Nephrotic Syndrome in Cats

Overview of Nephrotic Syndrome in Cats

Nephrotic syndrome is characterized by the combination of protein in the urine, low protein level in the blood, high cholesterol and abnormal fluid accumulation in any part of the body (edema).

Below is an overview of Nephrotic Syndrome in Cats followed by detailed information on the diagnosis and treatment of this condition.

Dogs are affected more commonly than cats. The average age of onset varies, but middle-aged dogs are most commonly affected. Several breeds are felt to be at higher risk than average.

Two common causes of nephrotic syndrome include:

Glomerulonephritis (GN) in Cats

This is an inflammation of the kidney – specifically in the area referred to as the glomerulus.

Amyloidosis in Cats

This is the deposition in organs and tissues of a protein called amyloid that compromise normal function.

The type, number, and severity of clinical signs associated with the nephrotic syndrome are variable. Signs may be associated with an underlying disease process, such as with infection and immune disease.

What to Watch For

Diagnosis of Nephrotic Syndrome in Cats

Treatment of Nephrotic Syndrome in Cats

It is most important to determine whether the patient’s condition warrants admission to the hospital for treatment, or treatment at home as an outpatient. Treatment may include:

Home Care and Prevention

Administer all medication and diet as directed by your veterinarian. Return for follow up evaluation, and/or notify your veterinarian if your pet exhibits recurrence or progression of signs.

There are no recommendations to prevent nephrotic syndrome.

In-depth Information on Nephrotic Syndrome in Cats

Nephritic syndrome is characterized by the combination of protein in the urine, low protein level in the blood, high cholesterol and abnormal fluid accumulation in any part of the body (edema). In addition, systemic hypertension (high blood pressure) and thromboembolism (blockage of blood vessels with blood clots) are commonly associated.

Nephrotic syndrome most often occurs secondary to glomerulonephritis or amyloidosis. The clinical signs associated with the nephrotic syndrome may initially be mild, but as the disorder progresses, signs can be devastating to the patient. Depending on the specific case, certain diagnostics and therapeutics are recommended and tailored to that individual.

Several diseases/disorders appear similar to the nephrotic syndrome. These include:

Diagnosis In-depth

Certain diagnostic tests must be performed to diagnose the nephrotic syndrome and exclude other disease processes that may cause similar symptoms. A complete history, description of clinical signs, and thorough physical examination are all an important part of obtaining a diagnosis of nephrotic syndrome. In addition, the following tests are recommended:

Your veterinarian may recommend additional tests to exclude or diagnose concurrent conditions. Since cases of glomerulonephritis and amyloidosis can occur secondary to chronic infectious or inflammatory disorders, additional testing is sometimes helpful and rewarding. These tests are not necessary in every case, but they may be of benefit in certain individuals, and are selected on a case-by-case basis. These include:

Therapy In-depth

Stable patients can be treated as outpatients as long as they are monitored closely for response to therapy. Patients who are in kidney failure, have severe edema, have thromboembolic disease, or are profoundly hypertensive should be hospitalized. It is very important that all recommendations by your veterinarian are followed very closely, and any questions or concerns that arise during the treatment protocol are addressed immediately.

Follow-up Care for Cats with Nephrotic Syndrome

Optimal treatment for your pet requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your pet does not rapidly improve. Diagnostic follow-up is extremely important in these patients.

Urine protein:creatinine ratios, blood pressure, body weight, protein, and kidney values should be checked on a regular basis as directed by your veterinarian. Administer all prescribed medication and alert your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems treating your pet.

Avoid using drugs that are harmful to the kidneys. Affected animals of breeds with suspected familial disorders should not be bred. Long term prognosis is guarded.