Chronic Kidney Disease

What is Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is the term used when a cat or dog has reduced kidney function but is clinically stable. Chronic kidney failure (CKF) is the end stage of kidney disease.

CKD is a gradually progressive condition that is very common in older cats, (seen less often in dogs) so usually the health of the cat will slowly decline over a period of time, however the rate of this decline can be very variable.

Although CKD is not a curable or reversible disease, with appropriate treatment and supportive care we can maintain good quality of life, potentially for years after initial diagnosis.

Although this page focuses on CKD in cats, the same principles can be applied to the disease in dogs.

Old cat.
Model of kidneys cross section.

What do the kidneys do?

  • Blood is constantly filtered through the kidneys to remove toxic waste, urine is produced in this process. The kidneys jobs are to:
    • Excrete waste products/toxins from the body into the urine
    •  Regulate electrolyte levels (salts) in the body
    • Maintain normal blood pressure
    •  Produce certain hormones
    • Maintain fluid balance in the body
    •  Maintain the acid balance in the body
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