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Glomerulonephritis in Cats

By: Dr. Arnold Plotnick

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Optimal treatment for your pet requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be crucial. Administer as directed any medications prescribed by your veterinarian and contact your veterinarian promptly if you have difficulty treating your pet.

Follow dietary recommendations for your pet made by your veterinarian. Pets with glomerulonephritis often are placed on a low-protein, low-sodium diet and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may be recommended.

Observe your pet's activity level and appetite and watch for signs of complications including swelling of the limbs or abdomen indicating subcutaneous edema or ascites, sudden loss of vision indicating possible retinal hemorrhage or detachment secondary to hypertension, or sudden onset of difficulty breathing or loss of use of the rear limbs potentially indicating thromboembolism.

Actual prescribed follow-up depends on the severity of your pet's disease, response to therapy and your veterinarian's recommendations. Your veterinarian will monitor protein loss in the urine by periodically evaluating your pet's urine protein/creatinine ratio. Your veterinarian will monitor serum biochemistry on your pet to determine if blood proteins, including albumin, are increasing, cholesterol is decreasing, and to be sure that renal function (creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, phosphorus) remains stable.

Systemic blood pressure should be monitored in pets with glomerulonephritis, especially if your pet is being treated with an ACE inhibitor such as enalapril.

Close monitoring of pets with glomerulonephritis is crucial because the outcome is very variable. Pets with this disorder follow one of three clinical courses:

  • Resolution of the disease with return to normalcy. This course is most likely in pets with normal kidney filtration function (normal creatinine and blood urea nitrogen).

  • Smoldering disease that doesn't improve or progress with persistently high urinary excretion of protein.

  • Progression of disease to end- stage kidney failure over a matter of months to years.

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