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Companion Animal Practice
Diagnosis and management of chronic renal failure in the cat
  1. Penney Barber

    Penney Barber graduated from Edinburgh in 1988. After a period in mixed practice she gained a PhD from the Royal Veterinary College for research into feline chronic renal failure. In 1999, she returned to Edinburgh where she was latterly a lecturer in feline medicine. She is currently the Cats Protection senior lecturer at Liverpool. She is an RCVS specialist in feline medicine.


RENAL disease is a common and important condition in the cat, particularly in the geriatric animal. The prevalence of spontaneous chronic renal failure (CRF) in the aged cat is estimated to be three times higher than in the aged dog. There is a relatively small number of specific diseases recognised to affect the feline kidney, although a large and increasing number of cats are diagnosed with CRF. The duration of renal failure necessary to warrant the description 'chronic' is debatable but, generally, CRF may be defined as the presence of azotaemia or uraemia of renal origin of more than two weeks' duration. This article describes a clinical approach to the diagnosis of CRF and discusses how such cases might be managed. In addition, it outlines some potential complications of renal dysfunction.

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