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Old 02-22-2013, 01:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cat Dialysis or Kidney Transplant - Would You?

This is all hypothetical - just asking in general.

If your cat suddenly developed acute kidney failure and the vet said with best treatment his time is short...

Would you consider a cat kidney transplant or feline hemodialysis, given the high cost and moderate chances of successful prolonged life?

Feline CRF Information Center - Kidney Transplants

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Feline Kidney Transplantation - General Information

01 Kidney Dialysis: Is it for your Pet? - VeterinaryPartner.com - a VIN company!
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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No. The cat will hopefully have lived a good long life, they're approaching the end and probably don't need our interference with major surgery, especially when the odds are not in their favor for a successful operation.

Also, while not the only factor... money. How many thousands of dollars would this cost? I love my pets, but there is a point where I acknowledge no amount of money is going to save them, I'm practical. That money could go towards a lot of other great causes.
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I wouldn't consider these drastic treatments either. Most cats with kidney failure are fairly well controlled with sub-q fluids, meds, diet, etc., at least for awhile. I don't think it's fair to put them through dialysis or a transplant. These treatments are more for the owner who wants to try to keep the cat alive as long as possible. Selfish in my opinion........
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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To me it all depends on quality of life. What would your cat go thru in order to survive a transplant. this is why even chemo I wouldn't recommend for a cat. The **** they endure and limited life span even with treatment isn't worth it. but I do believe animals and people live on after they pass from this life. its more humane to help them transition to their next life.
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Old 02-22-2013, 04:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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agree with all of the above. Its hard to separate doing something for yourself, and doing something in the best interest of your pet, but I see people get carried away all the time.

To me especially, it's different. For humans, you can explain what is happening & what to expect. For a pet, I feel like it would just be like torture, unexplained torture. I'm sure their mental well-being would be severely depressed from seemingly "randomly timed" treatments that make them feel tired.

The question of transplantation is REALLY scary for me. Where do they get the donor kidney???
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Me and my girlfriend were put in this exact situation

My cat Orion had to be put down due to kidney failure from flower poisoning. Me and my girlfriend spent over $1300 in 24 hours and we did everything that was in our means to save him. It can cost over $20k to do feline hemodialysis from what Iv read after the treatments and daily care at the hospital. Also there are only specific places that can do the procedure meaning you also have to pay 4 figures easily to send them out of state, which for us was over 200 miles to even begin the process. As for the transplant, where do you get the other cat to get the kidneys from? I wouldnt want to sacrifice another animal with the high chance mine would still not make it.

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Old 02-22-2013, 05:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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So sorry for your loss. Im at a loss for words that would comfort you. It must of been heart breaking.
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies. I agree with all. Especially what Jasmine12 said about prolonging a pained animal's life for the pet-parent's ease of mind being selfish.

And I'm sorry, Zerafian. I didn't mean to conjure up bad memories for you by asking this hypothetical question.

To answer the question of where donor kidneys are procured, it's much the same as living-donor transplants in people. A cat, like a human, only needs one kidney to function so living donors can continue living after the donation. Often cats, perhaps from the same household, are tested for compatibility. In the case where transplants are done at research universities' veterinary hospitals, compatible research cats are sometimes used. (This brings up a whole other section of ethics as the use of live animals in research is an entirely other topic of conversation.) As far as I can tell, cat transplants are living-donor only, no cadaver organs are harvested.

As some of you know, I've been through both personally. Not with my cats but as a human patient. I've had three kidney transplants and my most recent period of 3x/wk hemodialysis treatments lasted from 1995 until 2012. And don't think there weren't many, many times especially during the last dialysis period when I didn't consider voluntarily discontinuing treatment and opting for, essentially, euthanasia.

As Calyx rightly pointed out, human renal treatments and those for cats should be considered two different topics entirely because of communication ability, patient understanding, levels of medical advancement, availability of insurance, etc.

But the fact remains, these are still options out there for the grieving pet parent who cannot bring themselves to let go and have the means to pay for them. Again, in most instances it's probably done more for the human than the animal and that is selfish, IMO.
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zerafian View Post
As for the transplant, where do you get the other cat to get the kidneys from? I wouldnt want to sacrifice another animal with the high chance mine would still not make it.
Like humans, cats have 2 kidneys but only need 1. The most common way to get a kidney is by getting one from a cat in a shelter. Every transplant program that I'm aware of requires that you adopt the donor cat regardless of the outcome. It's controversial as a cat obviously can't consent to having an organ removed but the surgery isn't any riskier than any other major surgery and it's only done on healthy young cats.
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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No, I would not. I went through the same thing with my Golden Retriever about 5 years ago and I ended up having her put to sleep. The cost is incredibly prohibitive and the quality of life would be questionable.
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