has caused it to happen.

Chronic kidney disease: A loss of kidney function that occurs over time, that may be caused by old age and general wear and tear, disease causing deterioration, or a previous problem of acute renal failure.

Acute kidney disease or failure: The function of the kidneys is affected very suddenly and may be caused by an infection, heatstroke, snake or insect bites and the ingestion of toxic substances such as raisins, lilies or antifreeze.

Hereditary/Congenital Problems: These are present at birth, but may not always be discovered until the animal is older. Examples of these problems include,

  • Renal dysplasia – One or both kidneys are small in size and do not mature or function properly.
  • Polycystic kidneys – The kidneys are bigger than normal and develop cysts inside them

Infections: Bacteria entering the blood streams via infections or from dental disease, can cause problems in many organs including the kidneys

Stress on the kidneys: This is usually as a result of other illnesses or problems such as hyperthyroidism, heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, urinary tract problems, cancer and trauma such as a road traffic accident or kick.

How kidney disease is diagnosed

Examination: The vet will give the animal a thorough examination, taking into account any of the clinical signs and symptoms listed above.

Urinalysis: This relatively inexpensive test can give the vet an idea of how well the kidneys are functioning and indicate a problem, but is not sufficient in itself to diagnose kidney disease.

Blood Test: This can give the vet a really good idea of how well the kidneys are functioning. Blood tests are repeated frequently in animals with kidney problems so that the vet can monitor for decrease of function.

Ultrasound and/or X-ray: The vet will be able to look at the size and shape of the kidneys on both X-ray and ultrasound. Ultrasound may also be used to see the density of the kidney and to guide a needle for a biopsy of the kidney.

urinalysis-large
Routine treatment of kidney disease

Fluid Therapy: An animal with kidney damage or failure can’t concentrate their urine, which means that too much fluid is passed out of the body. Initially the animal may need to stay at the practice to be given extra fluids via an intravenous (into the vein) drip over a couple of days, in order to rehydrate them and also so that the vet can monitor urination. Once the animal is more stable he or she may just require fluid boluses subcutaneously (under the skin) on a regular basis; at Castle Vets we like to teach pet owners how to do this, so that the animal is able to stay in the comfort of their own home when receiving treatment (If this is not possible then it can be done during a nurse consultation instead).

Veterinary Diet Foods: These are often recommended by the vet because they are specially designed to aid renal function. They are often lower in protein, phosphorus and salt than regular pet foods, which reduces the stress on the kidneys and they contain extra fatty acids to help combat the increased body acidity that may occur with kidney problems.

Medications: Your vet will recommend specific medications to help with kidney function and to treat underlying infections and side effects such as nausea and vomiting; they may also prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements to replace what is being lost by the body. It is vitally important that you discuss any ‘over the counter’ supplements that you want to give your pet with your vet as some may not be suitable at all and may even cause more damage.

Regular Monitoring: your vet will ask to see your pet on a fairly regular basis in order to monitor your pet’s condition and make adjustments as necessary to fluid therapy, diet and medications. Blood tests and blood pressure monitoring and weight checks will be necessary to ensure that your pet is doing well on the prescribed treatments.

Other possible treatments for kidney disease may include

Stem Cell Therapy – This is a fairly new therapy to the UK, although it has been available in other countries for a few years. The idea is that the adult stem cells help body organs to regenerate and repair. The procedure involves giving a general anaesthetic to the patient in order for the vet to harvest fat from the abdomen; this fat is then sent to the laboratory where the stem cells are isolated, concentrated and then returned to the veterinary practice. The stem cell therapy is then administered to the patient intravenously. Most veterinary practices could, in theory, provide stem cell therapy to feline patients, however, it is not a commonly used treatment due to the invasive procedure and the very high cost of the treatment.

Dialysis – This is process that cleanses the blood of toxins and is commonly used in human patients. The dialysis machine filters the blood and rids the body of harmful waste, extra salt, and water. Dialysis is an intensive and expensive procedure that is not widely available in the UK at the moment, although some veterinary hospitals may be able to provide treatment.

Kidney transplants – This is a very expensive procedure that has been shown to be more successful in cats than dogs. Although it may extend the life of the animal for up to 3 years, little more than half of the cats that have the transplant survive for 6 months after surgery. There is also a big question about whether it is and ethically acceptable procedure because the donor and recipient animals are unable to give consent. Kidney transplant treatment is not currently available in the UK.

The outlook for a pet with renal disease

Advances in veterinary medicine and treatments mean that there is now a lot that vets can do to help a pet with kidney disease to feel better and means that many pets with chronic kidney disease go on to live for several more years after their initial diagnosis, of course this may also depend on the cause and severity of the kidney damage before diagnosis. With early and intensive treatment, some forms of acute renal failure may even be reversible.

If you would like to book your pet in for a health check or have any concerns about his or her health, please contact us on 01189 574488 or visit our website

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Kidney Disease and Renal Failure

Castle Vets No Text PHCKidney disease and renal failure are general terms used to describe problems with the kidneys and their ability to function properly. Kidney disease is one of the most common problems we see in pets at Castle Vets in Reading.

The kidneys are responsible for maintaining the normal composition of the blood by filtering waste products from the body such as urea, ammonia, drugs and toxic substances. They also keep the volume of water in the body constant, help regulate blood pressure, maintain calcium levels and produce a hormone that encourages red blood cell production. The kidneys filter waste through thousands of tubes known as nephrons; if these become damaged it makes it more difficult for the kidneys to filter out the toxins from the blood stream which will make the pet feel very unwell and cause symptoms such as

  • Increased thirstKidney function
  • Changes to urination – increased, decreased or toileting in the house
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhoea
  • Hunched position (pain)
  • Poor coat

If your pet is showing any of these signs then you should have him or her checked by a vet as soon as possible; it is also a great help if you can get a fresh urine sample from your pet, as this simple and inexpensive test can give your vet information about how well the kidneys are working.

Common causes of kidney disease

One of the most common reasons for kidney disease and deterioration is the age of the animal, but kidney disease may also happen very suddenly (acute kidney failure), depending on what has caused it to happen.

Chronic kidney disease: A loss of kidney function that occurs over time, that may be caused by old age and general wear and tear, disease causing deterioration, or a previous problem of acute renal failure.

Acute kidney disease or failure: The function of the kidneys is affected very suddenly and may be caused by an infection, heatstroke, snake or insect bites and the ingestion of toxic substances such as raisins, lilies or antifreeze.

Hereditary/Congenital Problems: These are present at birth, but may not always be discovered until the animal is older. Examples of these problems include,

  • Renal dysplasia – One or both kidneys are small in size and do not mature or function properly.
  • Polycystic kidneys – The kidneys are bigger than normal and develop cysts inside them

Infections: Bacteria entering the blood streams via infections or from dental disease, can cause problems in many organs including the kidneys

Stress on the kidneys: This is usually as a result of other illnesses or problems such as hyperthyroidism, heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, urinary tract problems, cancer and trauma such as a road traffic accident or kick.

How kidney disease is diagnosed

Examination: The vet will give the animal a thorough examination, taking into account any of the clinical signs and symptoms listed above.

Urinalysis: This relatively inexpensive test can give the vet an idea of how well the kidneys are functioning and indicate a problem, but is not sufficient in itself to diagnose kidney disease.

Blood Test: This can give the vet a really good idea of how well the kidneys are functioning. Blood tests are repeated frequently in animals with kidney problems so that the vet can monitor for decrease of function.

Ultrasound and/or X-ray: The vet will be able to look at the size and shape of the kidneys on both X-ray and ultrasound. Ultrasound may also be used to see the density of the kidney and to guide a needle for a biopsy of the kidney.

urinalysis-large
Routine treatment of kidney disease

Fluid Therapy: An animal with kidney damage or failure can’t concentrate their urine, which means that too much fluid is passed out of the body. Initially the animal may need to stay at the practice to be given extra fluids via an intravenous (into the vein) drip over a couple of days, in order to rehydrate them and also so that the vet can monitor urination. Once the animal is more stable he or she may just require fluid boluses subcutaneously (under the skin) on a regular basis; at Castle Vets we like to teach pet owners how to do this, so that the animal is able to stay in the comfort of their own home when receiving treatment (If this is not possible then it can be done during a nurse consultation instead).

Veterinary Diet Foods: These are often recommended by the vet because they are specially designed to aid renal function. They are often lower in protein, phosphorus and salt than regular pet foods, which reduces the stress on the kidneys and they contain extra fatty acids to help combat the increased body acidity that may occur with kidney problems.

Medications: Your vet will recommend specific medications to help with kidney function and to treat underlying infections and side effects such as nausea and vomiting; they may also prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements to replace what is being lost by the body. It is vitally important that you discuss any ‘over the counter’ supplements that you want to give your pet with your vet as some may not be suitable at all and may even cause more damage.

Regular Monitoring: your vet will ask to see your pet on a fairly regular basis in order to monitor your pet’s condition and make adjustments as necessary to fluid therapy, diet and medications. Blood tests and blood pressure monitoring and weight checks will be necessary to ensure that your pet is doing well on the prescribed treatments.

Other possible treatments for kidney disease may include

Stem Cell Therapy – This is a fairly new therapy to the UK, although it has been available in other countries for a few years. The idea is that the adult stem cells help body organs to regenerate and repair. The procedure involves giving a general anaesthetic to the patient in order for the vet to harvest fat from the abdomen; this fat is then sent to the laboratory where the stem cells are isolated, concentrated and then returned to the veterinary practice. The stem cell therapy is then administered to the patient intravenously. We have recently started using stem cell therapy for one of our feline patients at Castle Vets.

Dialysis – This is process that cleanses the blood of toxins and is commonly used in human patients. The dialysis machine filters the blood and rids the body of harmful waste, extra salt, and water. Dialysis is an intensive and expensive procedure that is not widely available in the UK at the moment, although some veterinary hospitals may be able to provide treatment.

Kidney transplants – This is a very expensive procedure that has been shown to be more successful in cats than dogs. Although it may extend the life of the animal for up to 3 years, little more than half of the cats that have the transplant survive for 6 months after surgery. There is also a big question about whether it is and ethically acceptable procedure because the donor and recipient animals are unable to give consent. Kidney transplant treatment is not currently available in the UK.

The outlook for a pet with renal disease

Advances in veterinary medicine and treatments mean that there is now a lot that vets can do to help a pet with kidney disease to feel better and means that many pets with chronic kidney disease go on to live for several more years after their initial diagnosis, of course this may also depend on the cause and severity of the kidney damage before diagnosis. With early and intensive treatment, some forms of acute renal failure may even be reversible.

If you would like to book your pet in for a health check or have any concerns about his or her health, please contact us on 01189 574488 or visit our website

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