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Dr. Fox: Preventing feline kidney disease
Dr. Fox

Dr. Fox: Preventing feline kidney disease

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Dear Dr. Fox: I am writing concerning our 6-year-old male cat. He was recently at our vet's for oral prophylaxis. During his treatment, he was catheterized and a urine sample was taken. The results showed elevated values for urea and creatinine. In addition, he had a positive "RenalTech" index, which our vet said means he has a 95% probability of developing kidney disease sometime in the next two years.

She has suggested we try a prescription renal diet, and provided us with cans of Hills, Purina NF Early Care and Royal Canin Renal to try. Our cat is currently on Blue Healthy Gourmet and has done well with it. My concern is with the effectiveness of special, commercial dietetic foods. I am skeptical, and look at these products as marketing ploys. Will this prevent his having kidney disease? Is there an alternative?

I know you recommend your homemade food, and will check your website for recipes. P.K., Danbury, Connecticut

Dear P.K.: So many cats have kidney problems, in part due to poor oral health care and related poor diet, dry kibble. It is essential for cats, and dogs, to have their teeth cleaned properly, or at least annually evaluated by a veterinarian. For details, see my reviews of dental problems and feline stomatitis on my website ( There, you will also find my article on helping cats and dogs with kidney problems, which offers alternatives to these costly, and generally unpalatable, prescribed diets.

I am not surprised that many veterinarians are selling manufactured prescription diets, which offer a significant profit margin, while failing to educate their clients on the best nutrition for their animal companions. A large number of pets are fed mainly kibble, widely sold in veterinary clinics, which lies at the root of many subsequent health problems. For documentation, see the book that I co-authored with two other informed, concerned veterinarians: "Not Fit for a Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Cat and Dog Food."

Big dogs neutered early

are at risk for joint problems

Mixed-breed dogs that weigh more than 44 pounds as adults are more likely than smaller dogs to have joint problems if they were neutered or spayed before they were 1 year old, according to a study in Frontiers in Veterinary Science. Shelters, breeders and rescue organizations might reconsider policies for spaying and neutering in light of the finding, says co-author Lynette Hart, a professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. (Full story: ScienceDaily/University of California, Davis, 8/13)

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