Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in both dogs and cats. Studies have shown a prevalence of up to 25% in dogs presenting to referral hospitals1-3 and approximately 30% to 40% of cats over 10 years of age.4
There are many causes of chronic kidney disease, including progression of juvenile or familial nephropathies and acquired diseases such as neoplastic and immune-mediated disorders, various infections, and inflammation.
Regardless of the underlying cause, renal injury leads to progressive nephron loss and reductions in glomerular filtration, ultimately leading to uremia and even death. A thorough diagnostic evaluation is recommended for any patient with suspected kidney disease and should include, at minimum, baseline blood work (eg, CBC, serum chemistry panel), blood pressure measurement, urinalysis, and diagnostic imaging. Quantitative measurement of proteinuria as well as renal endocrine function testing (eg, PTH and vitamin D levels) may also be considered.
CKD management involves a multimodal approach with a focus on proper nutrition. Nutritional management should be aimed at controlling clinical signs of uremia, minimizing disturbances in electrolyte, fluid, and acid-base balance, and modifying progression of CKD.5