- Signs of degenerative kidney disease are weight loss, appetite changes, changes in drinking and urination habits, bad breath and constipation. Since these are subtle signals, it is recommended that senior cats receive an examination annually, which looks for kidney problems.
- Degenerative kidney disease can be recognized through a complete blood panel and urinalysis. If these results cause concern, additional tests include abdominal radiography and ultrasonography.
- Treatment includes medication, diet change and increased hydration. The type of medication often depends on the symptoms, but the most commonly prescribed medication is calcitriol.
- Because cats often lose interest in hydration as they get older, it's important to entice your cat to drink. Keep water fresh daily or increase water intake through feeding wet cat food, low sodium chicken broth or tuna juice.
- Cats with kidney problems are often placed on a protein, sodium and phosphorous limited diet. Research is now showing, however, that a high-protein diet does benefit cats with kidney problems since cats rely solely on protein for their source of nutrients.