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What is Bacterial Kidney Infection?

Infections of the urinary system in cats are most often the result of bacteria entering the body. Bacteria usually enter the cat’s body through the urethra and then travel to the bladder. In some cases, the bacteria causes infection in the bladder, known as Bacterial Cystitis. The infection can move on to the kidneys and cause infection there, known as pyelonephritis. Factors that increase the risk of a urinary infection include problems with urine flow, sugar in the urine, advanced age, overly dilute urine, a compromised immune system, or comorbidity of other diseases. As cats age, kidney concerns become more common.

Bacterial Kidney Infection Average Cost

From 540 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,200

Average Cost

$400

Symptoms of Bacterial Kidney Infection in Cats

In many cases, a cat does not exhibit symptoms until the infection is advanced. The greatest risk factor for kidney infection in your cat is that your cat will experience  kidney failure. A change in your cat’s urination habits may be a red flag for some type of kidney problem. If your cat seems to be spending too much time in the litter box or has urine accidents outside of the litter box, a urinary tract infection may be to blame. Symptoms to be aware of include: 

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Excessive urination or difficulty urinating 
  • Blood in urine
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Discolored Urine
  • Abdominal or lower back pain
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Causes of Bacterial Kidney Infection in Cats

Your veterinarian may not be able to pinpoint a specific cause of your cat’s kidney bacterial infection. In general, elderly cats and very young kittens are the most susceptible due to weakened or compromised immune systems. Other causes of pyelonephritis may include:

  • Stones in the kidney or ureter that prevent urine from flowing normally
  • Birth defects in young kittens, such as ectopic ureter (ureter bypasses the bladder and enters the urethra from outside the bladder wall)
  • Ureteral movement
  • A restriction in the blood supply to the kidneys or flap valves between the kidneys and ureter
  • An infection in the blood that spreads into the urinary tract/kidneys
  • Blockages in the urinary tract can cause sepsis (bacterial infection of the blood) or urosepsis (infection of blood from decomposed urine being forced into blood stream)
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Diagnosis of Bacterial Kidney Infection in Cats

Pyelonephritis is hard to diagnose and difficult to treat. Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination and run a series of blood tests to diagnose the bacterial infection. The blood work will include a chemical profile and blood count as well as testing levels of potassium and phosphorus. Urine tests will also be run and will include urinalysis, bacterial culture testing and an electrolyte panel. In severe cases, contrast x-rays or ultrasound may be required. Other procedures in severe cases may include urine cultures obtained from the renal pelvis of your cat or a renal biopsy as a last resort. If your cat has kidney stones, an incision into the kidney may be needed to acquire some of the mineral content of the stone for analysis.

Be prepared to share with your veterinarian the symptoms you have observed and approximately how long that you have noticed the symptoms. Do not delay contacting your veterinarian as the bacterial infection can lead to kidney failure if not promptly treated. A bacterial kidney infection can cause permanent damage or can be fatal without proper treatment.

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Treatment of Bacterial Kidney Infection in Cats

Bacterial infections of the urinary tract need to be properly treated. Your cat can develop a resistance to antibiotics which can lead to infection that cannot be cleared up. Untreated bacterial infections in the bladder can lead to the more serious condition of kidney infection.

Treatment of kidney bacterial infection in your cat usually requires a long term antibiotic regime for four to six weeks. If you cat has become dehydrated, IV fluids may be required. Surgery may be required is there is an obstruction in the urinary tract. If your cat has kidney stones, they may need to be surgically removed or dissolved through shockwave treatments. Kidney stones can sometimes be alleviated through diet.

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Recovery of Bacterial Kidney Infection in Cats

Full recovery of kidney function is possible, depending on the amount of damage to the kidneys. Your veterinarian will perform follow-up urinalysis and cultures after treatment has begun and at the end of the antibiotic regimen. A special diet that is low in protein and low in phosphorus may be recommended. Due to the frequent occurrence of kidney problems in older cats, regular blood and urine screenings are recommended after your cat reaches 7 years of age. 

Be sure to administer medications as prescribed by your veterinarian and keep all follow-up appointments. Do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian with any questions or concerns. Call your veterinarian’s office if your cat does not appear to be responding to the treatment, continues to be lethargic or is not eating or drinking. 

For home management, provide multiple litter boxes in your home. A rule of thumb is one more litter box than the number of cats you have in your home. Encourage your cat to drink water and provide water sources throughout your home. Giving your cat canned food can increase his water intake. Prescription diet food may contain essential fatty acids and antioxidants to help maintain a healthy urinary tract.

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Bacterial Kidney Infection Average Cost

From 540 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,200

Average Cost

$400

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Bacterial Kidney Infection Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Tk

dog-breed-icon

domestic short hair

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Urinating Outside Litterbox
Throwing Up
Trying To Urinate
Cry

I have exhausted every option I was told about, including carecredit, scratchpay, and financial assistance programs. I can't get my cat to a vet until Friday morning when my paycheck comes through to my account. My male cat is crying trying to pee and i havent seen him actually get anything out since last night about 10 hours ago. He threw up this morning and I am terrified that he has a blockage. Is there absolutely anything I can do at home until I have the ways to get him to the vet?

Aug. 22, 2018

Tk's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

There is absolutely nothing that you can do at home for this problem, and TK is suffering terribly if he has a urinary blockage. The kindest thing that you may be able to do for him is to take him to a veterinarian and sign ownership over so that they can humanely euthanize him. That sounds very harsh, I know, but a urinary blockage is a terrible way to die, and it is fatal if not treated. I genuinely hope that something else is going on with him, but he needs help immediately. If you can get friends or family to help, he may have options.

Aug. 22, 2018

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Fenel

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Main Coon

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Dehydration,Lose Weigh,High Bun

Hello,2 months ago i took my cat to my friends house for 5 days and she didn't eat food like before and became depressed and vomited some worms. the vet checked her and took blood test,she has high BUN and ceratenine,dehydrated body and high WBC and RBC. we tried serum therapy for a month and the result became less BUN and ceratenine,and use antibiotic(Ampicillin)for 10 days and anti parasite for 3 days.we did sonography from her kidney (the size of them were normal ) and checked FIV and FELV kit both of them were negative. 4 doctor visit her but no one knows her problem ,she is too weak (less than 2 kilos ) now and cant walk ,her stool is dark and her eyes are become strange.

June 29, 2018

Fenel's Owner


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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

It is difficult to say what the specific cause of the increased white blood cells, red blood cells, BUN and creatinine are; however infections, inflammatory disease and autoimmune diseases are possibilities. Dietary management is a good starting point if not done already ensuring that Fenel is on a low quantity but high quality protein diet and received plenty of fluids. Further testing may be useful including a kidney needle aspirate to see the types of cells present. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 29, 2018

Thank you for answering. She used to eat renal food,but unfortunately she doesn't eat now And because of losing weigh we can’t continue serum teraphy ( she hasn’t acceptable blood vessel ). What should I do now ? She is not well at all

June 29, 2018

Fenel's Owner

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Marley

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short haired

dog-age-icon

20 Years

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Mild severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

My cat has been peeing in her sleep. She’s not experiencing any pain. In the past she has had painful urination on and off. When it’s painful I’ve taken her to the vet. They’ve given her an antibiotic shot and it goes away. I’m thinking I should probably take her to the vet again. She’s had 2 shots this year.

June 26, 2018

Marley's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

There are various different causes for urination while sleeping and may be just age related incontinence, however without examining Marley I cannot say for certain. You should return to your Veterinarian for urinalysis and treatment as required, I cannot confirm if this is due to another infection or something else. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 27, 2018

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Simon

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short hair

dog-age-icon

8 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Excessive Urination

My 8 year old has been excessively drinking and peeing. A urine test showed high levels of bacteria. Was put on clavamox for 2 Improved but within 24 hours symptoms returned. Went back for another urine and bacteria is back. Was told to stop antibiotics for 5 days to get a needle extraction to pinpoint exact bacteria. Is this sound advice? To wait 5 days without anything sounds painful.

June 7, 2018

Simon's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

I think that your veterinarian is trying to get an accurate urine sample to send off for culture, and Simon does have to be off of antibiotics for a period of time to have relevant test results. It may be worth having some lab work done as well if blood work wasn't done, to make sure that his kidneys aren't the source of the problem. Once they get the needle sample, he can be put back on Clavamox, if that helped, until the actual results come in - the antibiotic may change at that point, but if the Clavamox makes him more comfortable, there isn't anything wrong with doing that.

June 7, 2018

Thank you. Blood work came back normal. Is the excesive drinking, like 4 cups a day and urine like a weeks worth in a day, normal with a bacterial infection? I feel so badly for him.

June 7, 2018

Simon's Owner

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Cassie

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domestic short hair

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

12 Hours Of Treatment Little Change

Not eating or drinking, lethargic. Took her to vet and blood work revealed high kidney levels and dehydration. Would not say definitively what the problem was but was leaning towards kidney infection. Started IV fluids and drugs for 24 hours. Can not afford continued vet treatment. Is there anything that can be done at home?

May 26, 2018

Cassie's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

Kidney disease in cats needs very aggressive IV fluid therapy, and always has a guarded prognosis for improvement. 24 hours may not be enough time for treatment, unfortunately. I'm sorry that that is happening to Cassie. Many clinics offer CareCredit to help with unexpected expenses, if that is an option with your clinic.

May 26, 2018

Had a similar situation with sick kitty and limited funds. He had a 24 hours of IV fluids, then did Sub Q at home, but could tell he needed more IV hydration. We compromised and had IV catheter placed and he got IV fluids at the vet during the day. We took him home, flushed IV before bed and first thing in the morning, then took him back to vet for IV fluids. Over the three days he got another 24 hours of IV fluids.

July 26, 2018

Katie G.

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Lou

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Calico

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

No Appetite

Just had our 2ish year old cat(Lou) brought in today with a kidney infection. They are keeping him overnight for 3 nights of fluids and IVs and to be watched over. He just wasn't eating a lot at all and even stopped eating the dry food and would only eat wet food. We were not sure of what caused this but we're just curious as to how serious this is? like I said he is in good hands now for the next few days I was wondering what to possibly expect. Any help would be much appreciated.

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Tiny

dog-breed-icon

mixed

dog-age-icon

1 Month

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Abdomen
Weakness
Always Sleepy
No Appetite,

I got a stray kitten, it was too small to be in outdoors, so I kept her in my compound so that I can feed it till it can survive in the outdoors. It looked too tiny so I thought it's a small baby 2 weeks or something. It was eating and active for 2 days, one day night it stopped eating always sleeping. So I showed it to the vet and he said the kidneys are having an infection and its stomach is swollen and the chance of surviving is very low. I am trying to feed but it's just spitting it out. I have no idea how does a kitten get a kidney infection in such a young age, it's just a month year old.

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Ollie

dog-breed-icon

tabby

dog-age-icon

Four Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Lethargy
Loss Of Appetite

I recently noticed my 4 year old cat Ollie started to look very thin. I started watching his eating habits and he ate all his food up until a few days ago. He stopped eating completely. I took him to the vet yesterday and the vet said he has a heart murmur and a kidney infection. She gave us anti nausea medication and an antibiotic. I'm worried because he still isn't eating at all. Taking him back to the vet on Friday for an ultrasound. Is there any way I could help him to start eating again or is a feeding tube my only option?

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SkinnyButt

dog-breed-icon

Unknown

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Not Eating
Not Drinking
Sleepiness
Not Urinating Properly

Over the course of three days I noticed some changes in my cat. Keep in mind that this cat has only been with me two months she was a stray before hand so I really don’t know much about her. For the first month and I had her she had a fascination with water. She would play in it, drink yet, knock it over and walk in it, and would constantly get in the shower with me if I didn’t watch her. During this very first month she had an appetite that Went out to a human. I didn’t think anything of these traits were a problem up until three days ago. Then everything started to come together. Approximately three days ago I noticed that she wasn’t able to jump on the counter successfully as she used to. She would jump on a counter only to make it halfway, slide off the side and fall to the ground. I attributed this as her just not focusing. As I’ve seen her jump on numerous things at different levels of height with no problem. After that happened, the next day I noticed she was sleeping on the ground only. She wouldn’t sleep in her normal places and the places she would sleep were on something padded and in a crouched down seated position. I later notice that she would be in the restroom she would attempt to Urinate but after say 5 to 10 minutes he would get up and leave the litter box with little to nothing left behind. Another thing I noticed throughout the day was that she wasn’t drinking water nearly as much as she did previous. This cat had a fascination with water she would play in it, get in the shower with me, if a faucet was running you’d see her sprint to the counter lean in and drink it and also let it run down her face. To me it seem like a soothing thing for her she love to do. The most distinguishable symptom that was of concern to me was that she wasn’t able to keep her balance. Her back hip would lean Slowly to one side until he just kind of toppled over and she would walk in a circle as if she was confused. So after that I realize everything together started to paint a picture. I am mediately took her to the vet and had testing done. The bloodwork revealed her red blood cell count was extremely high along with her white blood cell count and all of her kidney functions were extremely high as well amongst a few other things that correlate with kidneys. She was extremely dehydrated she had tenting of the skin. The doctor tried to get a urine sample but was an able because her bladder was extremely small He said. He explain to me his diagnosis of kidney infection also explained to me because of her advanced age and how tiny she is it would be a 50-50 shot on her getting better. I advised him to keep her for a few days to give her IV fluids and IV antibacterial and also so he could alleviate any pain that she may be having . This was yesterday you never received a call this morning saying that she was comfortable and eating normally and doing well as of this moment. I will receive an update later on today but I’m in the same position as many of the other posters. I have limited funds to put towards this And I’m curious if anyone else has gone through this and have had a good outcome from treatment. Please keep in mind this cat was a stray for the last 10 years in this neighborhood. Has not been looked after properly that’s why I’ve taken her in. She was also said to be between 10 and 15 years old. She must’ve been runt because she’s extremely tiny. So she has many factors weighing against her. The only thing that soothes me at this point is knowing she’s had a long life and if it comes to an end at least she’ll be around somebody who loves her. I will continue to post updates but would love to hear if anyone else has had good luck. P.s This was transcribed from talk to text so please forgive any misspellings or bad punctuation.

dog-name-icon

Vega

dog-breed-icon

Angora, Tabby

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Gagging
Lethargy
Decreased Appetite And Thirst
Seemingly Tender Stomach And Back

I have a roughly three year old female long hair angora tabby mix, she is very off lately. She started out seeming lethargic, only getting up to gag; nothing but white foam had came up. She also seems to only be eating about 1/3 what she usually does (wet only - she neglects the dry food). Her meow seems to very 'muffled', she still purrs when pet, but does not like to lay on her side. It's been roughly 3 days now, I suspected she had a hairball not able to be passed but the vet I seen (after the first 24 hours of odd behavior) said she 'seemed to be fine' upon examination. No fever, nothing seemed to show up on the xray but droppings in her colon. I have not observed her use the litter box but once (poop), (multiple cat home - indoors only) but there has seemed to be a significant decrease in feces and urine in the trays; thus I suspect she is having a hard time using the bathroom. Anyway, she seems to show no real improvement after this time has elapsed, I have been giving her hairball remedies but she hates it and I'm pretty sure she licks it off and spits it right back up. She continues to attempt to vomit but nothing has come up other than a trace of mucusy like saliva(possibly the hairball remedy)/white foam. When she was trying to throw up she also had made strange hacking noises, I thought then whatever presumed projectile is within her would come up but it hadn't. She seems to hide a lot more often (obviously she is in some pain but it's hard to tell where). I suspect she is having pains internally within the stomach region somewhere; whenever she stretched I observed that Vega would not arch her back as a cat usually would. I do not know what the condition is, but I am at a loss because the first vet said it should just pass... now that I see this I suspect she may have a kidney infection of some sort but I am unsure, is there any advice as to how to help my cat make a recovery? I've already spent $205 for an x-ray just for a vet to essentially tell me he doesn't quite see anything wrong with her but I know my cat and this is not her usual behavior at all.

Bacterial Kidney Infection Average Cost

From 540 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,200

Average Cost

$400

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