Chronic Kidney Insufficiency (CKI)

Chronic Kidney Insufficiency (CKI), also known as Shrink Kidney, is another kidney abnormality that can be recognized by a PKD test. CKI means Chronic Interstitial Nephritis; this is a chronic inflammation of the interstitial tissue in the kidney, leading to connective tissue increase. In a popular speech, this is also called Schrompel kidneys. It leads to complaints because less and less healthy kidney tissue remains. The prognosis for a cat with CKI is always unfavorable. Still, if early intervention is taken, it is possible to keep the cat in a satisfactory clinical condition for a long time, while also maintaining the quality of life.

CKI can be caused by wear and tear or inflammation (usually among older animals), but can also have a hereditary factor (often recognized at an early age). To date, CKI has mainly been found in the Ragdoll. However, data are indicating that such problems can also occur in other breeds. In the Ragdoll, there are very clear family relationships. Heredity is, therefore, very plausible. How the inheritance works is not yet completely clear.

Since the kidney has large functional reserve capacity, renal insufficiency only becomes apparent after 2/3 of the kidney is affected. Therefore, in middle-aged cats, it is advised to have the urine and blood tested. Blood pressure can also be measured. It is well known that many older cats suffer from hypertension, which leads to severe kidney damage. Early diagnosis significantly increases the treatment possibilities.

With ultrasound, the following can be found: the kidneys are abnormal in shape with an irregular surface. Often one or both kidneys are too small. The bark of the kidneys (outer layer of tissue) often becomes wider, whiter, and blotchy. The marrow (inner tissue layer) is more difficult to recognize. Again, these are changes that (especially in the early stages) can only be detected by an experienced researcher.

The complaints can be:

  • drinking and urinating a lot
  • bad food
  • vomiting
  • lose weight
  • bad coat.

The cat starts to lose weight, and at a later stage, he suffers from vomiting, diarrhea, and a typical mouth odor due to the accumulation of all kinds of toxins in the blood. Blood tests at this stage show elevated kidney levels (urea and creatinine). In a final stage, the cat will no longer produce urine and will eventually die of urea (protein breakdown product) poisoning.

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