How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

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Kris35
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How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by Kris35 »

I've been reading about feline kidney disease and see a lot of cats are put on IV drips for a few days to see if it can help. I wanted to ask - how successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease - has your cat been on one and come off better and lived a fruitful life - or, has it made matters worse or been useless?

Just curious and thanks.
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by Kris35 »

Also - way off topic but how do we get email notifications for threads we subscribe to? I have to keep coming back to see if anyone has replied even though Ive subscribed - well it seems when I post I am automatically subscribed - but still no email notifiaction.
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by booktigger »

There are two kinds of kidney disease, drips help flush toxins out of the system, so it depends on the cause - if it's an elderly cat with chronic disease it generally just buys them time. I opted not to go down that route last year as it would have only bought my cat weeks, the vet did with hers and got months.

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Kris35
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by Kris35 »

Oh yes Ive got it now - thanks a lot.

Unless I hear of success stories where cats have lived healthily for at least a year or so, Ive decided not to put any of my animals through an IV drip again. For me, its not worth it to give them a few more months I dont think.
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by Grace56 »

When my Oscar became very ill with kidney failure, I had him put on a drip. Unfortunately, he died in the night.
The vet did give me the option of having him pts but I wanted to give him a chance however slight.
I wouldn't make that mistake again.
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by MarkB »

I have had 4 cats with kidney disease. Not always a good outcome, but Willow collapsed one day in a puddle of urine. We didn't even know she had kidney disease at the time. It was around Easter time. After going on a drip, she managed until the beginning of January the following year. My vet said that cats should really be on a drip for at least 3 days to get the full benefit.

It really depends on on so many variables. Alice was on a drip for 4 days, but had to be euthanised at the end of it as her kidney readings were getting worse. The vet said there were no guarantees, but it was worth a try. He wasn't after my money as they are my next door neighbours and I get 'mates rates' (I only paid £200 for her being there all week)
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by Crewella »

My Daz was on a drip two years ago after a urinary blockage caused toxins to back up and his kidneys to start to fail, and the drip certainly saved his life, but he was a 6 year old cat with no previous kidney issues. Again I've had dehydrated cats on a drip and that has been invaluable .... but for chronic kidney issues it may not buy too much time ..... my personal mantra in such circumstances (with an older cat with chronic kidney issues suddenly going downhill) is 'they deserve one shot, but if that doesn't work then call it a day'.
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by MarkB »

Exactly Helen. Sometime a 'kick-start' will work wonders, but if they start going downhill straight away...
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by Kris35 »

Thanks everyone. Have decided my old 18 year old will not go on a drip if her bloods come back next week and she has kidney disease. I don't think so anyway - never know until the time comes do we but I'm pretty certain.
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by Crewella »

It's never an easy decision, but you know and love her best and will, I'm sure, make the right decision for her. xx
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by Cussypat1974 »

As others have said, it depends on each cat really. For acute kidney failure (caused by toxin exposure) I would certainly use fluid therapy to flush their systems through for as long as necessary, and pray that not too much lasting damage was done. I have only ever dealt with chronic kidney disease, and to be honest, as none of mine were dehydrated, it wasn't even suggested by the vet (who is excellent).
I recently watched a cat at work on fluids for about 3 days, to no avail. There was probably more going on and the cat was in a very bad state, and didn't survive. The fluids definitely made her feel better though..... She was terribly dehydrated, which would feel like the worst hangover you ever had multiplied by about ten. From nursing cats on fluids I can say that the drip itself generally doesn't bother them though. I suppose that by the time they are sick enough to be hospitalised on a drip, they are beyond caring really, and only start to object when the treatments work and they feel better!

For an 18 year old cat with CKD..... Unless suffering from dehydration, I am not sure I would try it with my own. Especially of the cat was in any way nervous or easily stressed. Sometimes, just because we CAN do something doesn't mean we SHOULD do it. Fluids won't restore kidney function, but they will help the patient feel a WHOLE LOT better of they are dehydrated and unable to keep fluids down due to nausea from the kidney disease. With my own cats though, once they are that far gone I would probably opt for euthanasia to be honest. Death from dehydration would be a truly awful way to go.......
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by catlady1989 »

I just recently had bloodwork taken for my 20 year old, just to be safe. He has no severe issues, I just noticed he was drinking water frequently and became a picky eater. All of his vitals for his organs were normal except for his kidney. He does not have urination issues (i treated him for a minor UTI about 4 years ago). Because kidney levels were high, he was put on IV that I administer from home. its been 3 days and I see him drinking less, sleeping less, acting more curious and energetic. The vet had said that basically the toxins in his kidney are poisioning him, and also attributing to his bad breath---which i originally suspected to be a dental issue. The IV fluid can be expensive, costing $56 for a 10 day administer (i think she said 100 mg per day). Yet this could change if his vitals improve, i wont have to administer it as frequently. The vet also gave me options such as ordering through chewy or using carecredit/pet insurance. All and all, he doesnt feel the treatments because the are through the nape of his neck between the shoulders; and if this continues to improve his health and longevity, I will continue this process. He was not in the worst condition when i brought him in. Ultimately I would suggest routine bloodwork for your aging pet to catch any condition before it starts. I reccomend trying the IV, if the case is not already severe, as i have seen instant improvement in my cats health. :D Being kind of scary at first, there is tons of videos and information about administering online that are very useful.
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by klmabe2 »

How is you cat doing? My cat is 18 and the vet says doing an IV would just be like a bandaid and that there are no medications that will help him.
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by klmabe2 »

Catlady1989 How is you cat doing? My cat is 18 and the vet says doing an IV would just be like a bandaid and that there are no medications that will help him.
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

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klmabe2 wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 10:21 pm Catlady1989 How is you cat doing? My cat is 18 and the vet says doing an IV would just be like a bandaid and that there are no medications that will help him.
Sadly kidney failure can be slowed down but cannot be reversed or cured. It's a one way street on a downhill slope and all we can do is slow it down so the journey is longer and more comfortable. Depending on the cat and how much discomfort they can take makes the difference between whether we're holding on for ourselves at all costs, or improving quality of life until there is no more comfort we can give and letting go becomes the kindest thing.

If your cat will accept time on IV fluids, and sees enough benefit to make it worthwhile, then do it, but be sure you are doing it for the cat's benefit and not just because you can't bear to let go. Ask yourself some questions you can't face answering.

My first renal failure girl died 18 years ago after 8 years on renal food and perfectly healthy, once she fell ill it was just two weeks before she had enough. I had her in hospital on a drip for 3 days because the vet said "in rare cases" it can kick-start the kidneys - it didn't, but it made her last few days more comfortable and gave me a chance to spend quality time with her before she got uncomfortable. Breathing space, I would say, no more than that.
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by Mollycat »

catlady1989 wrote: Thu Dec 24, 2020 6:08 am he doesnt feel the treatments because the are through the nape of his neck between the shoulders
This is not IV it's Sub-Q
IV = intravenous which means into a vein and would never be done at home by an untrained owner
Sub-Q = subcutaneous, under the skin, which is done at home by the owner after being shown how by a qualified vet

Sub-Q is popular in the USA but not so much in the UK.
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by booktigger »

Mollycat wrote: Thu May 20, 2021 7:12 am
catlady1989 wrote: Thu Dec 24, 2020 6:08 am he doesnt feel the treatments because the are through the nape of his neck between the shoulders
This is not IV it's Sub-Q
IV = intravenous which means into a vein and would never be done at home by an untrained owner
Sub-Q = subcutaneous, under the skin, which is done at home by the owner after being shown how by a qualified vet

Sub-Q is popular in the USA but not so much in the UK.
Also (and I appreciate this is an old post we are responding to), I wouldn't say that cats don't feel sub-q fluids, I have had a couple of cats snap at the vets when they were being administered (admittedly, they were both cats who didn't appreciate being treated or being at the vets) - the first cat who needed them, the vet said it can be uncomfortable while the fluid dispenses. For people wanting to administer sub-q on a regular basis, vets can implant what is called a button, basically a port so rather than injecting them, there is just a hole for you to put the syringe in, although they have to stay indoors while they have one of those to avoid infection.
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by Laura127 »

To add my 2 cents - my 17yo cat is in ‘early stages’ of kidney failure (according to vet). When we found this out, they said it could be 2 months, or 6 months IF we did an IV subcutaneously. Our unique problem was - I found this out 3 months before I was supposed to leave for 8 weeks with my 4mo baby and toddler to see my family. They don’t live near us. My choices were - forgo the IV and let the cat potentially die in front of my husband who would be at home and is NOT capable of an IV or a cat death on his own, put the cat down (no one suggested this…when
I brought it up they were appalled, but I’ve done this to 2 out of 19 cats I grew up with when necessary, but upon further digging, he wasn’t ill enough to justify putting him down right NOW), or do the IV, buy some time, then when I’m away have my husband take the cat into the vet 2x a week to do it. We chose the latter. And as soon as I started the IV, the tests showed that his levels were such that he’d live about a year. We were trying to avoid putting a somewhat healthy cat down, OR having him die when I’m not there, in front of my husband who recently lost his mother so it would be quite traumatizing. They’ve told us due to my at-home IVs, combined with a 2x/week IV at the vet while im gone (im doing 3-4x a week at home currently) would be sufficient to keep him happy and healthy for at least 8-12 months. The last thing we want is to prolong suffering, but apparently It’s possible to use the IV in such a way as to get a positive outcome for all!
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by Mollycat »

Laura127 wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:27 am To add my 2 cents - my 17yo cat is in ‘early stages’ of kidney failure (according to vet). When we found this out, they said it could be 2 months, or 6 months IF we did an IV subcutaneously. Our unique problem was - I found this out 3 months before I was supposed to leave for 8 weeks with my 4mo baby and toddler to see my family. They don’t live near us. My choices were - forgo the IV and let the cat potentially die in front of my husband who would be at home and is NOT capable of an IV or a cat death on his own, put the cat down (no one suggested this…when
I brought it up they were appalled, but I’ve done this to 2 out of 19 cats I grew up with when necessary, but upon further digging, he wasn’t ill enough to justify putting him down right NOW), or do the IV, buy some time, then when I’m away have my husband take the cat into the vet 2x a week to do it. We chose the latter. And as soon as I started the IV, the tests showed that his levels were such that he’d live about a year. We were trying to avoid putting a somewhat healthy cat down, OR having him die when I’m not there, in front of my husband who recently lost his mother so it would be quite traumatizing. They’ve told us due to my at-home IVs, combined with a 2x/week IV at the vet while im gone (im doing 3-4x a week at home currently) would be sufficient to keep him happy and healthy for at least 8-12 months. The last thing we want is to prolong suffering, but apparently It’s possible to use the IV in such a way as to get a positive outcome for all!
Welcome to the forum, sorry to hear about your cat and I hope you do have a good while still to go.

Firstly if your cat is in early stages he's extremely unlikely to die in a matter of weeks. Cats can and do live good months and years from early stage renal failure, my own first CKD girl had 8 really good happy years without any treatment at all, just renal food, and then a few weeks going downhill and that was it. Ask your vet to give you an IRIS Stage number (one to four) or better still get the full results and check for yourself against the IRIS stage chart.

Secondly as I explained above IV means Intra (into) Venous (a vein) and its not the same as SubQ which is Sub (under) Cutaneous (the skin) which can be done at home and USA vets seems really keen to do, whereas UK cats seem to mostly do very well without. Too much fluid also flushes away essential minerals and overdilutes the urine, leaving the cat deficient and vulnerable to urinary infections as bacteria need strong acidic urine to kill them - cats are not humans and their urinary system works slightly differently. Just out of interest, what's the cost of each subQ treatment and how often have you been told to give it?
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Re: How successful are IV drips for cats with kidney disease?

Post by booktigger »

Wow, I'm surprised there are still vets who think that early stage CKD only means months.
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