Published: 16 May 2019 | Last Updated: 16 May 2019 13:24:32

Chronic Kidney disease (CKD) affects approximately 1.2% cats attending primary-care practice in the UK, a new study has revealed. The research, carried out by the Royal Veterinary College’s (RVC) VetCompassTM programme, also investigated risk factors for diagnosis and survival of cats diagnosed with CKD. 

CKD is a frequent diagnosis in cats attending primary care practice and the most frequent cause of death in cats aged over five years, yet there is limited published research for CKD in cats attending primary care practice. This study provides generalisable evidence from the wider cat population to aid veterinarians improve diagnosis and management of CKD that can benefit the health and welfare of cats with CKD in the UK.

The study was conducted by analysing data from 353,488 cats attending 244 clinics participating in the VetCompassTM programme between 2012 and 2013. Other key findings include:  

  • Most cats with CKD had clinical signs at diagnosis (66.6%).
  • Few cats underwent investigations or monitoring of serum creatinine (32.6%), urine protein:creatinine (UPC) ratio (14.9%) or blood pressure measurement (25.6%).
  • A renal diet was the most frequently prescribed management (63.8%).
  • Hyperthyroid cats, purebred cats, the absence of a recorded goitre, the presence of a heart auscultation abnormality, long-term non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) treatment, absence of cardiomyopathy, no anaesthetic within one year of diagnosis and a bodyweight less than 3.5 kg at diagnosis were all associated with increased risk of CKD diagnosis.
  • Median survival time following diagnosis was 388 days (Interquartile Range 88–1042 days).
  • Serum phosphate at diagnosis, UPC at diagnosis, breed, bodyweight, proprietary diet prescription, intravenous fluid therapy, diagnosis of constipation, phosphate binder prescription and cystitis diagnosis were all associated with survival. 

Professor Jonathan Elliott, Vice-Principal for Research and Innovation and Professor of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology, said “This study gives us important information about how cats are being identified and treated in UK general veterinary practice. It demonstrates that there is a need for greater screening of cats older than 9 years of age to diagnose CKD at an earlier stage and confirms the importance of monitoring plasma phosphate, urine protein to creatinine ratio and blood pressure to inform both prognosis and treatment.”

RVC’s VetCompass™ project analyses anonymised veterinary clinical records from over 1,500 UK vet clinics to enhance understanding and improve the health and welfare of all companion animals.

The study, “Chronic kidney disease in cats attending primary care practice in the UK: a VetCompassTM study” is available in the Veterinary Record. 

You may also be interested in:

Top of page