Author Topic: Feeding the Kidney Patient: The Low Protein Diet Myth  (Read 1088 times)

Offline DeeDee

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Feeding the Kidney Patient: The Low Protein Diet Myth
« on: April 13, 2015, 09:49:01 PM »
Feeding the Kidney Patient: The Low Protein Diet Myth

http://vitalanimal.com/low-protein-diet-myths/

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Palliation, in our group experience among homeopathic vets and animal caregivers, is a close second to cure in these animals. We must find the best fitting remedy and give it repeatedly, usually once daily, and in so doing, these guys stay comfortable and happy. They slowly, ever so slowly, waste away, getting bonier spines and more haphazard appetites until they finally succumb, usually without fanfare. I’ve had renal failure cat patients live for five years or more on a remedy, fluids, and an appropriate diet.
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Offline Pookie

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Re: Feeding the Kidney Patient: The Low Protein Diet Myth
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2015, 10:21:12 AM »
This part is scary:

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All vaccine viruses need cells to grow on during their manufacture. Like growing those colonies of bacteria that you’ve seen on an agar plate, organisms of disease are cultured to be turned into an injection. In cats, who get this disease more than most, what cells were used as a culture medium?

Feline kidney cells!

And guess what kind of protein washes into the final product with the vaccine viruses that are harvested? You guessed it: feline kidney protein.

Inject someone else’s kidney protein into your cat, and what do you get? Right again: antibodies that are made to attack kidney cells! Here’s the study that proved that, from 2005.

Darn. Sounds a lot like we’re setting the poor cat up for kidney disease by vaccinating, doesn’t it? This is but one reason I call this your biggest decision ever.
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Offline Pookie

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Re: Feeding the Kidney Patient: The Low Protein Diet Myth
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2015, 12:38:13 PM »
2 interesting pieces regarding low protein diets and kidney disease.  The first is by a vet in Seattle who also appears to be holistic (I will say, I never had much success giving Chinese herbals to my cats.  The herbs have a very strong smell and my furkids just didn't like them):

http://allthebestpetcare.com/kidney-failure-in-cats/

And this is an abstract (a summary of a clinical study) that demonstrates that low-protein diets don't really work for cats with renal disease:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9582959?dopt=Abstract
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Offline Pet South

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Re: Feeding the Kidney Patient: The Low Protein Diet Myth
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2015, 08:43:31 PM »
So these studies are suggesting a raw food diet for kidney cats? Jemma is in the hospital right now getting IV. Her kidney levels are too high, we are very worried she may die. I need all the info on kidneys I can get, but do not have lots of time at the moment
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Offline Pookie

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Re: Feeding the Kidney Patient: The Low Protein Diet Myth
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2015, 10:45:03 PM »
The studies aren't specific to raw, rather, they're saying that low-protein diets don't really work for cats with renal disease (and IMO, they don't work for ANY cat because cats are obligate carnivores.  But that's a different thread. :) )

Protein is needed for all blood cells (white and red).  The body is made of protein.  If a cat is not getting enough (animal) protein in it's diet, it's body will start breaking down it's own muscles in order to survive.  That's when you see muscle wasting and weight loss.  Basically, the cat is starving.

This is from Dr. Pierson's site, www.catinfo.org:

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Kidney Disease (CKD - formerly called "CRF"):  Chronic kidney disease is probably the leading cause of mortality in the cat.  It is troubling to think about the role that chronic dehydration may play in causing or exacerbating feline kidney disease.

And remember, cats have a less than optimal water balance - especially CKD cats that are losing a lot of water via their 'leaky' kidneys - when they are on a diet of predominantly dry food.  The prescription dry 'renal diets' such as Hill's k/d - which are commonly prescribed by veterinarians - contain only a small amount of moisture (~10% versus 78% for canned food) leaving your cat in a less than optimal state of water balance.

I have no other word for dry 'renal' diets other than "atrocious" given their water-depletion, low protein amount, and the low biological value of the protein (plant vs animal-based) that they are comprised of.  I would have to be stranded on a desert island with no other food source before I would ever consider feeding these diets to any cat in my care.

Regarding hydration, I must say that I find it truly amazing when I hear about the very large numbers of cats receiving subcutaneous fluids while being maintained on a diet of dry food.  This is an extremely illogical and unhealthy practice and every attempt should be made to get these cats on a diet that contains a higher moisture content.

Please also note the following list of the first four ingredients of Hill's dry k/d after reviewing this section on reading a pet food label - and bearing in mind that your cat is a carnivore.

This diet (or any other dry 'renal' diet) would never find its way into a food bowl owned by any cat in my care.

The first three ingredients are not even a source of meat and the fourth ingredient is a by-product meal which is not necessarily an unhealthy source of protein but it would be nice to see some muscle meat ("chicken") in this product.

Brewers rice, corn gluten meal, pork fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), chicken by-product meal

The purpose of this 'prescription' diet is to restrict protein which, unfortunately, it certainly does.  However, please understand that there are no studies showing that restricting protein to this level will prevent further deterioration of kidney function.

'Renal' diets restrict protein to the point that many cats - those that are not consuming enough of the diet to provide their daily protein calorie needs - will catabolize (use for fuel) their own muscle mass which results in muscle wasting and weight loss.

This internal breakdown of the cat’s own muscle mass will cause an increase in creatinine (and BUN) which needs to be cleared by the kidneys. The rise in creatinine and BUN, and muscle wasting, can lead to an often-erroneous conclusion that the patient’s CKD is worsening.

Of course, the same deterioration can occur in any cat that is not consuming enough protein, but the level of protein in these diets is not only at an extremely low level, it is in an incomplete form for a carnivore.  Note that they are often made up mainly of plant proteins - not meat proteins - especially the dry versions.

I hope this helps, and I hope Jemma pulls through!  Sending purrs and hugs to you and Jemma.  grouphug grouphug grouphug

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« Last Edit: July 17, 2015, 10:54:04 PM by Pookie »
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Offline Pookie

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Re: Feeding the Kidney Patient: The Low Protein Diet Myth
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2015, 03:24:09 PM »
A little more info, this time from Dr. Karen Becker (http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2012/08/06/kidney-disease-in-cats.aspx)

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Proper Nutrition for Cats with Chronic Kidney Failure

A diet high in excellent quality protein and lower than normal amounts of sodium and phosphorous is recommended.  Controlling phosphorous intake has proven to be very important in controlling the progression of kidney disease.

Many veterinarians still insist that a renal diet should be low in protein, despite studies that show aging pets -- including those with kidney disease -- need more, not less protein. But it has to be very high quality protein.

So here’s the thing. If your cat is addicted to a food with rendered ingredients, meaning if your cat is eating a poor quality food that is difficult to digest and process, I do recommend you reduce the amount of toxic protein in the diet.

However, if your cat is eating human-grade protein, then protein restriction is often counterproductive and actually exacerbates problems of weight loss and cachexia (muscle wasting) -- two common health issues for cats with failing kidneys.

Many veterinarians will suggest a prescription dry food diet for kidney disease, but I absolutely recommend against this as well. Unless a prescription dry food is the only food your cat will consume, I don’t recommend you feed prescription dry kidney diets.

Cats with renal disease do best eating high-quality human grade canned food or a fresh, balanced homemade diet. Cats with the disease still eating kibble should be transitioned if at all possible to a diet that provides much more moisture to help nourish the kidneys.


Most importantly, cats with kidney disease must continue to eat. Unlimited access to fresh water should always be provided.
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Offline Pet South

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Re: Feeding the Kidney Patient: The Low Protein Diet Myth
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2015, 08:45:20 PM »
Thanks for that. Vet had prescribed Azodyl too. Wrote Dr Becker on Twitter, been following her a while.
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