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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22463
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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hi, my cat hangs her head over the water bowl, and i know

Customer Question

my cat hangs her head over the water bowl, and i know she's got kidney probs and
i've had her on a KD diet for a while. she doesn't look in pain but i jest need some advice.
is there anything i can do. i fear to take her to the vet.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

First, I would just note that you never need to be afraid of taking Loopy to the vet. Remember that no matter what, any decisions to be made for her benefit will be left up to you. So, if you don't want to treat or let her go just yet, that is your choice. And as long as she is otherwise a happy kitty and enjoying her life, then we'd not have to make any final decisions just yet.

Now the hanging over the water dish is something we see with cats that are desperately thirsty all the time (its as if they figure they are better off just staying near the water even if they aren't going to drink just then). And as I am sure you can appreciate, since kidney disease leads to excess fluid loss via urine, these cats are often desperately thirsty. Furthermore, if you are seeing this and she is also not eating, it can be a hint of nausea as well.

In regards ***** ***** here, I suspect her kidney disease has progressed to a level where the diet alone isn't enough. The diet will be reducing the kidney's work load but we'd have to suspect here that Loopy's kidneys may just not be functioning as well as they could anymore. Therefore, this would be a good stage to discuss her situation with her vet and further medical management options. This includes medication to aid kidney filtration (ACE inhibitors like Fortekor or Semintra) and phosphate binders (ie Renalzin) to help remove the phosphate build up commonly seen with this disease. If she is anemic, there are drugs the vet can administer (ie Laruabolin, Epogen, etc) to stimulate her marrow to produce red blood cells (which normally would have been hormonally stimulated to work by the kidneys).

Now you didn't mention her appetite, but I do want to say that we can see appetite's decline when kitties have kidney disease. This is because the urea can make them nauseous and cause oral ulcers, making them too sick and sore to eat properly. Therefore, in some cases, we find it helpful to also treat with an antacid. There are a number of antacids that can be used to help kitties in this situation (ie Cimedtidine, Pepcid (LINK) or Zantac (LINK)) and can just make eating and drinking easier for them. Furthermore, if you do have any struggle getting her to eat or drink, there is a liquid supplement called Clinicare (LINK) that can be useful for getting nutrition and fluid into these kitties (and if she likes it, then it would be a sneaky way to get more nutrition and fluid into her now). It is actually by the same people who make Ensure, but is formulated to meet out pet's dietary needs. Your vet should be able to order it for you but it is available without a prescription (some pet stores and even Amazon stock it). They make one specifically for older cats with kidney troubles, and this would be one that we could use if necessary for Loopy.

As well, I will also note a good guide for you on addressing kidney disease from the International Cat Care's (ICC) (here) to just for a bit more specific information on options you have for managing her condition. As well, while not always an option at home, I did just want to note that we can use subcutaneous (under the skin) fluid therapy in these cats with good results. You can read more about this HERE.

At the end of the day, all we want is the best for Loopy. If she is glued to the water dish even when not drinking, we'd be concerned about her kidney issues getting her down. Therefore, it may be time to consider treating her medically for this disease and not just via diet. That way we can maximize her kidney function and keep her comfortable for as long as possible.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


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