I adopted a cat with PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease). Will she get sick?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – I adopted a cat that has PKD. What should I do. She is healthy now. She is a 2-year-old Persian. Her name is Pickles. How should I monitor her?

Julie Dyson – St. Louis, MO


Hi – thanks for your email. As you know, PKD stands for “Polycystic Kidney Disease”. It is common in this breed. The disease can occur in either gender and it can be diagnosed in kittens less than 6-months-old. It may be diagnosed in some cats between 3 and 11 years of age with the clinical signs of the disorder typically occur around the age of seven years. It is estimated that 40% of all Persian and Persian related cats are affected. Not all cats with PKD will develop kidney failure.

Screening using abdominal ultrasound is recommended in kittens older than 16 weeks. If this screening is negative, abdominal ultrasound should be repeated at after your cat is about 10 months old.

Pets affected with PKD that should be neutered and not bred. Affected cats with no signs of illness should be monitored by checking laboratory work (including BUN, Creatinine, and urine specific gravity) every 6 to 12 months to evaluate progression of the disease to kidney failure.

An article that might be helpful to you is Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD).

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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