My cat has kidney issues. How does IV fluid therapy for cats work?
Original Question: My cat has kidney issues. She has a lot of urea creatinine and SDMA. She is going on an IV today to try and clear her kidneys. They want her to be on this for 4 or 5 days however they do not have overnight care. What is the likelihood that another vet will take her where I don’t have to spend the $2,000 for care already?? - Sheila
Thanks for your question.
Let’s start with the fact that IV fluids are often needed for a cat with kidney failure when they become unwell and certainly this can sometimes be the first presentation that there is a problem with the kidneys. So as long as the damage is not too advanced these cats can do very well with this treatment. The IV fluid flushes all of these toxins out of the system, they feel a lot better and they start eating again. They then get put on an appropriate treatment, which is often dietary management, treatment to control blood pressure and stop protein leaking out through the kidneys, nausea, anemia and any other potential health issues that your vet can identify and treat.
Intravenous fluids are not without risk if the cat is left unattended. If too much fluid is administered too quickly then a cat can ultimately drown as the excess fluid built up in the lungs compromises their ability to breathe. We also need to keep in mind that a cat with kidney failure is more sensitive to these excess fluids. In a normal, healthy, patient while they can still get what we call fluid overload, the kidneys are able to cope and remove this extra water that’s being administered through the IV drip line but in a cat with kidney failure, that’s something they’re not able to do.
When it comes to the cost of IV care please consult your vet about the possible associated risks and low-cost options in your area.
I hope this gives you some insight.
Dr. Alex Avery
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