Feline Renal Amyloidosis

Feline renal amyloidosis is a condition that affects a cat’s kidneys. It occurs when there is an abnormal accumulation of amyloid protein in their kidney tissue, leading to progressive damage and dysfunction.

Amyloidosis is a complex disorder with multiple forms, but the most common type seen in cats is called AA amyloidosis. This form of amyloidosis occurs as chronic inflammation or infection in their body, which triggers the production of an abnormal protein called serum amyloid A (SAA).

In cats, chronic infections such as dental disease or urinary tract infections can lead to the development of AA amyloidosis. Other underlying conditions that can contribute to feline renal amyloidosis include immune-mediated diseases and certain cancers.

Symptoms of Feline Renal Amyloidosis

Early stages of feline renal amyloidosis might not have any noticeable symptoms, but as the condition progresses, cats can have:

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration

Diagnosing Feline Renal Amyloidosis

Diagnosing feline renal amyloidosis involves a combination of physical examination, blood tests, urine analysis, and imaging tests such as X-rays or ultrasound. The diagnosis is made through biopsy of their kidney tissue to confirm the presence of amyloid protein.

Stages of Feline Renal Amyloidosis

Feline renal amyloidosis is split into four stages based on the severity of kidney damage and dysfunction:

Stage 1

Mild kidney damage with no noticeable symptoms.

Stage 2

Mild to moderate kidney damage with increased thirst and urination, appetite loss, and weight loss.

Stage 3

Moderate to severe kidney damage with lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.

Stage 4

End-stage kidney disease, with severe damage and dysfunction, leading to kidney failure.

Treating Feline Renal Amyloidosis

Unfortunately, there is no cure for feline renal amyloidosis. The goal of treatment is to manage the symptoms and slow down the progression of their kidney damage. The treatment plan can include:

  • Fluid therapy: This involves administering fluids intravenously to prevent dehydration and maintain their electrolyte balance.
  • Diet: A special diet that is low in protein and phosphorus could be recommended to reduce the workload on their kidneys.
  • Medications: Depending on the underlying cause and stage of the disease, medications such as antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed.
  • Supportive care: This includes managing secondary infections, controlling blood pressure, and providing pain relief.

In some cases, a kidney transplant can be an option for cats with end-stage renal disease. This is a complex and expensive procedure that may not be feasible, or possible for all cats.

Preventing Feline Renal Amyloidosis

Preventing feline renal amyloidosis involves addressing underlying conditions that can contribute to the cause of the disease. This includes keeping up with regular veterinary check-ups, addressing dental or urinary tract infections promptly, and managing immune-mediated diseases or cancers that could increase the risk of amyloidosis.