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How common is chronic renal failure in cats?

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Chronic renal failure occurs in 35 percent of older cats, according to Veterinary Practice News. The prevalence of kidney failure in younger felines is probably lower. Chronic renal failure is the leading cause of death in cats, according to WebMD, and the most common sign of a problem is frequent urination. Cats may use the litter box more often and even urinate outside the box when kidney function goes awry.

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Chronic renal failure causes kidney function to degrade over time, and when the disorder shows signs and symptoms, kidney function has decreased by as much as 70 percent, according to WebMD. Kidney failure can be caused by nephritis, infectious diseases such as feline leukemia, use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during periods of low blood pressure, toxins, prolonged use of antibiotics, hyperthyroidism and old age. Detecting chronic renal failure begins with chemical analysis of urine, X-rays, ultrasounds and even kidney biopsy to determine how far the chronic renal failure has progressed.

Treatment for kidney failure depends on the disease causing the failure, according to Cornell University. The most common treatments are intravenous fluids and special diets. Fluids and diet can slow kidney disease but not cure it. Diets typically include low protein and low phosphorous choices. Protein sources should be high quality, such as turkey, liver or cooked eggs. Food can be enriched with vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids to help cats with the disorder.

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