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recovery from acute renal failure?

September 30th, 2008, 04:44 PM

Last Thursday, after he had been vomiting for five days, they finally did bloodwork on Henry, who is 6 years old, and discovered he was in acute renal failure. He was admitted to the hospital and given intensive IV treatment. By Saturday afternoon, his BUN and phosphorous levels had (miraculously) dropped to normal. I am thrilled, but I'm now worried about the potential for lasting kidney damage. They still can't determine the reason for the kidney "insult." We go back Friday to recheck his levels, but I want to make sure he's doing OK this week. He's not vomiting, but since I brought him home yesterday, he's been very lethargic and sleeping constantly, which is very unlike him. I would have thought, after being in a cage and sleeping for four days, getting IV fluids constantly, that he'd be full of energy when he got home. Should I be concerned?

September 30th, 2008, 07:35 PM
Having a serious medical issue like renal failure is a huge stress on a cat's entire system, so it's perfectly normal that he needs to sleep right now. Is he eating/drinking/eliminating okay?

As for what might have caused it, is he an indoor kitty or does he also go outside? Could he have eaten a toxic plant, or gotten into some kind of chemical (antifreeze comes to mind)? I think it would be hard to say what kind of long-term damage might have been done to his kidneys, but it's definitely something to keep an eye on. :fingerscr that he makes a full recovery.

September 30th, 2008, 07:57 PM
Thanks! I'm keeping my fingers crossed. He is eating and drinking, but I've not seen him go potty (both) since this morning.:) He is only indoor, though, and I couldn't think of anything he might have eaten. They also did a urinalysis, which came back negative, so the failure was probably not due to infection.

October 1st, 2008, 01:54 AM
Glad to hear Henry is doing much better. What food are you feeding?

ARF could be caused by injury, underlying medical condition, toxic poisoning through food, plants, household/garage chemicals & cleaners

The prognosis is fair/good if the cause of the disease is identified early and there hasn't been too much damage to the kidneys, you should have blood & urine test done every 3-6 months for atleast the next year or two to keep an eye on the levels and see if there is any progression to CRF.

Acute Kidney Failure WSAVA conference (

from This is written for dogs but the same basic principles apply for cats

Prognosis for acute renal failure largely depends on the severity of injury to the kidneys. Short-term survival depends on whether the dog can live through the worst part of the acute episode. Expert, mainly supportive, medical care will allow some animals that would otherwise die to survive the worst of their illness. Long-term prognosis for these dogs is fair to good for those that survive the critical stage and begin to show signs of recovery.

No test can determine how long your dog will live with chronic renal failure. Some animals tolerate kidney failure amazingly well, while others with the same degree of kidney failure are very sick. Information from the physical examination, response to treatments, general history of well being, and laboratory data should provide the needed information to provide the best care for your dog.

October 1st, 2008, 09:15 AM
I'm feeding him K/D wet food (he won't go near the dry version). It's weird--after he eats now, he seems to feel pretty bad. he'll go and lie down and won't move for hours, but at least he's not vomiting....:pray:

October 1st, 2008, 05:48 PM
Good for him staying away from the dry :highfive: smart kitty :D

The prescription diets really are not formulated for cats biological need for protein. Yes they are low in phos & protein but also taste and nutrition.

Try Wellness grain free Turkey (, Wellness grain free Chicken ( and Wellness grain free Beef & Chicken ( those are the 3 flavours lowest in phos but still with high quality protein from proper meat sources. If you feed high quality protein the amount of phosohorus is lower than a corn or rice based protein source.

Would you consider feeding a raw meat diet?

Has he visited the litterbox yet? :fingerscr

October 1st, 2008, 07:04 PM
Raw meat? that sounds dangerous! like raw beef and chicken? and yes, he's using the bathroom OK.

October 1st, 2008, 07:08 PM
Good to hear he's gone back to regular litterbox activities :thumbs up

Yup raw meat - I'll take that as a no :D It's great but not everyone is comfortable with it and that's okay. My CRF grrl is on a raw meat diet and doing really good. :)

October 2nd, 2008, 07:41 AM
Sorry to hear about your kitty. What were you feeding your kitty before he got sick?

Good to hear he is not vomiting anymore.:thumbs up

Human grade, fresh raw meat is actually very good for cats. I was feeding Snowball raw meat, including hamburger (his fav) his whole life as a daily treat and he was never sick until he got cancer. Their digestive tracks are much shorter than humans so the meat travels through it quicker and the digestive juices in their stomachs is more acidic creating an environment that makes bacteria growth more difficult. But if you aren't up to that I agree with Growler, Wellness canned is a great food.

October 2nd, 2008, 08:42 AM
he has been eating Royal Canin Urinary S/O, and I asked the doctors about that--whether it might have exacerbated the situation. They tell me there's no way; that most of the perscription pet food from the vet is good for cats' health. I guess they're just telling me that so they can sell the food! :clown:

October 2nd, 2008, 11:07 AM
I guess they're just telling me that so they can sell the food! :clown:

Bingo! That and they really don't know a whole lot about feline nutrition, so they basically regurgitate the propaganda of the pet food company reps. There is very little food found in a vet clinic that's of any value to cats and I urge you to do your own research on the subject. Here's a great place to start:

October 2nd, 2008, 12:26 PM
can i immediately switch all my cats to grain-free canned food without them getting sick, or should i do this gradually?

October 2nd, 2008, 12:33 PM
That depends on the cat, I did for Puddles with a lot of frustration, tears, and lost weight on Puddles (I took away her kibble). Other kitties need a very slow adjustment period.

I know older forum members are probably sick of hearing me say this but I am just amazed at the difference in Puddles with a change to quality food.

A year ago we thought Puddles was on her death bed, I took her in for bloodwork and she had high blood calcium so the vet told me to change food immediately (it can lead to kidney stones). Puddles had greasy, thinning fur, very lethargic, etc. With the help of growler and sugarcatmom I changed her food to Wellness, grainfree and now she is like a two year old cat. Her fur is beautiful again, she is much more active and happy. All this due to food. Oh and she doesn't vomit anymore.

October 2nd, 2008, 01:11 PM
can i immediately switch all my cats to grain-free canned food without them getting sick, or should i do this gradually?

Like Love4himies said, that's up to the individual cat. Go at their pace. Some cats dive right into the new food and don't look back, others require considerably more patience and cajoling. In order to avoid potential digestive upset and to lessen the stress of switching, it's usually a good idea to go slowly. Start by mixing a small amount into their old food, or just put a dollop on a separate plate next to their usual meals and leave it there. Yes, it is okay to leave canned food out for free-feeding if that's what they're used to. If you need any tips on convincing a kibble addict to eat canned food, there are some on the catinfo link above. Good luck!

October 18th, 2008, 04:54 PM
Hi Just wondering how Henry is doing - I hope he's going fine. We are going thru the same with our little Ruby. She drank water from a bucket with flowers,among were lily's - extremely toxic to cats so we found out. She had all week on IV fluids at the vets and came home very tired 40 hours ago. She has been eating, drinking and urunating well as far as I can tell. She has vomited once, around 32 hours ago so I am worried about her future. Thanks Jen

October 19th, 2008, 08:17 AM
Henry is doing GREAT, and I'm so sorry to hear about yours! I know what you're going through; I don't think I ate or slept normally for the week he was sick. I thought he would be much worse than he is now, which seems perfectly normal. They're still having us come in every week or two to check his BUN, creatnine, and phosphorus levels, and so far they've been normal each time. I'm still hoping it's not going to be a chronic issue, and so far it seems like it's not. He's still eating the Hill's K/D (kidney issues) food, and that seems to be helping him keep his levels normal on his own. I would definitely recommend a regulated food like that for your kitty. Just make sure you are also taking her in to the vet regularly to get her levels checked, but from what I hear, making it through the first actue renal "insult" is the hardest part for them. She's done well so far!:thumbs up

June 28th, 2009, 07:14 PM
Thank you for the uplifting news. Twilight is only one year old and is still in the hospital for renal failure. Hopefully, he comes home tomorrow!

I lost a handsome Black-smoke Persian a little over a year ago to abdominal cancer. Shadow was a part of our family for 15 years and we still miss him. Twilight's illness is setting us all on edge. I agree with the not sleeping. While he was home and vomiting, I was up checking on him. Now he's in the hospital, I haunt the phone waiting for a phone call.

He's licking baby food off of the vet's hand today. :thumbs up

Again - thank you for the encouragement! We need it!

June 28th, 2009, 10:53 PM
Hi ShadowPixit I'm sorry Twilight is in hosp :grouphug:

Does the vet have any ideas what caused the ARF?

:goodvibes: speedy healing :goodvibes: for Twilight & :fingerscr he can come home soon

June 29th, 2009, 12:47 PM
Right now, we are clueless. I'm taking a can of food with me today to see if any of the ingredients are suspect.

We hope he can come home this afternoon.

This sounds crazy - our neighbors have a miniature doberman pincher that hangs out in their privacy fenced back yard. Twilight loves to go out in our privacy fenced back yard and the two communicate through the fence. The baby-sitter came over today and asked about Twilight since Sophie is going nuts looking for her friend.

Amazing how our pets can touch each other.:goodvibes:

July 1st, 2009, 10:11 AM
Twilight is home and acting like a little kitten again! :thumbs up

He's playing with laundry, toys, and feet.

The vet said all his numbers are great - except for his white cell count. It's still really up so we have him on two antibiotics.

Thank you for the encouragement! Here's good news for anyone else going through this... they can survive! The treatment was expensive - but watching him play... priceless!

July 1st, 2009, 10:25 AM
Puddles got into a neighbours paint thinnner when she was a year old and went into acute renal failure (and liver). My vet told me that any damage done to the kidneys will not be repaired, but as long as there was 50% left she would live a good life. She is now 13 and is in good health. It took almost 6 months for her to totally recover.

July 1st, 2009, 02:07 PM
ShadowPixit that's wonderful news! :highfive:

Be sure to keep a close eye on him if you are planning to allow him outside again, there is always the chance something in the yard caused it especially if he has access to a vehicle (anti-freeze is especially dangerous) or like L4H says paint or cleaning supplies etc.

July 6th, 2009, 03:05 PM
It's super cool hearing about others who survived!

Twilight hates the fact he can no longer go into the backyard without a "babysitter". But, facts are facts. We do not have a trigger so we have to keep a close eye on him.

He's turned into a kitten again. He wants to play with everyone and everything. I think he's amazed that he lived through this!

He goes back on Friday for a full check-up. We're both hoping his white cell count is good because we are both sick of the twice daily antibiotic pills!

Thank you guys again for the helpful advice and good news!

July 6th, 2009, 10:01 PM
:goodvibes: :goodvibes: for Fridays appt :goodvibes:

July 19th, 2009, 10:30 PM
Thanks for all the good wishes! Twilight is at 100% again! All blood work normal.

:cloud9: - Aren't we all glad these guys come with "nine lives"?

My vet did have a warning, though. We think Twi was overwhelmed by infection because of his super high white blood count that dropped dramatically with serious antibiotics. She said to watch out for pet food with gravy since there is a higher chance for bacteria to grow in this type of food if it is not properly processed. Canneries do make mistakes.

I'm so happy to have my kitten back - I'll never purchase another gravy based canned food again!

July 19th, 2009, 11:15 PM
ShadowPixit That's awesome news!! :thumbs up :highfive: I'm so happy Twilight's numbers were normal :D :D :grouphug:

Personally I would have him retested again in 6 months just to be sure all numbers stay normal.:goodvibes: