The Animal Medical Center is researching stem cell treatment
in CKD cats. The cat needs to be not over 16 years old and must have no history of stones or any other
illness, although controlled hypertension is acceptable.
The stem cells will be obtained from the cat's own fat, and
will be transplanted into the cat's renal artery via the femoral artery
under general anaesthetic.
Since phosphorus levels often rise in CKD cats, treatments called
phosphorus binders are often necessary, and one commonly used phosphorus
binder is aluminium hydroxide. There is some
concern about the possible risk of aluminium toxicity
in cats using aluminium hydroxide based binders, but it is not known
what is a normal aluminium level in cats. This study aims to ascertain
normal blood aluminium levels in healthy cats and CKD cats, and check
the effect of aluminium hydroxide binders on blood aluminium levels.
Participants must be healthy based on tests within the last week or
alternatively have been diagnosed with CKD within the last week.
Meloxicam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
(NSAID) which is commonly used post-surgery and which is sometimes used
on an ongoing basis for problems such as arthritis. Two studies in
Australia indicated that CKD cats given low doses of meloxicam appeared
to be more stable, with improved quality of life and they lived longer
than CKD cats who were not given low dose meloxicam. This double-blinded
randomised study will investigate further. Unfortunately the nature of
the study does not permit us to be told exactly what is meant by "low
Cats with stable CKD with creatinine above 2 mg/dl
and below 4 mg/dl are eligible to participate. Cats with proteinuria or
hypertension are still eligible. Cats in the study may only eat the
therapeutic kidney diet provided by the study, which will last six
months. Participants will receive free testing at 1, 3 and 6 months and
will be supplied with the therapeutic kidney diet.
Azotaemia means there is increased nitrogenous waste in the
bloodstream, i.e. BUN/urea and creatinine levels are elevated.
Hyperammonaemia means elevated levels of ammonia. This study will
examine the hypothesis that blood ammonia levels will be elevated in
cats with renal azotaemia. If the ammonia levels are high, therapy will
be used to reduce them. Vitamin B12 levels will also be checked and
supplemented if they are low.
Cats with confirmed CKD with creatinine over 1.6
mg/dl are eligible. Cats with other diseases which may increase ammonia
levels (e.g. portosystemic shunt) or a previously documented vitamin B12
deficiency are not eligible to participate. Cats taking medications
which reduce ammonia levels such as lactulose or antibiotics may not
This study is
to assess the complications that may arise during and after the
placement of a
stent to relieve blockages. Bloodwork and urine output will be
monitored, with visits required two weeks and three months after stent
placement. Some of the blood tests and ultrasound tests will be paid for
by the study.
is commonly used as an appetite stimulant in CKD cats (see
Persuading Your Cat to Eat). Colorado State University has been
running trials into mirtazapine for CKD cats for some years. The current
study is researching the effectiveness of mirtazapine when given
transdermally (applied to the outside of the ear).
stable CKD with creatinine 2-5 mg/dl are eligible to participate. Cats
with other illnesses such as hyperthyroidism or complications such as
pyelonephritis are not eligible. The study requires three visits and
medicating your cat for six weeks. Your vet can liaise with Colorado
State University to arrange everything.
Telomere Senescence Study: Colorado State University
Telomeres are specialised
protective structures locatedat the ends of
chromosomes. The DNA component of telomeresgradually shortens with age and eventually becomes too short to
allowprotective structures to form and signal
the cell to stop dividing. This process is called cell senescence.
In a study sponsored by the Morris Animal Foundation, researchers
at Colorado State University are
investigating the role of cell senescence in the development of feline CKD.
Using aseries of tests, they will compare
measurements of cell senescence in deceased CKD catsand deceased cats who did not have CKD. They hope this may help
lead to further treatment options for CKD.
In order to do this, the researchers need to obtain
kidney samples from deceased cats. They are particularly interested in the
kidneys of cats with kidney stones. Although this is a
difficult thing to
contemplate, some people might like to consider donating their
cat's body to Colorado State University, to allow them to take a few small
samples afterdeath. In return, they are
offering free cremation. The ashes of the deceased cat would be returned
to their caregiver within about a week.
samples would also help with studies into whether nausea and lack of
appetite in cats with CKD are caused by a specific condition, and to
better understand the stages of kidney disease.
Please note: Dr
Quimby has left Colorado State University (see below), and it is not yet
clear whether this study will continue. Dr Lappin may know more in due
Dr Jessica Quimby,
previously at Colorado State University and now moving to Ohio
State University, is the leading researcher into CKD in
cats. There is a fund to which you may donate if you wish to fund her
work (this will be moving to Ohio State University but has not arrived
Buttons Duh Cat and Teo
Buttons Duh Cat and Teo Legacy Endowment
is a fund set up to fund CKD research, which will be undertaken at Ohio
State University College of Veterinary Medicine by Dr Quimby. I will
correct the link once the fund is up and running at its new home.
Chronic Kidney Disease Feline Research -
Stem Cell Transplants: Colorado State
A 2004 study
demonstrated that adult stem cells may assist with repairing damaged
kidneys in mice. Adult stem cells were taken from the muscle tissue of
healthy mice and cultured. Following implantation into mice with damaged
kidneys, the cells formed new blood vessels and appeared to improve kidney
A number of CKD cats have now received stem cell
treatments at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and
the Animal Medical Center, NYC. Please see
Treatments for more information on stem cell transplants in cats and
the findings of published studies. Colorado State University are not
currently recruiting for stem cell research, but see
above for more
information on the criteria for taking part in the ongoing AMC research.
is a heart medication commonly used in dogs. It belongs to a family of
drugs known as imodilators, and is usually used in conjunction with other
heart medications. It appears to be particularly effective in cases of
congestive heart failure.
medications, pimobendan is not licensed for use in cats but has been
widely used off label.
Use of pimobendan in 170 cats (2006-2010)
(2011) MacGregor JM, Rush JE, Laste NJ, Malakoff RL, Cunningham SM,
Aronow N, Hall DJ, Williams J, Price LL Journal of Veterinary
Cardiology13(4) pp251-60 found that pimobendan seemed to be
effective in cats with advanced heart disease and congestive heart disease
when used in conjunction with other heart medications.
Effect of pimobendan on the clinical outcome and
survival of cats with non-taurine responsive dilated cardiomyopathy
(2012) Hambrook LE & Bennett PF Journal of Feline Medicine &
Surgery14(4) pp233-9 found that cats with this type of heart
disease who received pimobendan lived for four times as long as cats not
Effect of oral administration of pimobendan on cats
with heart failure (2012) Gordon SG, Saunders AB, Roland RM,
Winter RL, Drourr L, Achen SE, Hariu CD, Fries RC, Boggess MM & Miller MW
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association241(1)
pp89-94 found that pimobendan worked well for certain types of heart
failure but that some cats with other types developed hypotension (low blood pressure). It
concluded "Additional studies are needed to establish dosages for
pimobendan and its effects before it can be recommended for treatment of
cats with CHF."
In 2010, a
member of Tanya's CKD Support Group whose cat had both CKD and heart
problems was prescribed pimobendan by a vet school. Her cat did very well
The Winn Feline Foundation reported in
2012 on a new study to investigate the use of pimobendan to help cats with
CKD at Tufts University. The researchers had already found it helpful in
previous studies for cats who developed congestive heart failure following
intravenous fluids. They found that pimobendan not only helped with
the heart problems, but the cats' kidney values also improved. The study,
Administration of pimobendan to cats with chronic
kidney disease, was still recruiting in 2015 but has now
closed. The findings will presumably be published in due course.
are prone to developing anaemia because the kidneys produce a hormone
(erythropoietin) which stimulates the bone marrow to make red blood cells,
but damaged kidneys find it hard to do this, so anaemia results. There are
treatments available but they have potential downsides, so there is
interest in finding safer alternatives.
University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary
Medicine ran a study in 2016 into
a new treatment for CKD cats with anaemia, with qualifying criteria being
that the cat should be in at least Stage 3 CKD, have a haematocrit level
(HCV or PCV) below 29% and not have previously been given any form of ESA.
I thought the treatment might be a
prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor (HIF-PH inhibitor) but that is
normally an oral treatment, whereas in this study, the cats were given one
intramuscular injection of the treatment, so I don't know for sure. I
expect the results of the trial will be published in due course.
Oxidative Stress Study:
University of Wisconsin-Madison
In humans, it is known that the degree of
oxidative stress reflects the stage of CKD. Initial research at the
University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine aimed to
measure a biomarker of oxidative stress in the kidney called
urinary F2-Isoprostanes (F2-IsoP) to see whether the same correlation
exists in cats.
were unexpected: F2-IsoP levels for cats in IRIS stages 2-4 were much
lower than levels in healthy cats, which is the opposite of what happens
in humans. However, it was also found that F2-IsoP levels were noticeably
increased in IRIS stage 1 cats compared to healthy cats.
In 2014 further
research was being conducted, because the initial findings may indicate
antioxidant treatment is necessary earlier in CKD than was previously
TREATING YOUR CAT WITHOUT VETERINARY ADVICE CAN BE
tried very hard to ensure that the information provided in this website is
accurate, but I am NOT a vet, just an ordinary person who has lived
through CKD with three cats. This website is for educational purposes
only, and is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat any cat. Before
trying any of the treatments described herein, you MUST consult a
qualified veterinarian and obtain professional advice on the correct
regimen for your cat and his or her particular requirements; and you
should only use any treatments described here with the full knowledge and
approval of your vet. No responsibility can be accepted.
If your cat
appears to be in pain or distress, do not waste time on the internet,
contact your vet immediately.
This site was
created using Microsoft software, and therefore it is best viewed in
Internet Explorer. I know it doesn't always display too well in other
browsers, but I'm not an IT expert so I'm afraid I don't know how to
change that. I would love it to display perfectly everywhere, but my focus
is on making the information available. I am trying to teach myself to use
another type of software, in the hope that using it will enable the site to
display better in the future.
You may print
out one copy of each section of this site for your own information and/or
one copy to give to your vet (though it is almost 1000 pages long, so it is
probably cheaper and it is definitely easier to buy the book version!), but this site may not otherwise be
reproduced or reprinted, on the internet or elsewhere, without the
permission of the site owner, who can be contacted via the