It can be difficult, as a pet owner, to care for a cat with kidney disease. Seeing your furry friend going through this difficult time can be hard, and at-home treatments aren't always easy to follow along with. One thing your pet's vet may want you to do is to give the cat fluids on a regular basis. However, recognizing the signs of your cat's blood having a problem is critical in order to protect their health. Here's why you should proceed with caution and how to recognize symptoms.
Why Fluids are Given
Your cat's kidneys are responsible for filtering their entire blood supply every time it passes through. In order to do this, the kidneys need fluid, which is usually provided in the form of water and wet food. However, when a cat has kidney disease, its kidneys are less effective at performing this task and need more fluids as a result. Drinking may not be enough, so your vet may suggest that you give them subcutaneous fluids. These fluids can help to make up for dehydration, but they can also go too far.
Why It's a Problem
Diluting the blood with too much fluid is actually possible, and it's a particular danger for cats with kidney disease, as they may develop anemia.
The cat's kidneys are responsible for producing a hormone that signals the body to build new red blood cells. With less of this hormone being produced, your cat may have fewer red blood cells than a healthy cat, to begin with. Then, with too much fluid added to their blood, their blood can effectively become diluted. This is dangerous for a cat's health and it's why you need to follow your vet's directions very closely when providing fluids.
If you're worried about your cat, you should know what to look for. In general, cats who are anemic will experience signs of lethargy, tiredness, and they may sleep excessively. You may also notice your cat experiencing shortness of breath when they move around, especially if they try to engage in playing or climbing.
If you notice your cat has any of these symptoms, get to a critical care veterinary facility right away. Your cat may have received too many fluids, or they may be critically anemic and need a blood transfusion. The good news is that with medical care, your cat should be feeling well again soon. However, never put off this step if you suspect something is wrong with your cat; their kidneys and blood rely on you for help.
For more information about pet critical care, contact a local veterinarian.