Cats can develop a variety of different kidney diseases. Renal amyloidosis is an unique ailment that can occasionally be dangerously ill in cats. If a cat owner is aware of this critical problem, they will be able to keep their cat healthy for as long as is practical.
What is renal amyloidosis?
Renal amyloidosis results from the accumulation of amyloid surrounding kidney cells. Two examples of the tissues and organs around which amyloid can build in the body are the kidneys and liver. Damage to the kidneys will occur in cats with renal amyloidosis, a serious illness for which there is no known treatment.
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs found inside the belly of cats. They are essential for the body’s process of eliminating waste. When the kidneys cannot work properly, as in the case of a cat with renal amyloidosis, kidney failure and eventually death occur.
Symptoms of Cat Renal Amyloidosis
- Increased urination, thirst, and weight loss
- Swollen legs due to diarrhea
Most feline kidney diseases are similar to renal amyloidosis in terms of their indications and symptoms.
Excessive thirst and urination are sometimes the first signs of renal illness in cats that a cat owner observes. A cat with renal amyloidosis may urinate more frequently than usual, spend more time consuming liquids or searching for water elsewhere, such as in drinking glasses, birdbaths, or the sink, and as a result, leave larger wet marks in the litter box.
Dehydration may occur in cats even when they drink a lot because of their frequent urination. Dehydration can cause a cat’s skin to “tent,” which means that it will form a “tent” rather than return to its normal position when the skin is gently pulled away from the body and picked up around the neck. It will be an indication that a cat’s cells are dry. It is exceedingly risky and might make a cat very unwell. A cat’s body may begin to swell with waste products, which might cause them to stop eating and start vomiting.
A cat that is ill won’t eat, which will cause it to lose weight. Cats with renal disease may experience weight loss even if they are eating well due to a condition known as cachexia, which is a loss of muscle that occurs in animals with chronic illness.
Finally, larger appendages may result from renal amyloidosis. Amyloidosis clogs the kidney’s filtering system, which can lead to protein loss in the urine. Protein prevents fluid leakage from blood arteries. Low blood protein levels might cause fluid to build up in the legs’ lymphatic system. It’s called lymphedema.
Causes of Renal Amyloidosis
Some cat breeds are more likely than others to acquire renal amyloidosis, despite the fact that the exact cause of the ailment is unknown. Siamese and Oriental cat breeds, including the Abyssinian, are thought to have a genetic predisposition to renal amyloidosis. Renal amyloidosis is known to be very breed-specific and to be brought on by illnesses like chronic kidney infections and kidney tumors that cause persistent inflammation.
Identification of renal amyloidosis
Typically, kidneys in cats with renal disease are extremely undersized or deformed. Cats with renal amyloidosis, however, may nevertheless have kidneys that are normal in size. As a result, it could be difficult for a veterinarian to recognize renal amyloidosis from only feeling the kidneys during a physical examination or viewing them on an ultrasound or X-ray. Blood tests to check kidney levels, red and white blood cells, and a urine sample to check the protein and concentration of the urine are all necessary for an initial diagnosis. A kidney sample must be obtained in order to examine the cells under a microscope for an appropriate diagnosis of renal amyloidosis.
Although renal amyloidosis is not particularly common in cats, those that have unfortunately have no available treatment. There is no method to stop or cure this protein building in a cat with renal amyloidosis; however, controlling the disease’s symptoms may enhance quality of life and slow the disease’s development. Examples of symptomatic therapy include fluid delivery, dietary adjustments, and medications to promote eating, treat nausea and vomiting, control pain, and treat any ensuing conditions like, for example, hypertension.
Stopping Cat Renal Amyloidosis: A Guide
Abyssinian and Oriental cat breeds need to have their kidney amyloidosis levels evaluated on a regular basis. Although the actual cause of this condition is unknown, if the signs of renal amyloidosis are recognized in time, medications and specific dietary changes may be able to delay the disease’s progression. Blood tests are frequently indicated to assess kidney health in older cats twice a year and in young cats once a year.
READ NEXT: Toxoplasmosis in Cats