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Mercury was rescued at an animal shelter in 2001 by my daughter, and they guessed he was 1 yr old at that time, so we think he will be 11 this summer. He has been a very healthy cat, but in the last year, started having very occasional vomitting (so I changed foods til I found one that seemed to clear it all up). I stuck with dry food, Innova Evo, because that was the one thing that never got thrown up.
Then in the last month or two, I gradually noticed there were more and larger pee clumps in his litter box, and he was drinking more water. So, yesterday I took him in to the vet for a thorough exam, including all blood work (I suspected diabetes).
Instead I was told he has kidney failure. I was totally unprepared for that.
 

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I'm so sorry to hear about Mercury. I'm afraid I know very little about kidney failure, although I do know that the website JulieC suggested is excellent. We also have other members here who are very knowledgeable on the topic, and no doubt they'll be able to offer you more advice. I wish you and Mercury all the best.
 

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I'm sorry to hear about Mercury. I've cared for several CRF (chronic renal failure) cats over the last decade or two and have just had two more of my cats diagnosed as such. As devastating as this diagnosis can be for someone who's never dealt with it before, I want to reassure you that there is much that can be done to preserve quality of life for many CRF cats, esp. if diagnosed early. This is an extremely common condition in older cats. In fact, I was considering its commonness right before I read this post. Given my own experience with CRF, I am of the ever-increasing belief that most, if not all, cats will experience diminished renal function as they age if something else doesn't kill them first. I don't even think of CRF as a disease anymore. It seems more to be a natural, and certainly challenging, part of the aging process. Kidneys seem to age more rapidly than any of the other organs, with the possible and occasional exception of the heart.

All of that said, I certainly don't mean to minimize Mercury's diagnosis. CRF is a complicated condition that imposes a very sharp learning curve on the owner who wants to do everything possible for their cat. The website that JulieC linked for you above is the absolute MOST essential resource for CRF-related information. There isn't much of anything CRF-related that isn't covered on Tanya's website, and the website also provides links to vast additional CRF resources. Bookmark Tanya's site and read through its pages as many times as you can before your brain begs for mercy. Start with the pages most relevant to Mercury's current symptoms and test results.

BTW, if you don't already have them, get copies of all of Mercury's lab test results from your vet. You're going to need them in order to effectively research his condition online. Once you have his test results, post them here so that we can take a look and offer more specific insights and suggestions.

What, if anything, did your vet recommend in terms of management of his condition? Supplements, meds, fluids, diet? Give us as many details as possible, and we can help you make sense of it all.

Try not to panic. There's a huge community of CRF caretakers who commissurate and share information online. We're happy to take you under our collective wing and guide you along this long and windy road. In addition to Tanya's website, I strongly recommend you join the CRF Support Mailing List at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Feline-CRF-Support/

Please post again with any specific questions or concerns you may have.

Laurie
 

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My Skylar was also diagnosed yesterday. I researched his symptoms on my own while waiting for lab results so I wasn't shocked when I found out for sure, but still very sad. We got some Hills Science Diet special food. I mixed it with his other food to start off since he has tummy trouble if I switch him so fast. His BUN was 200, which is high the vet said. I don't remember all the other numbers, but I want to go get the paper from the vet Monday. I got the dry food so I may go pick up a couple of cans and get the papers from the vet. I wasn't thinking clearly when he told me. He also said his liver wasn't functioning as well as it should and he's anemic. At this point he didn't give us any medications because he's eating and drinking. He's peeing a lot, and it's very foamy. Today he's in my sons room with the other cats (the best place to sleep these days!) and normally he likes to sit with mommy. He didn't eat much yesterday or so far today so I'm going to coax him when he wakes up. I'm sorry about your kitties diagnosis :(
 

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His BUN was 200, which is high the vet said. I don't remember all the other numbers, but I want to go get the paper from the vet Monday.
I'm very sorry for Skylar's diagnosis. The sooner you get copies of his test results from the vet, the better. With the CRF, liver problem, and anemia, you REALLY need to know exactly what's going on ASAP so that you can address the problems and try to stabilize him quickly. I'm very surprised that with BUN at 200, elevated liver enzymes, and anemia, your vet is apparently taking a wait-and-see approach. IMO, this passive strategy is NOT in Skylar's best interest and could seriously diminish the possibility of stabilizing and improving his condition. Skylar needs proactive treatment, and he needs it NOW. Unless you are financially unable to do more for Skylar at this time, I strongly recommend you take him to another vet who will take his condition more seriously and work with you to get his problems under control.

He also said his liver wasn't functioning as well as it should and he's anemic.
CRF, liver disease, and anemia can all make a cat feel very ill, nauseous, and inappetant, so you really have an uphill battle on your hands keeping Skylar eating. To make matters worse, renal prescription diets are very unpalatable to many cats, even those with hearty, healthy appetites. If Skylar didn't eat well yesterday and today when you mixed the renal food with his normal food, then forget the renal food for now and get him eating whatever he will eat. It is CRITICAL that he eats adequately to prevent potentially fatal hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease, which he may possibly already have with elevated liver enzymes). It is MUCH more important that he eats an adequate amount of ANY cat food than that he eats the renal food specifically. If he won't even eat normal cat food adequately, you may need to assist feed him to get enough food into his system to protect his liver. The following links will provide you with lots of tips and tricks to get nourishment into him:

http://www.felinecrf.org/persuading_cat_to_eat.htm
http://www.assistfeed.com/
http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/Feline-Assisted-Feeding

At this point he didn't give us any medications because he's eating and drinking.
According to your post, he's not eating well. Also, you need to understand that CRF cats drink excessively because they ARE dehydrated. They try and try and try to drink enough water to properly hydrate themselves, but because of their diminished kidney function, they just can't take in enough water to provide their bodies what they need. That's why subQ fluid administration is the cornerstone of CRF management. With subQ fluids, these cats can usually maintain proper hydration that they may not be able to maintain on their own.

Get those test results. If your vet is open today, call and at least ask for Skylar's creatinine, phosphorus, potassium, total protein, and HCT or PCV values. Also ask for the liver values. Make sure you also get the lab's reference ranges for all of those values, since reference ranges vary somewhat from lab to lab, and you need them in order to put Skylar's values into accurate perspective.

A very high BUN isn't necessarily indicative of kidney failure, since BUN can rise for both kidney and non kidney-related reasons. Creatinine is the more important value for diagnosis of CRF, since creatinine is kidney-specific. If Skylar's creatinine is in normal range or just slightly elevated, his kidneys may not be as seriously diseased as the high BUN implies. Again, you need those test results to put the diagnostic pieces together and see what you're really up against.

Get food into Skylar, and get his test results. Those are your immediate priorities. Then find another vet who will work with you to help him.

Laurie
 

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I wonder if giving B12 would help? I just started giving it to Rajah who, although he is still healthy as far as blood tests show, was starting to act like he needed it. It has helped him so much and he has only been the full dose for a week. Here is a quote from B12 but I would suggest reading the whole article.

A B12 deficiency can cause poor cell formation in the digestive tract and lead to nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, poor absorption of food (malabsorption syndrome), constipation, gas, weight loss, fatigue, lethargy, abdominal pain, and/or diarrhea. Absorption of B12 requires normal function of the stomach, pancreas and small intestine. Sound familiar? These are the very symptoms that cats with IBD and other gastric disorders exhibit. A b12 deficiency also inhibits and decreases the body’s ability to produce blood, increases blood cell destruction and is very harmful to the nervous system which can cause neurological disorders and severe and sometimes irreversible nerve damage. Because a healthy liver is able to store many years worth of B12, signs of deficiency may not be obvious for a long time.
 

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Thank you for all of the information. He was eating decent amounts of food before I took him to the vet, but starting yesterday and today he hasn't ate much. Maybe I'm just more paranoid and watching him more. I'm definitely going up there on Monday. He's closed all weekend.

I'm very sorry for Skylar's diagnosis. The sooner you get copies of his test results from the vet, the better. With the CRF, liver problem, and anemia, you REALLY need to know exactly what's going on ASAP so that you can address the problems and try to stabilize him quickly. I'm very surprised that with BUN at 200, elevated liver enzymes, and anemia, your vet is apparently taking a wait-and-see approach. IMO, this passive strategy is NOT in Skylar's best interest and could seriously diminish the possibility of stabilizing and improving his condition. Skylar needs proactive treatment, and he needs it NOW. Unless you are financially unable to do more for Skylar at this time, I strongly recommend you take him to another vet who will take his condition more seriously and work with you to get his problems under control.



CRF, liver disease, and anemia can all make a cat feel very ill, nauseous, and inappetant, so you really have an uphill battle on your hands keeping Skylar eating. To make matters worse, renal prescription diets are very unpalatable to many cats, even those with hearty, healthy appetites. If Skylar didn't eat well yesterday and today when you mixed the renal food with his normal food, then forget the renal food for now and get him eating whatever he will eat. It is CRITICAL that he eats adequately to prevent potentially fatal hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease, which he may possibly already have with elevated liver enzymes). It is MUCH more important that he eats an adequate amount of ANY cat food than that he eats the renal food specifically. If he won't even eat normal cat food adequately, you may need to assist feed him to get enough food into his system to protect his liver. The following links will provide you with lots of tips and tricks to get nourishment into him:

Tanya's Feline CRF Info Centre - persuading your cat to eat
AssistFeed.com: Advice to help a sick cat who will not eat
Feline-Assisted-Feeding : Feline-Assisted-Feeding



According to your post, he's not eating well. Also, you need to understand that CRF cats drink excessively because they ARE dehydrated. They try and try and try to drink enough water to properly hydrate themselves, but because of their diminished kidney function, they just can't take in enough water to provide their bodies what they need. That's why subQ fluid administration is the cornerstone of CRF management. With subQ fluids, these cats can usually maintain proper hydration that they may not be able to maintain on their own.

Get those test results. If your vet is open today, call and at least ask for Skylar's creatinine, phosphorus, potassium, total protein, and HCT or PCV values. Also ask for the liver values. Make sure you also get the lab's reference ranges for all of those values, since reference ranges vary somewhat from lab to lab, and you need them in order to put Skylar's values into accurate perspective.

A very high BUN isn't necessarily indicative of kidney failure, since BUN can rise for both kidney and non kidney-related reasons. Creatinine is the more important value for diagnosis of CRF, since creatinine is kidney-specific. If Skylar's creatinine is in normal range or just slightly elevated, his kidneys may not be as seriously diseased as the high BUN implies. Again, you need those test results to put the diagnostic pieces together and see what you're really up against.

Get food into Skylar, and get his test results. Those are your immediate priorities. Then find another vet who will work with you to help him.

Laurie
 

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He quit eating well when you started mixing the renal food with his regular food, right? If that's the case, quit feeding the renal food for now and get him eating his regular food well again. You can try mixing in a few kibbles of renal food again in a few days if he's eating better. For now, the top priority is getting him eating well to protect his liver.

Laurie
 

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RayRay has CRF and I agree with Laurie about the yahoo group. They have loads of good advise. It so helps to hear from people who have gone through the same things. Ray is on renal food, I mix in a little tuna juice and some of the tuna to get him to eat it. He just started on the sub-Q fluids recently and the people in the yahoo group had some good tips to make it easier. Something so simple as warming the fluid before administering it makes a big difference. These cats can have a quality life for a long time after diagnosis but you must have a vet that will work with you!
 

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He quit eating well when you started mixing the renal food with his regular food, right? If that's the case, quit feeding the renal food for now and get him eating his regular food well again. You can try mixing in a few kibbles of renal food again in a few days if he's eating better. For now, the top priority is getting him eating well to protect his liver.

Laurie
He quit eating well the day I mixed the foods. I'm trying not mixing it and he's still not eating it well. I broke down and gave him a couple spoonfuls of tuna out of desperation. (It was comical because Peter was climbing my legs to get to the counter lol) He ate it up and licked the gravy off the canned food I offered him. I don't want to give him a lot of tuna because it isn't good for them in large quantaties I've heard. I watched him go in the litter box tonight and when he came out I checked it and didn't see any pee, but he squated like he needed to pee. Maybe he covered it up before I got over there.
 

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You need to make ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that he is able to urinate, because if he has a complete urinary blockage, it could kill him within a matter of hours. Keep a very close eye on him and see if he's squatting frequently in the attempt to urinate, either in or out of the litterbox. If he is attempting to pee but producing no urine, it is an emergent situation, and you must get him to an ER vet immediately. He likely won't survive until Monday if he has a complete urinary blockage.

If he is able to successfully produce urine, then your biggest concern is getting food into him. Read through those assisted feeding links I provided you earlier. If necessary, syringe feed at least 5 oz of canned food into him daily (assuming he's not eating anything on his own).

Laurie
 

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This morning he went over to the food bowl and ate a bunch of dry food without me taking him over there or anything. I wonder if he had an upset tummy yesterday or something. I'll have to get something to make him feel better with that. It looks like he peed in the litter box overnight because the other two cats were locked in my sons room all night and I cleaned it right before bed. Today is looking better than yesterday. He goes back and worth and it worries me. The opens at 8 tomorrow so I'm calling to get my labs from him and see what we can do.

You need to make ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that he is able to urinate, because if he has a complete urinary blockage, it could kill him within a matter of hours. Keep a very close eye on him and see if he's squatting frequently in the attempt to urinate, either in or out of the litterbox. If he is attempting to pee but producing no urine, it is an emergent situation, and you must get him to an ER vet immediately. He likely won't survive until Monday if he has a complete urinary blockage.

If he is able to successfully produce urine, then your biggest concern is getting food into him. Read through those assisted feeding links I provided you earlier. If necessary, syringe feed at least 5 oz of canned food into him daily (assuming he's not eating anything on his own).

Laurie
 

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Thank goodness that he doesn't have a urinary blockage! And it's great that he ate well this morning. Maybe he just needed to get that yucky renal food out of his bowl to convince him that it was safe to eat out of it again.

It's very common for CRF cats to have good days (or hours or weeks or minutes or months, etc.) and bad ones. That roller coaster is typical of this condition. There are all sorts of things that can trigger the bad times, among them being acid stomach, dehydration, constipation, high phosphorus, low (or high) potassium, anemia, high blood pressure, etc., etc., etc. Fortunately, there are management strategies for most of the things that can go wrong. The trick is to keep on top of the bloodwork to catch things that go out of whack so that they can be corrected. Once you get hold of Skylar's test results tomorrow, you'll have a much better idea of what sort of management strategies he might need.

I'm glad to hear he's having a better day today.

Laurie
 
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