Diets for kidney and renal failure in dogs and cats

Traditionally diets for renal failure have involved low protein and high carbohydrate models. Most recently attention has been give to moisture content (and rightly so), and more vets are now advising wet/moisture rich foods for kidney failure, rather than the more common dry food prescription diets. Raw meat is a classic base for renal failure, being naturally high in moisture, and acidifying. Given most renal failure patients are losing protein in their urine, along with water soluble electrolytes and vitamins, many of these can be replaced with raw meat. There is a new school of thought that advises feeding high moisture, high protein diets to early stage renal failure patients, and I have yet to be disappointed with the results. Cats in particular do much better on the high protein diet, and it is far more palatable. It is important to include water soluble B and C vitamins, and the use of phosphate binders can be considered in later stages of the disease. I find a raw meat diet with 60-80% raw meat, and a combination of cereal/vegetable and vitamin/mineral/trace element forms the perfect diet for managing early to mid-stage renal failure.

Monitoring urine protein/creatinine (UPC) levels is a very useful progression tool, as are regular blood tests for BUN (urea levels) and Creatinine and Phosphate. As long as the UPC ratio is less than 3, there is no need to restrict protein. If Phosphate levels begin to rise above the normal range, then phosphate binders like aluminium hydroxide can be used to bind and eliminate excess phosphate. I would recommend blood and urine tests every 3 months with pets that are undergoing any stage of renal failure. Keep multiple sources of fresh water available in several rooms in the house and in the garden.

A classic Chinese herbal formula can be used to support patients in chronic renal failure.: Rehmannia 8 (Ba wei di huang), which contains rehmannia, cornus, dioscorea, alisma, moutan and hoelen. This herbal formula can increase local blood pressure at the level of the kidney, and is able to “reactivate”kidney nephrons that are non-functional, but not yet destroyed, thereby improving renal function. Additionally supplement the diet with Vets All Natural Health Booster powder (which has all the B & C vitamins, plus trace minerals and antioxidants) as urine output increases.

As kidney failure does progress into the chronic, end stage disease, with the UPC ratio greater than 3, then it is time to restrict protein levels in the diet. To achieve this, we need to replace some of the proteins we use with what are described as high biological value proteins (proteins that provide more value per gram). The Moist Diet Formulas can be used to create a restricted protein diet that can be used for end stage renal disease, and for live failure (where low protein diets are also important).


Moist Diet for Renal and Live Failure

Ingredients :

(1) Fresh meat – preferably raw kangaroo meat, due to its high nutrient profile, and low fat content. It is free range /organic, and affordable. Try and get preservative free. Avoid chicken mince and beef mince if possible.
(2) Biological proteins – these are protein sources of high value and low mass. Fresh liver, eggs, cottage cheese, cooked fish.
(3) Rolled oats – soak an equal weight of dry rolled oats in water overnight. Ie 100g dry rolled oats, soaked in 100ml water = 200g soaked rolled oats.
* To encourage fussy eaters, soak or cook the carbohydrates (rolled oats, rice etc)in beef or chicken stock.
(4) Grated/minced vegetables – carrot, pumpkin, parsley, spinach, silverbeet. Pulp in your food blender or chop grate very finely
(5) Vets All Natural Health Booster – a powdered supplement that provides all the extra vitamins, minerals and trace elements (including calcium) to create a balanced diet. Animals with renal failure have a higher requirement for water soluble vitamins and minerals.
(6) Vets All Natural Omega Blend oil – a balanced oil blend to supply both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, as well as vitamins A, D and E.

Formulations (per 1kg mix) :

Cat renal failure Diet ( restricted protein 15%):
500g raw roo meat
100g liver/ egg/ cottage cheese/ cooked fish
270g soaked rolled oats (or rice, pasta, sweet potatoe)
70g grated vegetables
40g Health Booster (2 tablespoons)
20ml Omega Blend Oil (4 teaspoons)

Dog renal failure Diet (restricted protein 10%) :

400g raw meat
100g liver/ egg/ cottage cheese/ cooked fish
300g soaked rolled oats
120g grated vegetables
40g Health Booster (2 tablespoons)
20ml Omega Blend Oil (1 tablespoon)
20ml Olive oil (1 tablespoon)

Note: Alternatively, you can use the pre-prepared Complete Mix to substitute the rolled oats and grated vegetable components . For the cat diet, soak 190g of Cat Complete Mix in 190 mls of water. For the dog diet, soak 230g of Adult Dog Complete Mix in 230mls water.

Dr Bruce
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