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I wanted to write about the value of fluid therapy in EARLY renal failure in animals. We have been doing this in our holistic practice for many years and are seeing that these animals live longer, happier and easier lives. Usually, these are cats and they have elevated kidney toxin values like creatinine and BUN, often intermittent vomiting, a decreased appetite, dry stool and increased thirst. When you perform the lab work you see that values are not “bad” – usually at the high end or just above normal.
Most conventional veterinarians advocate fluid therapy for cats that are far along into kidney failure as a final, life saving measure. We are finding that helping the owner start fluid therapy (at home) under the skin 1-2 times a week has a great number of benefits. Among these are:
1. The extra fluids help the kidneys, so they can work more efficiently and, they deteriorate more slowly giving us time to work on the root cause(s).
2. The person also becomes more comfortable with the process and the cat (or dog) more accepting of that procedure without it having the LIFE OR DEATH implications and stress at that time. This also means that, if it is not a good day or experience, we can hold off, once in a while, without risking the animal. Thus, we can get into it slowly and more comfortably.
3. Elevated BUN and creatinine, often, create nausea, and that has a negative effect on the appetite. So, when these animals are given supplemental fluids, their appetite is usually better. Plus, the cat drinks less, may have a better appetite overall, since it is not filling up on water.
4. The animal almost ALWAYS feels better, eats better and is stronger. This creates positive reinforcement to everyone.
Later, when (and IF) the time comes that the fluid are essential for continued existence as the kidney function gets really bad (if they do), it is much easier to manage more frequent fluid therapy (sometimes as much as twice a day in really advanced cases. We have seen twice a day animals survive, with good quality for years). If we each this stage, it seems to come much later, if ever, due to the “normal” progression of the disease.
We, at Natural Holistic Health Care, have shifted to this approach on many of our cases and found it extremely encouraging. It’s nice to know if the cat (and I stress cats as they are 95% of the cases) is having a few poor eating or vomiting days, the fear of dehydration and the devastating impact that dehydration can have on the remaining kidney function, is much less since you know it is being hydrated.
Sub Cutaneous (under the skin) home fluid therapy is easy and we have also discovered a great needle that really helps. The normal large bore needle is the 18 gauge (green) one – the fluids flows quickly but the needle is pretty big. The 20 gauge needle (usually pink) is much smaller and easier but the fluid rate is slow since the bore is smaller. We have found a 19 gauge THINWALL needle by Monoject (olive) that is sharp and small but, because it is thin walled, has the same flow rate of a standard 18 gauge needle.
Those of you who have borderline kidney cats (or dogs), and a desire to do help earlier than later, should look at this approach or share it with your friends in this situation.