My 9 year old cat

Last Edited By Krjb Donovan
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2014 07:42 PM GMT


Hi Jana,

I have an almost 9 year old DSH tortie who recently went through a bout of nephritis. She was hospitalised for almost a week on IV fluids before her blood values for BUN and creatinine returned to the normal range. We don't know what caused the nephritis and are concerned that because her urine culture and sensitivity showed no bacterial infection it may recur and be worse the next time. While my cat was in the hospital on IV fluids she was being fed MediCal low protein canned food. She was still being force fed half a can per day and eating half a can during the night. She was sent home with low protein food and a bag of Plasmalyte A IV fluids and instructions on how to give them sub q. She hates the low protein food, so my vet said that since that particular diet is used in cats with kidney failure that she could return to the regular food which is Science Diet. As soon as she came home she decided to leave everything pertaining to the hospital behind and not co-operate well with the special diet or the fluids. I went back for repeat blood work just before Christmas and found that her BUN was well within the normal range and her creatinine was slightly elevated, but the vet said it was not too concerning and we made another appointment for January to recheck her blood and see what she is doing. I am kind of curious, when nephritis is found to be a cause for symptoms that could be kidney failure what causes it? What are the odds that she is going to get that sick again? We feed a decent quality food and we give her fluid on an as needed basis when her skin snaps back slower than it should. I am wondering as well if the chemicals normally found in a fish tank could have caused her bout with nephritis, as I caught her playing in one of my fish tanks and she did ingest some of the water. I didn't really think anything of it at the time, because fish are fairly sensitive little beings and I figured that it couldn't be that harmful to my cat if it wasn't hurting my fish....Could ingesting fish tank water have caused her kidney issues? Am I just being a worried mom or do I have good cause to be concerned? I am extremely worried that she may get really sick again and it is harder with her because I hand raised her from a week old. She's a sweet little girl and I just don't think I can handle all of the worry of her being sick enough to be hospitalised again. I really didn't realise that she was so sick, all we really saw in the way of change was a bit of vomiting, but as this is a multi cat household it can be harder to assess who is eating or using the box and how much....Do you have a specific easy to follow criteria for the administration of sub q fluids or is my vet tech's vague "give them as needed" specific enough? I just want to do the right thing and I have read literature that suggests that you can over hydrate an animal with sub q fluids...Any answers or help would be appreciated if you know or can find out the answers...Thanks in advance for taking the time to read my rambling and hopefully answer my biggest questions.


Hi Ali, I totally understand your concern over your cat and her kidney issues. I am facing the same thing with my 13 yr old cat. I really doubt that the chemicals in a fish tank are of a sufficient strength to be a problem with her. The fish would have died by now if that was the case.

Cat as they age have a good chance of getting kidney disease unfortunately. About 25% of all cats get it as they age. It is the largest single cause of death of older cats.

Let me address these issues in order by your question. If she won't eat the low protein food (I have never heard of Medical) try to put her on K/D, which is a low protein prescription diet by the makers of Science Diet, Hills. That is what my Floyd made it to 19 yrs old on. My cats are on Science Diet Senior now because one of them is only 5. I may switch the oldest to K/D because she is showing some signs of renal disease herself. As far as fluids go, I give about 25 to 30 MLS at one time subq when my 13 yr old Crouton has the same lack of snap to her skin. I might give them twice a day if she is really dumpy but usually only once a day. You can over-hydrate them and that is bad too. I have been doing this just recently as she vomited in the house and I could tell she wasn't feeling well. Sometimes I give her a B vitamin injection into the fluids (it really stings).

The last thing I can tell you unfortunately is that yes, there is a very good chance she could get sick again. She may not either. It is hard to say. Once the kidneys start showing signs of problems you have to know that between 60 and 80% of their function has already been lost. Cats usually don't show signs of renal failure until then. Now she could have had a chance case of nephritis which is more like a kidney infection and inflammation. Sometimes they never get it again. I can't really tell you. It could have been transitory in nature and she might have just picked up a little bug. I hope this has answered most of these questions for you. Sorry for the delay but I was out of town. Let me know if I can be of any more help.


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