Chronic kidney disease (CKD) used to be called Kidney (or renal) failure; it is sometimes also called chronic renal insufficiency. This condition can affect both dogs and cats but affects cats more frequently and they can often live longer after the onset of this condition.
It refers to a progressive loss of kidney function. It is important to rule out possible causes of kidney disease such as toxins, infections, stones, and tumors among others. However, especially in cats, the cause is often not identified.
Because the kidneys have so important functions, their decline leads to many potential consequences such as dehydration, build-up of toxins in the bloodstream, increased blood phosphorus levels, acid/base disturbances, high blood pressure, protein loss through the urine, among others.
Pets with CKD may have clinical signs such as increased thirst, urination and in more advanced stages, loss of appetite, weight loss and vomiting, for example.
CKD is staged based on IRIS Kidney Guidelines that includes various diagnostic tests; staging is important because it helps your veterinarian guide management of this condition.