Acute Renal Failure in 18 month old cat? What to do?
February 11, 2018 5:17 PM   Subscribe

I have a beautiful 18 month old calico with the emergency referral vet at the moment who's suffering from acute renal failure. The vets put her on IV fluids but her kidney numbers have only gotten worse. Is there anything that this indicates? They're just going to stay the course but does anyone have any more info on younger cats and kidney disease?
posted by Talez to Pets & Animals (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not at all an expert, but:

How long has this been going on? Could she have accidentally been poisoned? What has the vet told you?
posted by amtho at 5:37 PM on February 11, 2018

Also not a vet, but poisoning was what came to my mind as well-- did she eat anything that she shouldn't have? Did any of her siblings or parents also have kidney disease?
posted by gemutlichkeit at 5:39 PM on February 11, 2018

She started vomiting on Friday morning. I took her to the vet, they took blood and x-rays. After the bloodwork came back our regular doctor said her kidney numbers were worrying and take her to the referral vet for 24-hour care and fluids. They've been doing that since yesterday afternoon.

I've racked my brains for anything that could poison her. It's not food because our two other kitties seem to be fine. Her littermate is in my lap, pretty chipper. They get into everything and even though I don't have anything that's kitty unfriendly accessible in the house (i.e. lilies, Tylenol and the rest of the list) I don't know what she's licking and I don't know if it's a mouse that she's gotten that may have died from rat poison the previous owners have left.
posted by Talez at 5:41 PM on February 11, 2018

Different cats can be _very_ different. A food that works fine, or a trace contaminant that's not that bad, for most could be problematic for another cat -- seriously, the genetic variation is all over the place sometimes, and just like siblings can vary in humans, they can in cats -- and littermates can sometimes even have different fathers. However, the acute nature of this probably points to other stuff.

Also, she could have rolled in something, she could have eaten a higher concentration of something with oxalic acid / whatever. Could she have eaten detergent or soap? Another household chemical? Something soaked into a blanket? Something in her bed that she licked off? Something she walked through and licked off her feet?

Could she have been bitten or stung by an insect?

You mention eating a mouse as a possibility. Bugs are also sometimes carriers of stuff used to poison them, so could she have eaten a bug?
posted by amtho at 5:55 PM on February 11, 2018

I'm not sure about bugs. The mice are very infrequent, I've only ever see them catch two in just over a year. I don't know where she could have picked anything up.

At any point, I guess the crux of my question is if there's anything to do other than IV fluids and if there's anything specific to watch out for on younger cats?
posted by Talez at 6:01 PM on February 11, 2018

Maybe someone more knowledgeable will come by, but all I'd know to do would be to reduce her stress as much as possible, keep her quiet and cozy if possible without stressing her, so her body can focus on healing and not stress or keeping warm -- but you're probably doing that already.
posted by amtho at 6:19 PM on February 11, 2018

A very similar thing happened to my similar age cat. We wracked our brains and could identify nothing that might have poisoned the cat or sparked an incident. The cat got the same treatment yours is getting, and for unknown reasons, made a full recovery over a few days and went to live many more years and died of something completely unrelated. They really couldn't account for either the illness or the recovery and just told us we were lucky. The one thing you might ask about is antibiotics, in case there is a systemic infection to which the renal failure is secondary. Just something to broach if you haven't already. I wish you both luck and hope the outcome is positive.
posted by Miko at 6:20 PM on February 11, 2018

We had a four-year-old Siamese mix go into ARF from a bad UTI/blockage (less likely for your female cat, obviously). His potassium levels climbed insanely high and he needed treatment involving alternating insulin and glucose IVs to bring him out of immediate cardiac danger. That was before they could even look at dealing with the infection. The blockage didn’t seem to be clearing sufficiently, so we went up to discuss “options” (they didn’t think he’d survive the night).

My husband held Pollux in his lap, and Pollux proceeded to pee all over him, and his numbers started to improve. It’s two years (and yes, a very big bill) later, and he’s scampering around the living room, doing fine.

All this is to say, ARF can strike early and be terrifying, but even the bleakest cases can resolve. I hope that happens for you. Make sure they have an eye on her K+ levels.
posted by armeowda at 8:39 PM on February 11, 2018

The vet called this morning telling my she's a bit more chipper. They're going to do an ultrasound and then retest the blood work this evening. She's taking fluids and she's peeing a lot. It all comes down to hope.
posted by Talez at 6:02 AM on February 12, 2018 [7 favorites]

Lots of info about chronic kidney failure here if needd

There is a LOT that can be done for renal failure in cats. Blood pressure management is VITAL (and if your vet doesn't talk to you about this, find a vet who is more current with renal failure management), prescription diets, calcitriol, omega fatty acids, sometimes acid reducers. This may be temporary or it may be chronic, but there is a lot that can be done. If you don't have access to a general practice vet who is very conversant with the state of the art in renal management, ask for a referral to an internist. Good luck.
posted by biscotti at 7:20 AM on February 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

I relied extensively on Tanya's website when my older cat had chronic kidney disease. Although her site focues on chronic disease, it does have a page on Acute Kidney Injury.
posted by merejane at 11:48 AM on February 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Numbers have come down to when she first went in. It's now a matter of where she plateaus so a couple more days yet. She's also now clinically stable. She's eating and keeping it down.
posted by Talez at 4:50 AM on February 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

And the BUN/SDMA/Creatine are back to entirely normal levels. After the second day it seems like a miracle. She's back home a little worse for wear but on the mend. We're keeping her segregated for now while the cats relearn each other's scents and feeding her a kidney healthy diet and a few precautionary antibiotics (even though the urine culture showed up nothing).

Follow up is this Thursday to check her kidney numbers and then we'll probably get a followup ultrasound but fingers crossed it'll be a full recovery.

I'm kind of worried that one of us kicked her in our sleep when she was sleeping on the bed. But surely that would be one inflamed kidney, not both, right?
posted by Talez at 5:17 PM on February 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

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