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Possible renal problems in kitten

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by GuybrushJustin, Aug 31, 2013.


  1. GuybrushJustin

    GuybrushJustin PetForums Newbie

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    Hello everyone.

    We've had a very difficult week with one of our kittens (Guybrush) and I wanted to ask on here for advice. It's quite a long story, but in brief….

    Both kittens (brothers) were neutered last week. They're just over 4 months old. The operation seemed to go fine, and when they came home they were both fine. We left them sleeping in their beds but then, when our back was turned, they woke up and went a bit crazy. Guybrush had found a (sealed) bag of chocolate buttons, bitten into it and started eating the chocolate - he was found chewing on the chocolate. Shortly afterwards, he got severe diarrhoea and spent the night at the vet's on a drip. He responded well to treatment and came home the next day. He was given antibiotics as there was concern the operation site could get infected.

    On the vet's advice, he got a light diet of boiled chicken (to which I added a little pumpkin) for a day or two, and then we slowly reintroduced his regular food. Since then, he's been mostly fine (good appetite, drinking plenty) although perhaps a little less affectionate and purry than usual.

    Yesterday, he had his checkup with the vet, and she did a blood test as there was some concern the chocolate could have caused kidney problems. The test came back with slightly elevated urea and creatine levels (I wish I'd written the numbers down now, I'll need to get them from the vet next time I speak to her). She said there is a slight concern about those numbers, but cats (especially young cats) can recover from this sort of incident given time.

    She wants to repeat the blood test in a week's time, but in the meantime she suggested we could consider a renal diet. Since then I've been reading up what I can on the topic, but I'm somewhat confused as to what's best.

    His normal diet is Bozita and Animonda Carny, all of which is consumed with relish. He's not a fussy cat and generally eats anything and everything (this is what got him into trouble in the first place!) When we first adopted them, Guybrush tended to have runny poos, which cleared up when we moved onto higher quality (and grain-free) foods. We don't know for sure if that means he has a grain problem, but it does mean changing his diet risks that happening again.

    Anyway, the vet sells Hill's k/d and Royal Canin renal foods, in both wet and dry. I realise they can both also be ordered on zooplus. The vet knows my opinion on dry food and suggested the wet form. However, the ingredients lists do not fill one with much confidence:

    Hill's: Chicken (min. 4%), pig´s liver, chicken, vegetable oils, corn starch, wheat fibre, lamb´s liver, wheat gluten, rice starch, corn syrup, fish oil, calcium sulphate, potassium citrate, potassium chloride, DL-methionine, calcium chloride, iron oxide, taurine, calcium carbonate, L-cystine, iodised salt, caramel, magnesium oxide

    Royal Canin: Meat and meat by-products (pork, poultry), grain, fish and fish by-products (4% tuna) oils & fats, vegetable by-products, minerals, sugar

    Zooplus also do:

    Integra: Meat and animal by-products (15% chicken), cereals, oils and fats, vegetable by-products, minerals.

    Beaphar: Meat, animal by-products (min. 80% chicken, 5% chicken breast, 5% liver), grains, minerals

    All of them contain grains (which seems counter-intuitive - you'd imagine that would place more strain on the kidneys). Hill's manages to fit no fewer than 5 grain products on the ingredients list, but that may just be because they are being more specific than "cereals". Apart from Beaphar, all are rather vague on just how much meat they have.

    The other issue is that the Renal diets specifically contain low protein. My kitten is, at 4 months, just at his rapid growth point, and I'd be worried about restricting his protein intake at this point -- most cats with renal problems are much older and the foods seem more tailored for them.

    Finally, the one positive thing about the renal diets appears to be the low phosphorous content. However, I have read that you can add a Phosporous binder to normal food to achieve a similar result.

    I'm not making any changes to his diet right now - I'd rather he continue to settle after all the trauma of the last week and see how his blood test is in a week's time. However, I wanted to do my research so I can ask the right questions of the vet -- what's the general opinion on this forum of the (seemingly poor) renal foods available? Would adding a phosporous binder to his existing food be a better idea?

    Thanks for any advice or suggestions people can offer.
     
  2. Satori

    Satori One of Life's Winners.

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  3. GuybrushJustin

    GuybrushJustin PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Satori

    Thanks for your reply. I had read that site, though I'm still fairly confused as I can't find much on renal issues specifically in growing kittens (since this is fairly unusual). The main question I have is whether a reduced-protein and phosphorous diet is suitable for a growing kitten. Royal Canin's website specifically lists Growth as a contraindication for the renal food, and Tanya's site suggests kittens need higher than usual phosphorous to support bone growth. I must ask the vet what his phosphorous was in the blood test, since that wasn't mentioned.

    At this stage I'm just doing my research to get the right questions to ask when we see the vet next week. He seems to have fully recovered in terms of appetite, behaviour etc, so maybe we're worrying over nothing. It's easy to become a pet hypochondriac!
     
  4. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    My understanding is that a cat fed on high protein wet, or raw food will naturally have slightly raised kidney values....the BUN I think in particular so maybe this explains the blood tests.
    While Bozita and Carny are undoubtedly far better quality than the average supermarket wet food, they DO contain quite high levels of offal....and offal is higher in phos than muscle meat.
    So.....how about trying a raw diet? Home made with the minimal amount of offal that most recipes suggest ie 5% liver and 5% kidney.
     
    #4 Paddypaws, Sep 1, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
  5. Satori

    Satori One of Life's Winners.

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    I actually have a strong opinion but, because, I don't have actual experience of managing kindney disease I don't feel so qualified to advise. So just FWIW...

    I would not, under any circumstances my imagination can stretch too, feed any food made by Colgate or Mars to any of my cats. So the suggestions your vet has made would be out of the window from the off.

    Kidney disease in a kitten is an odd combination. I think you have to choose a damage limitation strategy. What is least likely to cause damage: protein, to the kidneys, or a deficiency of protein, to all the other organs? From everything I have read, I would feed a high quality protein based diet. I think on the balance of probabilities, that would cause the least damage. Anyway, the available trials that cast doubt on protein based diets are dated and dubious aren't they?

    I would be a bit obsessive and keep the P levels down. Of course, P is important for growing kittens. The growth phase Ca/P ratio guideline is 1:1 nowadays but has been higher in the past. Moreover the safe range goes up to 2:1 iirc. So I would keep P levels low but still within the safe Ca/P ratio. I am with Paddypaws in that I think I would feed raw and make my own to keep control of the nutritional content.
     
  6. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    Oh go on Satori, voice that opinion, I am interested in your view point.
     
  7. Satori

    Satori One of Life's Winners.

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    ... If I really were in the OPs position, I would keep it as natural as possible. I would feed raw and only raw and then train the kitty to eat whole prey. I would feed rodents as much as I could afford, and Chicks and seasonable small game. Nobody really knows all the answers here but I think nature knows the best way to turn a small kitten into a healthy adult predator whilst self-limiting existing morbidity.
     
    #7 Satori, Sep 1, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
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