- Acute kidney injury or AKI (in its worst form known as acute renal failure or ARF)), is a serious form of kidney failure which usually comes on suddenly and which is often triggered by a particular event or "insult" to the kidneys.
- AKI is difficult to treat but in some cases the cat may make a full recovery. In other cases, the cat will be left with residual kidney damage.
- It is possible to have AKI and CKD simultaneously.
What is Acute Kidney Injury?
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a serious and usually severe form of kidney failure. Unlike CKD, which is chronic and usually develops gradually, AKI usually comes on suddenly and is often triggered by a particular event or "insult" to the kidneys.
Cats with AKI usually have very high bloodwork numbers. If a young previously healthy cat presents with high kidney values, AKI should always be considered.
Cats with CKD may develop AKI on top of the existing CKD, see below.
There is currently some debate over whether early CKD might actually be a slower and less abrupt version of acute kidney injury, according to Is progressive chronic kidney disease a slow acute kidney injury? (2016) Cowgill LD, Polzin DJ, Elliott J, Nabity MB, Segev G, Grauer GF, Brown S, Langston C & van Dongen AM Veterinary Clinics of North America Small Animal Practice 46(6) pp995-1013, which says "chronic kidney disease Stage 1 and acute kidney injury Grade I categorizations of kidney disease are often confused or ignored because patients are nonazotemic and generally asymptomatic. Recent evidence suggests these seemingly disparate conditions may be mechanistically linked and interrelated."
Pet Place has helpful information about acute kidney injury in layman's language.
Pathophysiology of acute kidney injury (2012) Basile DP, Anderson MD & Sutton TA Comprehensive Physiology 2(2) pp1303–1353 explains more about acute kidney injury in humans.