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Chronic kidney disease in aged cats: Clinical features, morphology, and proposed pathogeneses

Brown, C; Elliott, J; Schmiedt, C; Brown, S


C Brown

J Elliott

C Schmiedt

S Brown


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the most common metabolic disease of domesticated cats, with most affected cats being geriatric (>12 years of age). The prevalence of CKD in cats exceeds that observed in dogs, and the frequency of the diagnosis of CKD in cats has increased in recent decades. Typical histologic features include interstitial inflammation, tubular atrophy, and fibrosis with secondary glomerulosclerosis. In contrast to people and dogs, primary glomerulopathies with marked proteinuria are remarkably rare findings in cats. Although a variety of primary renal diseases have been implicated, the disease is idiopathic in most cats. Tubulointerstitial changes, including fibrosis, are present in the early stages of feline CKD and become more severe in advanced disease. A variety of factors—including aging, ischemia, comorbid conditions, phosphorus overload, and routine vaccinations—have been implicated as factors that could contribute to the initiation of this disease in affected cats. Factors that are related to progression of established CKD, which occurs in some but not all cats, include dietary phosphorus intake, magnitude of proteinuria, and anemia. Renal fibrosis, a common histologic feature of aged feline kidneys, interferes with the normal relationship between peritubular capillaries and renal tubules. Experimentally, renal ischemia results in morphologic changes similar to those observed in spontaneous CKD. Renal hypoxia, perhaps episodic, may play a role in the initiation and progression of this disease.


Brown, C., Elliott, J., Schmiedt, C., & Brown, S. (2016). Chronic kidney disease in aged cats: Clinical features, morphology, and proposed pathogeneses. Veterinary Pathology, 53(2), 309-326.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2016
Publication Date Mar 1, 2016
Deposit Date Nov 26, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 26, 2015
Print ISSN 0300-9858
Publisher American College of Veterinary Pathologists
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 53
Issue 2
Pages 309-326
Public URL