Archive for Sunday, January 19, 2003

Ailing cats may need more fluids under skin

January 19, 2003


I have an older cat in the early stages of kidney failure. We have her on special food and are looking at giving her "sub-q" fluids. My question is this: She will take water from a syringe very easily, and I was wondering what would be the typical daily water intake for a 6-pound cat?

She is not drinking water very well on her own, but the syringe seems to work and she is more active afterward, so I think it makes her feel better.

The typical water intake for a normal 6-pound cat is about 200 to 300 ml per day. In your cat's case, she will need more because of her kidney failure. There is no way you can give her as much fluid by mouth as she needs to keep her kidneys functioning.

The administration of fluids under the skin ("sub-q") is very helpful for dogs and cats with kidney failure. I believe it is the most important treatment that an owner can provide, and it is not hard for you to do or painful for your cat. I also recommend a special diet and various supplements (herbs, antioxidants, fish oil).

Have your doctor monitor her blood and urine tests every few months. I also would try to minimize any stress to her and reduce or eliminate future vaccinations. And because inflammation and infection can further injure her kidneys, I would make sure you have her teeth cleaned often.

-- Dr. Shawn P. Messonnier, author of the "Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats," is a veterinarian and pet care advocate.

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