A recent issue of Veterinary Practice News (January 2015), announced what they called good news – an Oregon professor has helped develop a test that may note a tendency to chronic renal failure in cats an average of 17 months earlier. However, they went on to quote Jean hall, DVM saying “Damage …is irreversible…”. They also say that low protein and low phosphorus foods are needed, with which I disagree, and that “fish oils, antioxidants, L-carnitine and medium chain triglycerides can help”. This is good to be including some nutritional support. However, will all cats be getting this test, at what age, and at what cost?
Until now we use Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) and Creatinine, among other tests. The creatinine is specific for kidney disease. If there is muscle loss (which happens in older cats who have not found what is needed to maintain health), less creatinine may be produced, artificially keeping the creatinine test normal even when the kidneys are failing. SDMA (symmetric dimethlarginine) is not affected by muscle loss.
From a holistic standpoint, it is wonderful to have a test if we are suspicious of possible kidney issues. You are carefully tracking the Early Warning Signs of Internal Imbalance, using the Healthy Animal’s Journal (I promise the cat ebook version will be out in January) to know which foods are the best and what supplements produce the most glowing health. If you notice the thirst persistently increased (a healthy cat on a raw food, or even canned diet will not drink water, or not much) for no apparent reason (like feeding smoked salmon at Christmas!), this may be a time for the test. Or it would be a time to have an accupuncturist feel the pulses and evaluate the tongue, to get or give reiki, have an appointment with an animal intuitive and in general discover if there is something that will improve the thirst.
If the urine and blood values (new test or merely the old ones) you do not need to worry. Most older cats treated holistically live out their life span, often even with no subQ fluids. A 16 old cat presented (by phone) with serious kidney disease signs – vomiting, no appetite, weight loss, muscle loss and diarrhea. Because he was so hard to handle, the veterinary clinic had to sedate him to even draw the blood sample, which showed severe levels of kidney failure. They recommended euthanasia since he would not tolerate getting subQ fluid injections. He showed characteristic symptoms that fit the homeopathic medicine, Arsenicum album. We started with what she had available, maybe 6c, once a day. Within a few weeks he was much improved and with continued doses of homeopathic medicine, lived another 6 years, dying suddenly at age 22.
Most cats will respond well to homeopathy or good TCVM treatments along with supportive care. Of course basic health care needs to be followed – no dry food (even grain free), preferably a fresh meaty bone diet; no vaccines; no chemicals in the environment; daily Reiki or other energy healing; careful attention to symptoms; having a positive attitude around her; using other treatments (flower essences, etc) for any emotional issues. You can also choose totally safe flower essences to support the kidney.
Renal specific supplements may be needed, such as VetriScience Renal Essentials, Standard Process Feline Renal (email me for that), or RX for Pets (combination western and Chinese herbs) Kidney support.