What is amyloidosis?
Amyloidosis is a rare, progressive kidney disease in which excessive amounts of a specific protein called amyloid are deposited in a cat’s kidneys. In time, the cat loses too much protein in the urine and is more prone to blood clots forming, and eventually suffers from kidney failure.
How does my cat get amyloidosis?
This is primarily an inherited condition in certain cat breeds, however, amyloidosis can develop in any cat of any breed or age due to chronic infections. This disease is far more common in dogs than cats. In most cases, however, pinpointing the cause is difficult or impossible.
How do I know if my cat has amyloidosis?
Most cats with kidney amyloidosis begin showing signs between ages 5 and 7. Among the more prevalent signs associated with amyloidosis are weight loss, drinking more water than normal, urinating more than normal, reduced appetite, periodic vomiting, ascites (fluid in the abdomen) and edema (swelling of the face and legs) as well as labored breathing. Contact your veterinarian if your cat displays any of these signs. The next step calls for your veterinarian to conduct a series of tests to pinpoint the true cause and rule out other possible ones. These tests include a urinalysis, X-rays, complete blood and chemistry panel and possibly, biopsy of the kidneys. A test known as urine protein/creatinine ratio should be done to measure the amount of protein lost in the urine.
What can I do about amyloidosis?
It is important to work with your veterinarian closely to identify any related conditions affecting your cat that may hasten and intensify amyloidosis. These may include hypertension or thromboembolism or chronic infections. If the kidneys have started to fail when the diagnosis is first made, treatment is more directed towards keeping the cat as comfortable as possible. Detected early, amyloidosis can be treated with low-protein prescription diets, medications, and IV fluids. Studies indicated that a drug called dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) may be effective when given at the onset of amyloidosis.
Is there anything I can do to prevent my cat from getting amyloidosis?
Unfortunately, there are no effective ways to prevent this disease. However, if you wish to adopt an Abyssinian, do so from a reputable breeder who has taken step to ensure this inherited condition does not present in the breeding line.
Are there certain breeds that get amyloidosis more often?
Yes. Abyssinians, followed by Siamese, are the most at risk for developing the inherited form of amyloidosis.