Does your cat suffer from appetite loss, vomiting, and a lack of energy due to kidney disease?
If so, you’re probably desperate for something to ease their symptoms.
Well, what if I told you that CBD could help?
While it can’t directly treat kidney disease, CBD is helping many older cats overcome their symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life.
Keep reading to learn how.
What is Kidney Disease?
Kidney disease, also known as renal failure, affects the proper functioning of your cat’s kidneys.
There are 2 main types of kidney disease that can affect your cat:
- Acute Renal Failure. This develops over a few days or weeks. This is most commonly caused by poisoning.
- Chronic Kidney Failure. There is no cure for this condition, and the exact causes aren’t always clear. Chronic kidney disease is more common in older cats and tends to develop over months or years.
Kidney disease affects up to 30% of cats at some point in their life.
Chronic kidney disease is much more common than acute renal failure and is more common in older or middle-aged cats.
What Causes Kidney Disease in Cats?
Poisons and toxins are the most common cause of acute kidney disease in cats.
Household items like antifreeze or medications like ibuprofen or aspirin can cause severe damage to your cat’s kidneys.
Certain plants, like true lilies, are also poisonous to cats.
Nibbling on these plants or even drinking their water from a vase can cause severe acute kidney failure.
Other common causes of acute kidney failure in cats include:
- Infections, also known as pyelonephritis, which causes acute inflammation of the kidneys.
- Kidney stones. Kidney stones are made up of calcium oxalate, a mineral that’s naturally present in your cat's body. While they don’t cause any obvious symptoms in cats, these stones can cause blockages in the kidneys which can lead to infections and renal failure. Kidney stones can also cause blockages in the ureter, which can block the passage of urine. This causes the kidneys to swell and become damaged. In severe cases that aren’t diagnosed quickly, ureter blockages can be fatal.
- Shock. Rapid loss of blood or dehydration can shock your cat’s symptom and affect their kidneys. Severe vomiting or diarrhea can lead to a rapid loss of fluids, as can overheating.
- Heart failure and low blood pressure, both of which can cause a lack of blood flow to the kidneys.
The causes of chronic kidney disease are much less clear.
As I mentioned earlier, chronic kidney disease is much more common in middle-aged or older cats.
Over time, things like infections and blockages can gradually wear-down your cat’s kidneys.
If your cat is over 7 years old and has suffered from blockages or kidney/bladder stones in the past, it's a good idea to have your vet regularly check their kidneys.
Blood and urine tests as well as x-rays and ultrasounds are relatively non-intrusive and can help you and your vet keep an eye on the health of your pet’s kidneys.
Vets suggest that certain cancers and thyroid problems can also cause chronic kidney disease.
Understanding the Complications of Feline Kidney Disease
The kidneys are vital for the proper functioning of the body.
Their main role is to filter the blood of toxins and create urine which then carries those toxins out of the body.
But the kidneys also play a key role in helping maintain healthy blood pressure and the production of hormones and red blood cells.
When your cat’s kidneys stop functioning properly, she might suffer from a buildup of toxins in the blood, which can cause a broad range of problems.
Acidosis, for example, is the acidification of blood and can be caused by a build of acids as a result of kidney failure.
Kidney disease can also affect your cat’s ability to produce red blood cells, which can lead to anemia.
Cats with kidney disease tend to urinate frequently as their kidneys struggle to properly concentrate urine.
Frequent urination can cause your cat to lose vital minerals, proteins, and vitamins, which can cause a wide variety of other health problems.
Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Disease in Cats
Some common symptoms of feline kidney disease include:
- Weight loss and a loss of appetite
- Frequent urination
- Drinking a lot of water
- Bacterial infections
- Blood or cloudy urine
- Unkempt appearance and a dry coat
Can CBD Help Cats With Kidney Disease?
Acute kidney disease can usually be treated and reversed, given it is diagnosed quickly by your vet.
The exact treatment will vary depending on the exact cause of the problem but may consist of a combination of surgery, intravenous solutions, medication, and dietary changes.
Unfortunately, however, there is no cure for chronic kidney disease.
Instead, treatment is usually focused on minimizing the symptoms of the condition and improving your cat’s overall quality of life.
That’s where CBD comes in.
Unlike with some of the other conditions I’ve covered on my blog, CBD can’t cure kidney disease.
However, it can help reduce your cat’s symptoms as well as generally improve their quality of life.
In fact, as you’ll see later, CBD is becoming increasingly popular as a natural supplement for pet owners looking to help their cats as they get into their “golden years.”
Below I’ll take a closer look at some of the general health benefits of CBD and how those can help aging cats dealing with kidney disease.
CBD Can Help With Vomiting, Diarrhea, and Appetite Loss
As I mentioned earlier, vomiting, diarrhea, and appetite loss are all common symptoms of kidney disease, but they are also common symptoms of other conditions, too (such as IBD).
And while they might seem minor, the effects of vomiting, diarrhea, and appetite loss are serious.
Diarrhea and vomiting, for example, can lead to dehydration, which in extreme cases can lead to acute kidney disease.
In milder cases, cats that are dehydrated will typically drink more water, which is already a problem in animals with chronic kidney disease.
When combined, appetite loss, vomiting and diarrhea can all lead to rapid weight loss, which is a big concern for aging cats.
Keeping up a healthy appetite and managing a healthy weight is key for older cats as it helps ensure they get the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
Luckily, CBD has been shown to be really effective at helping improve appetite in cats, as well as curb nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
In 2012, for example, a study from the British Journal of Pharmacology showed that CBD helped reduce nausea in rats.
CBD is known to stimulate the Endocannabinoid System, which has been shown to be involved in managing all kinds of different bodily processes.
This particular study showed that CBD helped indirectly activate 5-HT1A serotonin receptors in the brain, which in turn helped calm nausea and vomiting in the lab animals.
In 2017, a study published in the Handbook of Cannabis and Related Pathologies produced similar results using CBD and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids like cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and cannabigerol (CBG).
All in all, there is a solid body of research that proves CBD can help curb symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and appetite loss in cats.
If you're cat suffers from these symptoms as a result of kidney disease, I'd highly recommend trying CBD.
CBD Promotes Homeostasis
I know this heading might seem pretty confusing.
But homeostasis is really just a term to describe the proper balance in the body.
CBD has been shown to promote homeostasis by increasing the activity of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
This system has been shown to play a key role in maintaining the homeostatic balance needed to keep our bodies functioning properly.
Studies show, for example, that the ECS can help manage inflammation, pain, nausea and appetite, digestive health, and much more.
Again, this makes CBD a pretty attractive health supplement for pet owners whose pets deal with chronic conditions like kidney disease.
Scientists still don’t completely understand how CBD works in the body.
However, research shows that CBD does help increase anandamide levels in the brain.
Anandamide is a natural cannabinoid produced by the body sometimes referred to as “the bliss molecule.”
It has been shown to play an active role in pain modulation, appetite stimulation, memory and cognition, and much more.
You can learn more about anandamide and its role in homeostasis here.
Are Other Senior Cats Using CBD Successfully?
If you’re reading this, you’ve likely already heard about at least some of the health benefits of CBD. My full report on that is here.
Maybe you’ve seen it on the news, or maybe you even have a friend or family member who uses CBD to treat a specific ailment.
But chances are you still have one question resonating in your head:
Is this stuff safe for animals?
Well, it is.
You can read more about the safety of CBD here, but studies show that it produces virtually no side effects and is incapable of producing an overdose.
That’s why so many pet owners are already using CBD with their cats.
Arthur, for example, is a 14-year-old cat who suffers from chronic kidney disease.
His owners started using CBD after they noticed Arthur was rapidly losing weight as a result of vomiting and lack of appetite.
Now, thanks to CBD, Arthur is maintaining a healthy weight, eating well, and has even been able to get off some of his prescription medications which were causing him to vomit.
Finn has a similar story.
She is 15 years old and also suffers from chronic kidney disease, which was having a big impact on her overall health.
Her owners recently started her on CBD, which has helped her curb her symptoms and get back to her normal self.
Kitty, on the other hand, was struggling with lymphoma and extreme appetite loss.
At one point, her condition was so bad she hadn’t eaten voluntarily for close to 3 months.
Using CBD, however, her owners were able to help Kitty recover her appetite and get her health back up again.
These are just some of the success stories I’ve read from pet owners using CBD. There are honestly thousands of other great reviews and testimonials out there.
What CBD Product is Best for Cats With Kidney Disease?
There are countless CBD pet brands out there.
So, how do you know which is the best for your cat?
Well, I’ve been using CBD with my pets for years and there are 2 main brands I recommend to cat owners.
My top recommendation for cats is HolistaPet.
This brand produces a variety of CBD products and has a dedicated line of products specifically designed for cats.
If you’re looking to treat some of the symptoms of chronic kidney disease or aging in general, I recommend starting with HolistaPet’s 150mg CBD Capsules.
These capsules are formulated with turmeric, hemp seed, and CBD extract, offering a really comprehensive range of health benefits.
Plus, they are really easy to dose (1 capsule for every 10lbs of body weight) and can be easily opened and mixed into your cat's meal.
HolistaPet’s CBD Cat Treats are another great option, with each bite containing exactly 2mg of CBD.
As of the time of writing this, these are the only CBD cat treats on the market, and they're very popular.
Alternatively, another great CBD brand for cat owners is Canna-Pet.
This is a really well-respected company with hundreds of stellar reviews from customers who use their products for all kinds of conditions.
I recommend starting with Canna-Pet’s Advanced Capsules for Small Pets.
Use these for at least a few weeks and see how your cat responds.
If you see that they could use higher doses, consider trying Canna-Pet’s MaxHemp Formula, which has a much higher concentration of hemp extract.
Either one of these brands is ideal for aging cats.