Chronic kidney (renal) failure is a common disease among cats and dogs that is both irreversible and progressive. Kidneys filter blood waste to generate urine and are important in the regulation of phosphorus, calcium, and red blood cells. Chronic Kidney Disease is characterized by the loss of kidney function and the failure to concentrate the urine. This process not only generates water loss, but allows for toxins that are normally filtered out of the body to accumulate quickly. The pet will compensate by drinking excessive amounts of water to deal with the loss. Ultimately, the pet will not be able to keep up with the water loss as the disease progresses. Symptoms of more progressed disease include weight loss, lethargy, nausea, and constipation.
Even though the diagnosis can be devastating, chronic kidney disease can be manageable long-term with a renal diet, fluids, medications, and nutritional supplements. Epakitin, a nutritional supplement, is often used in conjunction with conventional therapies to support kidney function. Epakitin is phosphorus binder made from chitosan (crab and shrimp shells) and calcium carbonate. It promotes kidney health by reducing absorption of phosphorus by the gut. High phosphorus levels can affect the body’s regulation of calcium and lead to secondary renal hyperparathyroidism.
Epakitin is not only beneficial to the patient, but is easy to administer and can be used in conjunction with other therapies. However, its use is contraindicated in patients with high calcium or with patients on calcitriol. As with any medication or supplement, the patient should be monitored closely. Blood work should be performed regularly with kidney disease. Ask your veterinarian about the benefits of Epakitin and your individual pet.