Can you die of CRF

CRF - Chronic Renal Failure in Cats

Chronic kidney failure (CRF) is a progressive disease of the kidneys that leads to death in many cats. Unfortunately, the kidneys are usually already severely damaged when the diagnosis is made and one can only try to support the healthy part of the kidneys, because kidney tissue unfortunately cannot regenerate.

Options for medical prevention against chronic kidney failure (CRF)

In order to take countermeasures in good time, you should start with seventh birthday of your cat once a year Blood count with special attention to the kidney values.

The so-called has existed for a few years SDMAThis is a kidney function test; the value can be determined using a routine blood test. It already reacts to minor changes in this area and should definitely be taken seriously.

What happens in the cat's body when there is renal insufficiency?

The approximately 200,000 functional building blocks (nephrons) of the kidney filter degradation products from the blood and regulate the electrolyte balance. In the case of CRF, these nephrons gradually die and degradation products and electrolytes are no longer effectively processed.

The poisonous breakdown products such as ammonia can no longer be excreted with the urine and then accumulate in the cat's body slowly poison them (Uremia = urine poisoning).

In the further course of the disease it then comes to Foci of inflammation in the body, including the mucous membranes, are usually severely affected. In addition, it comes to Electrolyte disorders, to a decreased absorption of nutrients as well Blood pressure problemsbecause the kidney is responsible for its regulation.

Due to the progressive poisoning of the body, it then comes to motor problems and sometime to Organ failure.


Acute Renal Failure (ANI) or Chronic Renal Failure (CRF)

A acute renal failure usually occurs for a short time in cats, but can be treated if diagnosed in good time. Unrecognized, it usually leads to the death of the animal very quickly.
Triggers can be different Poisoning, for example by antifreeze or medication. But also a high one Blood loss (Accident) with a rapid drop in blood pressure or a blockage of the urinary tract (urinary stones) can as well bacterial infections lead to acute renal insufficiency in cats in a very short time.

The chronic renal failure on the other hand is characterized in cats by a slow deterioration kidney function. The disease is usually only noticed when up to 75% of the kidney tissue has died, as the symptoms are difficult to recognize at first.

What to do when diagnosing CRF?

It is true that chronic kidney failure is one of the main causes of death in (older) cats. It is wrong, however, that the diagnosis alone is a death sentence.

With the proper nutrition (low in phosphate), a reasonable one medication (I work homeopathically here) and a lot of love your darling can still have a good time.

How long this will take, of course, depends on a few factors:

  • How far has the disease progressed?
  • What other ailments are there?
  • How does the feeding work?

Stages of kidney disease

According to the IRIS (International Renal Interest Society), CRF is divided into four different stages:

  • Stage 1: creatinine below 1.6 mg / dl (or below 140)
  • Stage 2: creatinine 1.6-2.8 mg / dl (140-249), the residual kidney function is approx. 33%, weak signs of disease
  • Stage 3: Creatinine 2.9 - 5.0 mg / dl (250-442), the residual kidney function is approx. 25%, moderate signs of disease
  • Stage 4: creatinine above 5.0 mg / dl (above 442), the residual kidney function is below 10%, pronounced signs of disease

Is there a homeopathic treatment option for CRF?

Yes, definitely. I have treated a large number of cats with this diagnosis in my practice and can fall back on some success stories.

Last but not least, I was able to learn a lot about this clinical picture when treating my own cat and we have it Veterinarian's prognosis (6 months maximum) extended by over four years with good quality of life. I am still very grateful for that today.

Life expectancy with CRF

This statement is difficult to make because it depends on several factors. With timely treatment you can give the affected cat several months to years with a good quality of life.

Cheating the prognosis!
My own cat Bonnie was diagnosed at the age of 14.5, combined with the statement that she still had a maximum of 6 months to live. Two months before her 20th birthday, she then crossed the rainbow bridge.

Until then, she was leading the life of an elderly lady who was no longer fully fit, but very spoiled, who had consistently received her (homeopathic) medication and had to pay attention to her diet.

How do you recognize kidney problems in cats?

While acute renal failure can be cured with immediate treatment, chronic renal failure is fatal in the vast majority of cases.

Symptoms of Chronic Renal Failure

  • increased drinking
  • increased urination
  • General weakness
  • Increased inflammation of the gums with bad breath
  • Shaggy fur
  • The cats vomit frequently
  • Weight loss
  • Seizures
  • Blindness (a result of high blood pressure)
  • In the final stage, the animals smell of urine and often appear disoriented

Symptoms of acute renal insufficiency

  • Mostly due to poisoning or another disease process
  • Languor, lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rapid degradation of the general condition

Nutrition and tips for adequate hydration in CRF

Why does a cat with renal insufficiency eat poorly to very poorly?

In the vast majority of cases, a cat with CRF has a chronic condition gastritis (Inflammation of the gastric mucosa) and one Stomatitis (Inflammation of the gums). Both inflammations cause pain after or during feed intake. In addition, most animals feel permanently nauseous, which in turn affects their appetite and also promotes vomiting.

Tips for poor feed intake

  • Put the bowl a little higher, so the cat can eat more easily and does not have to bend over and the stomach acid does not "rise".
  • It is better to feed several small portions, these do not put too much strain on the stomach
  • In the evening it often helps to feed some elm bark (Slippery Elm Bark) so that the stomach is spared at night, this is often the reason for morning vomiting.


Encourage cats to drink

In order to flush the kidneys well and to support the elimination of toxins, it is extremely important that Puss drinks enough. But that is often easier said than done. Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Many cats can be animated to drink by splashing water, set up a drinking fountain
  • You can make the water “tastier” by adding some tuna juice, meat broth, meat juice or milk. But a maximum of 10-15% of the liquid.
  • Set up several places to drink, even in unusual places, sometimes it is enough to provide more opportunities to drink
  • Add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the food bowl with each meal
  • Avoid dry food, that removes even more fluid from the body
In order to be able to assess the fluid balance of your cat, you should do the so-called skin fold test every now and then. To do this, lift up a fold of skin and let go of it again. If the crease remains, your cat is dehydrated and needs to be hydrated.

Diet for a cat with kidney disease

Proper nutrition plays an important role, especially for cats with kidney disease. As a carnivore, cats' digestive systems are not designed to be fed grains. It lacks the enzymes necessary to metabolize these complex carbohydrates. In the wild, the only grain that felids ingest is the stomach contents of a mouse.

Too much grain puts an enormous strain on the kidneys of cats and is mostly at least to blame for chronic kidney failure. The common ready-made feeds have a more or less high proportion of grain. As a result, the cat gets into an undersupply of proteins and also the ph value shifts into a more basic area. The normal value for a cat is around 6.8, i.e. slightly acidic. This shift can lead to kidney, urinary and / or bladder stones.

In order to protect the damaged kidneys, it is important to lower the blood pressure; this can be achieved by reducing the sodium in the feed. Food should also contain only a small amount of phosphorus, as this promotes calcification in the kidneys. A beneficial effect on the kidneys will be the anti-inflammatory Salmon oil it is said that it exerts its anti-inflammatory effects directly in the kidney tissue.

So a kidney diet for cats is a must low in salt and phosphate be, but still do justice to a carnivore (meat eater). It is therefore important to feed high-quality protein sources with a low phosphate content as possible.

  • watch out for low calcium-phosphorus levels
  • Compensate for excess phosphorus with calcium carbonate
  • do not feed them bone meal, it contains a lot of phosphorus
  • do not feed bones either (see bone meal)
  • Do not feed brewer's yeast, it is better to give a Vit B complex
  • Add vitamin E drops
  • Replace vegetable oils with animal oils
  • do not feed grain

Unfortunately, the common kidney diet foods only partially meet these requirements, so make a sensible one Nutritional advice really sense here. Together with a nutritionist, you should look for a solution that the cat will eat and tolerate; this is not always easy.

Low protein meats are lamb, beef kidney, beef tongue, pork bacon or a well-grown neck steak. At the fish you can mature on cod, mackerel, eel, monkfish or pangasius and halibut. As a guideline, it is better to feed fatter varieties than protein-rich varieties.

There are now also finished ones BARF menus for cats with kidney disease!


Is Chronic Renal Failure Painful?

It is usually the side effects that cause the cat pain, the kidneys themselves are in most cases not the biggest problem here.

  • Stomach pain caused by gastritis (inflammation of the lining of the stomach)
  • Pain in the oral cavity from inflammation of the gums
  • Problems in the musculoskeletal system due to the progressive poisoning and deposits
  • General malaise

Infusions and other life-prolonging measures for CRF

Everyone has to decide for themselves and for their animal which measures should be carried out for how long. I always advise my patient owners to look carefully here because it should be around Quality of life and not just about quantity.

Especially in the last weeks of life, the time is often extended with regular infusions, which unfortunately no longer have any goal in my eyes, except to delay the suffering of animals, people and ultimately also the wallet.

Therefore, continuous infusion therapy is out of the question for me, a maximum of three infusions, if the kidneys do not function again then I would have my animal redeemed. Especially since it means only stress and pain for everyone if the animal has to go to the practice once or twice a week and there is no longer any real success to be achieved.

But everyone should and must make this decision themselves, until the time comes, there are a few things that can be done to enable the cat and yourself to have a good and sometimes unexpectedly long time with a good quality of life.

All the best


"Those who turn their hobby into a job never need to work again" (Confucius) - As an animal healer, I was able to fulfill this dream and combine my enthusiasm for naturopathy with my love for animals. I would like to share this happiness with you here on the blog.