June 17, 2020 Cats Internal Medicine

Chronic Kidney Disease in Cats and Subcutaneous Fluids

A cat sits on an exam table

Chronic Kidney Disease in Cats and Subcutaneous Fluids

June is Adopt a Cat Month, and I hope lots of cats will be getting fur-ever homes this month. In honor of our paw-some feline friends, I am going to devote all blogposts this month to feline topics. Today’s blogpost is about chronic kidney disease, one of the top diseases affecting our feline friends.

Approximately 10% of cats over the age of 10 years will develop chronic kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease is a sustained decrease in the kidney’s ability to filter waste products of protein digestion from the bloodstream. The decrease in function is measured using a variety of urine and blood tests, most commonly urine specific gravity and blood creatinine concentration. As kidney function decreases, the urine becomes dilute and creatinine climbs.

Why do veterinarians prescribe fluids for chronic kidney disease?

One of the jobs of the kidneys is to regulate water balance in the body. When kidneys are not working well, one of two situations occur: either the kidneys can’t excrete excess water, so no urine is produced and the body becomes overhydrated; or, more commonly, the kidneys produce large volumes of urine and the cat becomes dehydrated. Administration of fluids combats dehydration.

How can I get more fluid into my cat with chronic kidney disease?

Cat families have several options to increase their cat’s water intake. Switching a cat from dry to canned food is one simple method. If your cat already eats canned food, consider adding water, chicken broth or other tasty fluid to the canned food. Some cats will drink more water if you get them a water fountain. If these steps don’t keep your cat hydrated, then your veterinarian might recommend giving fluids at home under your cat’s skin. The procedure is called subcutaneous, subque or SQ administration.

What do SQ fluids do?

Administration of SQ fluids in cats with chronic kidney disease corrects the dehydration associated with excessive urination. Your cat feels better, will eat better and maybe the kidney blood tests will be a bit lower. Despite all these good things, fluid administration doesn’t reverse the kidney disease.

Should I give my cat fluids under the skin?

The answer to this question will come from a discussion between you and your veterinarian. There is no right time to prescribe SQ fluids for a cat – this treatment is part of the art of veterinary medicine and less of the science. If SQ fluids are prescribed, then International Cat Care, a British feline charity has a nice video and step by step instructions on administering subcutaneous fluids to your cat.

Tags: adopt a cat month, cats, chronic kidney disease, subcutaneous fluid,

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