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Question
I have a question about renal disease in cats. I know checking specific gravity of urine is one of several things that could indicate renal disease and renal function. If a cat is getting subcutaneous fluids first, then a specific gravity is done on urine, after cat received subq fluids, How accurate are the results of the specific gravity?  What I mean is, can the subq fluids dilute the urine enough to drop a normal functioning kidney value of specific gravity for the test results?  (It could appear as kidney disease because fluids diluted urine)Or does the kidneys still concentrate urine with subq fluids, if they were functioning normally.  Thank you so much

Answer
Very good of you to ask a question like this. Sub Q fluids are processed by the kidneys the same as other fluids as they arrive there in the blood stream.
Though you did not ask how to best help your cat with renal disease, I will add a lot of material you can read if interested.

Holistic approaches have extended the life of many (even I would say most) cats with renal disease by 2-10 years. I had one patient with very high values and severe symptoms who could not be handled (needed sedation to draw the initial blood). There was no way to give subq fluids at home or in the office, so we merely put a well selected homeopathic remedy in the food and he lived another 10 years, becomming ill 2 weeks before dying.

I strongly recommend finding an integrative veterinarian with whom to work. This is a person trained in many different approaches, including using conventional drugs only when absolutely needed. Working with one can increase the chance that your cherished companion can live a long and healthy life after recovering from this current problem. There are good ones and great ones, and a few homeopathic veterinarians will consult by phone or email. You can go to the web sites for each type of holistic practice and use their referral list to find one near to you. Many practitioners are members of only one or two of the organizations, so you do need to go to every site to find who is near you:
1. Wide range of treatments: www.AHVMA.org, American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and www.civtedu.org.   
2. Homeopathic veterinarians (these can often help you by phone if no other holistic practitioners are nearby that you like): www.theAVH.org and www.DrPitcairn.com;
3. Chiropractic and Osteopathic - www.animalchiropractic.org; http://equineosteopathy.org/ (they treat dogs, too)
4. TCVM (Acupuncture and Chinese medicine): www.IVAS.org, www.aava.org & www.TCVM.com
5. Herbal - www.VBMA.org
6. Postural rehabilitation – dogs and horses -http://www.posturalrehabvets.com/Postural_Rehabilitation/Find_a_Practitioner.htm

SELECTING AND WORKING WITH AN INTEGRATIVE VETERINARIAN

Just because they say they are holistic, or are listed in one of the above sites, they may be very conventional in their approach. Holistic medicine takes the perspective of treating the whole animal. Even if there is a current problem, for example diarrhea or itching, a good integrative veterinarian will ask questions about what problems there have been in the past, what changes in the household or the environment may have triggered the current complaint and if there is anything that makes the current complaints better or worse. They will also evaluate the overall energy level of the animal. Their goal is to make the animal healthier for life, not just to get rid of the current symptom. They will educate you and explain what they see when physically examining your animal.

Some of the modalities that integrative veterinarians may use in addition to conventional include acupuncture, herbs, flower essences, homeopathy, chiropractic, network chiropractic, nutrition, glandulars, Reiki, Tellington touch, healing touch, long distance healing modalities. Some of these have certification programs with a year or more of courses, exams and evaluation of clinical ability. Others are either self-taught or not regulated. Some individuals are wonderful with your animal -- others great at explaining to you what is happening with your animals. A few are good in both areas. Few veterinarians are perfect, and we all have bad days. Your animal should at least be comfortable with your choice and you should be able to get your questions and concerns addressed.

Once you have done the internet work suggested above, how do you select one to start with and then how do you know if you are getting good service and what can you do to help them help your animals?

Ask the veterinarian you are interested in:
1. Ask what modalities are used?
2. What is their training?
3. Is their goal overall health or to merely treat the current complaint? This may be the most important question.
4. What organizations they belong to & how recently have they gone to conferences or taught?  (Just because they belong to AHVMA, or AVH, does not mean they are trained or capable in those modalities.)

As she treats your animal, a good holistic veterinarian will usually:
1. Ask about the history, overall energy, what might have caused the current problem, the environment and what makes the symptoms better or worse.
2. Their physical exam will be gentle, complete and they will show you (you may need to ask) what they mean by “gingivitis, big lymph nodes, heart murmur”, etc.
3. They will be willing to answer your questions and explain why they are recommending a particular treatment.  
4. If they recommend conventional treatments (antibiotics, prednisone, etc.) they will explain to you why they choose this over holistic, and give you a chance to request the more holistic treatment.
5. They will not do anything (vaccinate, treat) without asking you first.
6. They will recommend fewer or no vaccinations and a raw meat or at least more holistic diet.
7. They will schedule follow up appointments until your animal is really healthy.
(See symptoms of chronic disease)

What you can do to help your holistic veterinarian
1. Keep a dated journal of any problems, even little ones.
2. Write down any treatments given.
3. Call if symptoms worsen, or they are less energetic and less happy, or you have concerns.

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Dr. Christina Chambreau

Expertise

I can give you the holistic approach to any problem, mostly for dogs and cats and some farm animals and horses. Depending on the condition and the type of animal, I will be able to give very specific treatment suggestions such as what flower essences, homeopathic remedies, nutritional supplements, diet changes, lifestyle changes or herbs that may be helpful - not drugs. I can also suggest where you can go for further education or to find a specialist in a specific holistic field. I can help you understand why your animal is ill and what improvements can be expected. I do not check messages more than every one to two days, so PLEASE DO NOT ask about EMERGENCIES - call your local veterinarian. I cannot diagnose your animal. I cannot prescribe specific treatments. I am no longer very current with conventional treatments, so cannot answer questions on those. I am not an expert on birds or small critters. I am not an expert in breeding, birthing or babies.

Experience

I graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1980 and began using homeopathy in my practice after a client introduced me to it. By 1988 I was using exclusively holistic treatments. I began lecturing in 1987 and have spoken at veterinary conferences, health food stores, people's homes, churches, veterinary college conferences - anywhere people want to learn more about keeping their animals healthy.

Organizations
Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy (I helped found this one) American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association National Center for Homeopathy American Veterinary Medical Association

Publications
I have written in many magazines, journals and newspapers. A few include Bark Magazine; Journal of the AHVMA; Baltimore Dog Magazine; Whole Dog Journal; Tiger Tribe; Wolf Clan. I have also been frequently interviewed on radio and TV. I am Associate Editor for the Integrative Veterinary Care Journal, so often have articles there.

Education/Credentials
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Certified Veterinary Homeopath (CVH)

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