If a pet's immune system is activated, the protein products of that immune activation can quite literally plug up the filtration channels in the kidney's individual nephrons and glomeruli. This is called glomerular disease or glomerulonephritis. It is one of the most common causes of chronic kidney failure. Glomerular disease may be triggered by any of these conditions.
- Any chronic bacterial infection including pyometra and prostatitis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Tick-transmitted diseases
- Immune-mediated diseases
Blockage of filtration in the nephrons leads to increased blood pressure. Early signs of disease include those of the underlying cause of glomerulonephritis as well as weight loss and decreased muscle mass. The associated hypertension may eventually cause swelling to the limbs (edema) and on occasion sudden blindness especially in cats, caused by hypertension-induced retinal detachment. By this time other signs of chronic kidney failure (depression, polydypsia, loss of appetite, nausea) are usually present.
Whenever possible we will try to find the underlying cause of immune stimulation and eliminate it. Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplements help reduce hypertension. ACE inhibitor drugs such as enalapril reduce proteinuria. Aspirin may be beneficial to reduce the risk of blood clotting (thromboembolism), even in cats. Ashley McManus will give you diet advice.