When Theo was a kitten, he was found on a rubbish tip. He was tied up in a rubbish bag and was discovered because the bag was seen moving amongst the waste.
Theo was given a loving new home with Mr and Mrs Gregory and they fell in love with him straight away. Theo settled in very well. A couple of years ago, Mrs Gregory sadly passed away, and since then Theo has been a best friend and wonderful companion to Mr Gregory. Theo has been the perfect patient throughout his treatment at Valley Vets and is now almost 18 years old.
Theo was 16 years old when he came to Valley Vets for his annual health check and vaccination. During his check over, it was discovered that he had lost 10% of his body weight in the previous 6 months, despite having a good appetite. His owner had also noticed that he had been drinking and urinating more than usual.
This amount of weight loss is concerning in an older cat, and there are many common ailments that can cause these symptoms. Kidney disease, liver disease, hyperthyroidism and diabetes were all possibilities so a blood test was recommended to investigate this.
The blood test showed that Theo's kidney enzymes were elevated, which was suggestive of kidney disease. When this is diagnosed, it is important to find out what stage of disease this is so we know how best to treat it. This is done by analysing a urine sample and checking blood pressure.
Theo had to come in for the day to have his blood pressure checked as we needed to do several readings throughout the day. It is common to have a high blood pressure with kidney disease and if this was the case, it would be important to control it, otherwise it could lead to further problems such as blindness and can be damaging to the heart and kidneys, and increase the risk of strokes. Blood pressure is checked in the same way as in humans with a Doppler machine, which involves inflating a cuff around your arm. Theo was very well behaved for this.
Theo's bloods pressure was raised at 210mmHg. It should be below 150mmHg so this was dangerous and needed to be lowered with drugs in order to prevent further damage.
Theo's urine sample confirmed that his kidneys were not functioning normally.
Kidney disease is staged from 1 - 4, with 1 being a very early stage (often with no signs of illness), and 4 being end-stage kidney disease (where the cat is often very unwell). Unfortunately there is no cure for this condition but treatment is aimed at resolving any symptoms and slowing down the progression of disease. There will often be no symptoms of kidney disease in stage 1, but the earlier that kidney disease is detected, the more successful the treatment.
Theo had stage 2 kidney disease so it had been caught quite early.
Theo also had an ultrasound scan of his kidneys to make sure that they had a normal appearance and to rule out the presence of a cyst or tumour that might have caused this damage. Theo's scan was normal.
Theo now takes 2 tablets a day, one to lower his blood pressure, and one to support his kidney function. He is also on a prescription diet which is low in protein and phosphorus. This is not very tasty so his owner has to mix it in with a bit of senior food to tempt Theo to eat. It is also very important that Theo drinks lots of water as this helps to keep the kidney's healthy.
Theo is now checked every 3 months. He has regular blood tests, urine tests and blood pressure checks, all designed to ensure that his kidney disease is as well controlled as it can be. It is now 18 months since he was first diagnosed and Theo is doing really well at almost 18 years of age.
We wish to thank Mr Gregory for allowing us to share Theo's story.
At Valley Vets we recommend senior health checks from the age of 7. These include a blood test, urine analysis and a blood pressure check. They are designed to pick up common geriatric diseases at an early stage which allows them to be treated more successfully. Please ask at you branch for more information.