Chronic Renal (Kidney) Failure is a common complication among senior cats. With age, the kidneys are unable to properly filter and absorb water, causing pets to be in a chronic state of dehydration. While their is no cure for Renal Failure, several things can be done by the pet owner to keep their kitty feeling better, longer. A low protein, kidney-friendly diet such as Hill’s K/D or Purina’s NF can reduce the strain of the kidneys by reducing the amount of protein and thus phosphorus that the kidney must process. Also, the health care team can instruct owners on how to give SubQ fluids, or fluids under the skin, to rehydrate the cat and make her more comfortable. Typically, SubQ fluids are administered under the skin, through a needle attached to an IV line and bag of fluids. The needle is similar one used to give a vaccination. If SubQ fluids need to be given on a long term basis, it can be painful for the kitty to be poked daily or every other day, making it challenging for the owner to given the fluids routinely.
A skin button is a dime-sized latex port that is surgically implanted in the cat’s skin, while she’s under anesthesia, allowing for SubQ fluids to be given without a needle. A special adapter fits onto the end of the fluid line instead of a needle, allowing SubQ fluids to be given painlessly. The skin button is simply swabbed with alcohol to clean it and then the injection adapter fits into it. The skin button can stay in the skin for several months or as directed by the veterinarian.
“Izzy” is an 11 year old spayed/female Domestic Shorthair cat affected by Renal Failure. She had a skin button implanted the beginning of June. Her owners are finding it much easier to administer the SubQ fluids to “Izzy” at home through the skin button and report that she is tolerating the button well!