| Kidney Failure
Kidney failure, also known as renal failure, results from the inability of the kidneys to perform properly.
There are two kinds of kidney failure. Chronic kidney failure, which occurs when the kidneys can no longer perform the crucial functions of excreting waste products, producing hormones and regulating chemical composition of body fluids. This happens over a long period of time, with physical signs appearing gradually.
The second type is acute kidney failure. An abrupt decline in kidney function leads to changes in body chemistry, including alterations in fluid and mineral balances. The physical signs are more dramatic with acute kidney failure because the kidney function declines quickly.
Most of the time, kidneys just "wear out" due to age. Kidney failure can also be cause by ingestion of toxic substances, such as antifreeze, anti-inflammatory drugs and certain antibiotics.
Signs of kidney failure include:
Kidney failure is more frequent in cats than dogs, and certain breeds are more prone to developing kidney problems. Your veterinarian may recommend blood work, even at an early age, to establish a baseline value that can be used for comparison later.
- Excessive drinking of water
- Increased urination
- Bad Breath
- Not eating for a day or more
- Lack of coordination
- Weight loss
Acute kidney failure is potentially reversible; chronic kidney failure is not. Your veterinarian can differentiate between acute and chronic failure based on history, examinations and laboratory testing.