View Full Version : Kidney Failure in Cats - How long are subcutaneous fluids likely to help?

09-26-2006, 09:08 PM
One of my kitties, who had the start of kidney failure at the beginning of the year, was diagnosed with kidney problems early this year. It was not severe, so we were just treating with a modified diet. Took him in again yesterday because he hasn't been eating as well the last week or two. His BP was way up, so they decided to run some bloodwork. It appears his kidnesy are only functioning at about 25% now. We just started daily subcutaneous fluids. BUN and Creatine are very high - 100 and 7.5.

How long is this likely to help? I asked at the vet's and they were not really specific - could be weeks, months, a year.... He's not really acting sick except for the low appetite, and hasn't lost any weight (in fact has gained a few ounces) in the last 8 months.

He's 16 years old.

We'll be going back for a repeat of the bloodwork in about 2 weeks.

To top it off, my other cat (his littermate) looks to have major liver problems. Will know more about that on Thursday after an ultrasound and some more lab work.

09-26-2006, 09:11 PM
My thoughts are with you - I'm sorry your cats are ill. I'm hoping for the best for them both.

09-26-2006, 09:34 PM
My eldest kitty, now gone, had diabetes and kidney problems at 16, died at 17. I thought he was a goner when he went downhill rapidly, but SubQ fluids revived him, and he had another two good months. These were very good months, as we could say goodbye to each other. He was failing, but it was only the last week that he was really going on yond. The end was very quick, a matter of hours, and I held him during that time.

Porcupine, you'll know when it's time to let them go on yond without heroic measures. They just wind down, and lose the vitality you know in them. It's a marked decrease, and you'll see it. If you have 16 year old kitties, that's as good as it gets, a fine long life. I feel for you in seeing their aging, have been through it, but you have given them a good life. Just be there with all your good graces and heart.

09-27-2006, 06:10 AM
At the vet clinic I used to work at we had one patient that was on daily IV fluids for kidney failure for at least a year, maybe more (I was only there for a year, the cat was doing fine when I left). That cat was not 16, though (I don't remember exactly how old he was). The cat got used to the treatments and didn't give his owners problems with doing the treatments at home. Good luck with your kitties.

09-27-2006, 09:11 AM
My parents' cat, who I grew up with, was diagnosed with kidney failure in late April of this year. Subcutaneous fluids & medication perked her up, and she hung on for another four months. She died late last month at the age of 15.

09-27-2006, 09:31 AM
One of my mother's cats had two very good years on subcutaneous fluids--but he was otherwise young and healthy. When he went, he went quickly.

09-27-2006, 11:05 AM
Our old lady cat Callie was 19 when her kidneys started going; With subcue the change was amazing, and she was her old (elderly) self again. After about 9 months, though, it was time to let her go. As others have said, you'll know when the time comes.

09-27-2006, 11:41 AM
Same thing with my cat, except he was a shelter cat so I have no idea how old he was when I got him. But I had him for about 10 years. Anyway, he stopped eating. The vet said kidney failure. When we started giving him subcutaneous fluids he started eating again, he started walking around. This went on for a couple of months, maybe 6 or so...then he went outside to pee one day and never came back.

09-27-2006, 01:01 PM
Gosh, I don't even remember how long we were doing infusions for our cat. I know Qadgop posted this thread (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=298894) asking what the deal was with the infusions just about a year before the cat died (at about age 18 1/2) and I believe we'd been doing infusions for a while before he posted.

09-27-2006, 01:07 PM
One of our cats, Chacedony, was diagnosed with kidney failure at 16. We gave her intravenous fluids for about 3 months. We also treated her with cooked chicken every night, which she enjoyed. Other than needing the fluids, she was as active and agile as she'd always been.

When she got listless and no longer showed any interest in the chicken, we knew that it was time.....

09-27-2006, 03:19 PM
Like you, I've heard a wide range of times--weeks, months, years. It seems to vary a lot with the cat.

I don't have more on "how long" but I do have some other information to pass along, if not to you then to others who open this thead because they're new to the disease.

My cat was recently diagnosed with this. I had one successful day with the fluids at home. The cat seemed a lot better. The next day, I tried fluids again because I wasn't quite sure he was fully okay... but he made it quite clear he wanted no more of that nonsense. It's now been several weeks since any fluids and the cat is like his old self.

My coworker has always had cats and likes Maine Coons which apparently tend towards kidney problems. Thus he's had years of experience with this stuff. He said that cats may not need daily fluids (which is what my vet had said, too).... and that they can do what my cat did--have an "episode" and need treatment, but then go for a long time with no issues and need no fluids. My vet had told me to only give fluids as often as needed to maintain appetite, and that might mean going several days between giving them. She hadn't told me that he could bounce back like this, and go so long without needing them, so that came as a surprise.

Anyway, my boy is about 9 and pretty healthy, so we're lucky. I had another cat get this a few years ago and I ended up putting her down right away, and that was terrible--but also the correct decision given her issues. Good luck with your kitty.

09-27-2006, 08:41 PM
Thanks for all the responses so far.

I did the first treatment at home today. It wasn't too horrible, other than a bad stick by me the first try that sent fluid all over the cat and counter. We'll see how pissed the cat is - he slunk off after and I haven't seen him since. I'm hoping we won't be pissed off for more than a couple of hours.

Qadgop the Mercotan
09-27-2006, 08:51 PM
Actually I think we did this with our cat for nearly two years, perhaps more. Worked nicely in the early days, and the cat just got progressively slower until the last few days, when he declined quickly.

I'd recommend it, if you want to prolong your time with your cat. Didn't seem to annoy the cat much at all.

09-28-2006, 12:34 AM
porcupine, our previous kitty was diagnosed in February, 2001 at the age of 17, with 25% kidney function and given 2 weeks to 2 months to live, with a far outside chance of actually surviving a year or two. HA! We only just lost her last December at the ripe old age of 22 -- that's 2 months shy of 5 years, not 2, let alone weeks or months -- Go Mew!

I made a pretty long post about what treatments we gave her here (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?p=2975038&#post2975038), when another Doper's kitty was diagnosed with CRF. At the time Mew died, her kidney values were all in the "normal" range (and had been for several years, actually showing improvement every time we took her in for her quarterly blood and urine workup, believe it or not).

If you have any questions or would just like to talk, feel free to email me at jill61 at surfcity dot net.

09-28-2006, 11:27 PM
Wow, Shayna, that's pretty impressive. Glad she did so well for so long.

Looks like my other kitty has lymphoma, though we won't know for sure til Monday or Tuesday. With all the other health problems he has (early kidney failure, a bladder stone, a kidney stone, and probably IBS), I think I'm just going to try to keep him comforable as long as possible. No chemo and dragging him to the vet every week.

10-02-2006, 01:39 PM
Just a quick update, and it's not good. Pooka had heart problems in addition to the kidney problems, but it wasn't clear how bad it was. His deteriorated heart couldn't really pump the fluids out that his kidneys needed. The conservative treatment for the heart problem was, among other things, diuretics, which would obviously make the kidney problem worse. He stopped eating, and then stopped moving. I had him euthanized this morning. :(

10-02-2006, 01:43 PM
I am very sorry for your loss. You and Pooka are in my thoughts.

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