What Pet Owners Need to Know About a Kidney Infection in Cats

Cat Diseases & Symptoms >
kidney infection in cats

Kidney infection in cats is a problem that can occur to any cat at any age. The term “kidney infection”, also known by the medical term “Pyelonephritis”, is sometimes mistakenly used to indicate any infection that involves the urinary tract. This means that some people use it to indicate an infection of the bladder, also known as cystitis. Below we will provide links to other types of urinary tract infections in cats that are more common than kidney infections.

Common Diseases of the Feline Urinary Tract

There are several types of urinary tract diseases that can affect cats. This article will focus on infections of the kidneys. Other types of urinary tract problems in cats include:

The cat’s urinary tract is a system made up of the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder and urethra. These organs work together to produce, transport, store and excrete urine. The urinary tract also rids the body of many fluid waste materials and products and has other vitally important functions, including controlling the volume and composition of the body fluids.

The kidneys are paired, bean-shaped organs. The indentation of the “bean” is called the hilus, which is the area where the blood vessels, nerves and ureters enter and leave the kidney. The structural and functional unit of the kidney is the nephron. There are hundreds of these microscopic filtering units, and each has the ability to form urine by itself. Each nephron consists of a circular ball-shaped cluster of small blood vessels called a glomerulus, and a small tube called a renal tubule. Nephrons are responsible for removing urea, which is combined with water and other waste products to produce urine.

Pyelonephritis is an inflammation of the kidney. We generally refer to pyelonephritis as a bacterial infection of upper urinary tract including any part of the kidney.

How Kidney Infections Happen

There are two ways cats can get a kidney infection. The first and most common way is from having a lower urinary tract infection (such as an infection of the bladder) that ascends to the kidneys. The other way is from an infection which is spread through the blood.

Signs of a Kidney Infection in Cats

Signs of a kidney infection in cats can vary from cat to cat. Signs may include:

  • Abdominal pain which can sometimes refer to the back or appear as back pain
  • Abnormal odor to the urine (foul odor)
  • Blood in the urine
  • Crying during urination (painful urination)
  • Decreased or loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination (can be more frequent urination or increased volume)
  • Lethargy or sleeping more
  • Straining to urinate
  • Vomiting

Infection of the kidneys can be life-threatening and lead to kidney failure. Prompt and thorough treatment is critical.

How Pet Insurance Helps Cover Serious Issues

How much will treatment cost for a cat with a kidney infection? The answer is that it depends on how sick your cat is, any co-existing conditions, the diagnostics and treatments that are recommended for your cat, and potentially your area in the country.

Very minor infections in cats could be treated with antibiotics on an outpatient basis. More severe infections may be treated in the hospital with intravenous fluids, intravenous antibiotics, and medications to treat vomiting and other digestive issues.

This can range from $200 for simple outpatient care at your regular veterinarian to over $5,000 depending on if they do radiographs (X-rays), blood tests, urinalysis, urine cultures, hospitalize your cat with fluids, or more depending on the underlying cause and severity of your cat’s condition.

Pet insurance can help pay for these costs if you have a policy. Depending on your policy, they can pay 80%, 90%, or even 100% after the deductible. Have you looked into pet insurance yet? If you have not done so, take a minute now to see if pet insurance is right for you and your cat.

Pets Best pet insurance has been offering affordable, comprehensive pet health insurance to dogs and cats, and it gives you the protection you need to help keep your pet healthy. Check out Pets Best today and see if pet insurance is right for you and your family.

Reference Articles about Kidney Infections in Cats


Pg 1 of 2