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What is High Levels of Blood Nitrogen?

Your veterinarian may refer to high levels of blood nitrogen in your cat as azotemia or uremia. Both are serious symptoms of underlying conditions only a veterinary professional is qualified to treat. If you suspect your cat has excess nitrogenous waste in her blood, schedule an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible. 

Several compounds in your cat's blood may contain nitrogen, such as creatinine, urea, and other byproducts of protein digestion. Levels of nitrogen-containing substances in the blood that are too high may indicate excessive dietary intake of protein, dehydration, or abnormal kidney function. 

High Levels of Blood Nitrogen Average Cost

From 332 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of High Levels of Blood Nitrogen in Cats

Since blood circulates through and delivers nutrients to all parts of your cat's body, high levels of blood nitrogen can affect many systems and lead to some seemingly unrelated symptoms. Signs your cat may be suffering from azotemia or uremia include:

  • Dehydration
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Breath that smells like urine
  • Excess salivation
  • Change in volume or frequency of urine output
  • Coat that has lost luster
  • Weakness, confusion or stupor

If you suspect your cat may be suffering from azotemia or uremia, seek veterinary attention immediately. These symptoms could be indicative of acute renal failure or a serious condition such as chronic kidney disease. 

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Causes of High Levels of Blood Nitrogen in Cats

The most common cause of high levels of blood nitrogen in cats is abnormal kidney function. If the kidneys are unable to filter waste products from the urine, waste will be resorbed back into the bloodstream. The kidneys may also fail to produce hormones necessary for nitrogen excretion, leading to the buildup of these products in the blood.

A diet that is too high in protein or the overproduction of nitrogen-containing substances can also elevate levels of blood nitrogen in cats. Dehydration can cause nitrogenous waste products to concentrate in the blood, artificially elevating blood nitrogen. Symptoms of chronic renal disease or diabetes, such as excess urination, excessive thirst, or rapid weight loss can also lead to elevated nitrogen in the blood.

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Diagnosis of High Levels of Blood Nitrogen in Cats

Diagnosis of high levels of blood nitrogen will begin with a thorough physical examination of your cat, including the collection of all relevant medical history. Urine and blood samples will be collected by your veterinarian in order to perform relevant tests, such as a urinalysis, a complete blood count, and a chemistry profile. These tests will show whether nitrogenous waste is being excreted efficiently by the kidneys. It can also show what kind of nitrogen is present in the blood so that your veterinarian can determine the cause of the azotemia or uremia. 

In addition to confirming the presence of nitrogen in your cat's blood, your veterinarian will determine the cause of this buildup. Imaging such as x-rays and ultrasonography, urine cultures and tissue biopsies may be performed in to rule out chronic kidney disease or acute renal failure. The specific gravity, or concentration of particles, in your cat's urine may be measured to determine whether dehydration or excessive urination (polyuria) are contributing to the concentration of waste products in your cat's blood.

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Treatment of High Levels of Blood Nitrogen in Cats

Your veterinarian will target the cause of high nitrogen levels in your cat’s blood when determining her course of treatment. For end-stage chronic kidney disease, your veterinarian may recommend dialysis or a kidney transplant. Alternatively, lifestyle modifications may be recommended to ease pain and symptoms of kidney disease, including the discomfort that results from high levels of nitrogen in the blood. 

For acute kidney disease, your veterinarian may administer rehydration fluids or place a temporary feeding tube. A catheter may be placed to promote the excretion of nitrogenous waste as urea in the urine. Prompt treatment of acute renal failure may restore some or all kidney function.

Your cat's prognosis will also vary depending on the cause of her azotemia or uremia. Cats with high levels of blood nitrogen secondary to dehydration, for example, can expect a full recovery. Cats newly diagnosed with late-stage chronic kidney disease or acute renal failure will require aggressive treatment, lifestyle management, and ongoing veterinary supervision to prevent relapse. 

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Recovery of High Levels of Blood Nitrogen in Cats

Cats diagnosed with chronic kidney disease or acute renal failure will require intensive management throughout life. Your veterinarian may prescribe changes to your cat's diet, limiting fluid intake, medication, and ongoing monitoring of urine output. It is recommended cats in early stages of kidney disease follow-up with a veterinarian two or three times per year without symptoms. Cats in the late stages of kidney disease should be examined by a veterinarian every one to two months.

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High Levels of Blood Nitrogen Average Cost

From 332 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

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High Levels of Blood Nitrogen Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Ask a Vet

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Josie

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Short haired domestic

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9 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Dehydration
Anorexia
Vommiting

My cat, short-haired domestic, 9yo female, has underwent lab work after she stopped eating. Her BUN level is 218 and her creatinine level is 17.6; we have suggested euthanasia, however, the vet highly recommends we begin aggressive treatments, and suggests our cat may be able to live another three to five years if treatments are successful. What is her realistic outcome? We don't want to prolong her suffering if it is not very good.

Sept. 19, 2018

Josie's Owner

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Nano

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Black cat

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3 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Renal Failure
Renal Failure Creatine 3.8 ,Bun 81

My cats creatinine level was 4.8 and BUN was 132 but now after 21 days of IV and Subcutaneous drips his creatinine is 3.8 and BUN is 81 ...but I am not sure what type of diet should I give him ...he only wants to eat meat and chicken organs as he is used to eat this...but today he vomits and didn't pass the urine whole day though I am giving him Subcutaneous drip as my vet prescribed ...em so much worried for him ...please suggest me some renal diet that can control his Creatinine and BUN levels...

Aug. 7, 2018

Nano's Owner

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0 Recommendations

There are many different commercially available renal diets available from different companies (Hills, Royal Canin etc…) which offer high quality but low quantity protein and are nutritionally balanced; home mixing of foods especially when there is an underlying condition isn’t recommended. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 7, 2018

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Mr.Kitty

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tuxedo long hair

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25 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Runs, Pee Alot, Eats And Losses Wei
Runs, Pee Alot, Eats And Losses Los

Our cat is 25 years old and on no medication. He has shown high level of nitrogen in his blood panel. Problem, losing weight. He is all bones and has a monster appetite. He will swipe stuff off your plate. They don't really have any solid answers. They tested for all the stuff they thought it could be and it wasn't. What's going to really change regardless? If it was something common or easy or treatable that's one thing, but this isn't so we just let him enjoy whatever time he has left. He eats 4 tins of cat food Fancy Feast He gets the runs, he has soft and some normal bowel movements. He often steps in his runny poop and that creates a horrible mess. we are looking for a more suitable diet.

May 22, 2018

Mr.Kitty's Owner

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0 Recommendations

In a cat Mr. Kitty’s age, there are many possible causes for the symptoms which are presenting; I’m sure your Veterinarian tested for all the usual causes but some issues like digestive disorders or malabsorption can be difficult to diagnose. Possibly trying to move Mr. Kitty over to a simpler easily digestible diet may help but it may take some trial and error to find a suitable diet for him. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 23, 2018

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Princess

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Persian

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16 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Famished...Restless....High Bun....

My kitties bun level is 60...although sdma, creatinine and glucose are normal...does this point to kidney issues or something else? For the last 3 weeks she has been just famished....eating twice what she normally does...and seemingly not her usual self...seems distressed...restless...thyroid values normal...has had heart murmur all her life...heart is enlarged because of it...going to get a utinalysis tomorrow....what is going on? Getting scared

May 3, 2018

Princess' Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

When we look at lab work, we look at the entire clinical picture, including any relevant history to try and give us an idea as to what might be going on. BUN by itself can be indicative of kidney disease, or bleeding into the intestines. Since I do not know more about Princess, I have a hard time commenting on what might be going on, but depending on her signs, an ultrasound might be a good idea. You can discuss that with your veterinarian at your recheck, as they are able to assess her more fully, and the results of the urinalysis will help point to any problems, as well. I hope that she is okay!

May 3, 2018

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Sheba

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Abyssinian

dog-age-icon

14 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

No Obvious Symptoms

Our cat, Sheba, recently had a bout of pancreatitis, from which she has now recovered with the help of some antibiotics. The vet took some blood and urine samples at the first visit, and some more at a subsequent visit. Nothing showed on their local tests of the blood so the 2nd sample was sent to a specialist laboratory. Because she was drinking a lot of water when she was sick, and both the urine samples were coming back with low concentrations, they wanted to check her kidneys were ok. The specialist's result came back with only an elevated BUN. All other markers (phosphorous, potassium, etc) came back normal. Her drinking has returned to normal, and she isn't using her litter box as frequently. Still, they believe she has CKD, and want to put her a special diet. Are they correct in their diagnosis? Could the high BUN be just a case of being dehydrated due to her pancreatitis? Just to note, she was diagnosed with a malignant lung tumour last November. At the time we were feeding her a cat milk (no lactose), and we switched her to water only to remove carbs from her diet. She is on Redipred to reduce the symptoms of the tumour which was causing sneezing fits and coughing fits. She was also diagnosed with hypertension at the recent vet visits. Is on half tablet of Amlodipine.

April 11, 2018

Sheba's Owner

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0 Recommendations

If there are concerns regarding whether or not there is kidney disease, you should speak with your Veterinarian about a SDMA test (if not already performed) which is a kidney specific biomarker which is more specific to kidney disease than BUN or creatinine. The interpretive summary in the second link below goes over the possible causes for an increase in BUN on page 2 of the document. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.idexx.com/en/veterinary/reference-laboratories/sdma/ www.idexx.eu/globalassets/documents/parameters/8071-us-bun-interpretive-summary.pdf

April 12, 2018

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Charlie

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Domestic shorthair

dog-age-icon

19 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Appetite Loss

Cat diagnosed with C.K.D about 8 years ago--started vomiting. Blood work showed creatinine-10, BUN->130--Start IV drip 4 days ago--Creatinine-6.6, BUN->130--RBC-4.57, HCT-18.2%--We are considering adding Epogen to try and elevate RBC--Do you have any recommendations of what else to try?

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Prince

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Himalayan

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6 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

/Weight Loss
Depression
Halitosis/
Difficulty Urinating
Loss Of Balance
Lethargy
Disoriented

My Cat prints was a blue point Himalayan and he was a rescue from our local pound, a 3 yr. old healthy male. A few months later he was displaying some concerning symptoms We rushed to his vet The next day I was read the results of his CBC and sadly his BUN was 60+. That was 2 yrs. ago. More recently in the last 4 months he had lost 2 pounds & had all telltale symptoms. We went in for a teeth cleaning and blood test. He weighed 5 & 1/2 lbs. Next day I received an urgent call & was told his kidneys were failing / BUN was now 99!! I went along w/ 4 day IV drip but This was not a 24 hour facility.. His BUN and creatinine were going down & he looked stronger then shot up 50 points overnight! I’m wondering if this is common When BUN reaches 100?? The treatment worked adversely & By the time it hit 140 After being transferredto VCA/ICU I knew it was time to say goodbye. I Did everything I could -special food, antibiotics etc. He got so much worse in treatment; Couple days later I question whether it was enough, I Lost my best friend and I wonder were my decisions The right ones?

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Gypsy

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Persian/Calico

dog-age-icon

18 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Decreased Appetite
Decreased Appetite, Not Drinking
Decreased Appetite, Not Drinking, M

My cat is almost 19 y/o. About a year ago she was dx with CKD, Stage 2. It has ALWAYS been difficult to do any labs/meds/tx due to her aggressive temperament. Thus, in order to do so, she has to be sedated which is often isoflurane. Six months ago, I moved from the US to Malaysia. This was a difficult decision bc of my cats age and CKD. BUt i brought her in the cabin with me and altho she was unable to urinate for at least 27 hrs!! she did ok. So whats happened now is that she has been urinating slightly outside the litter box but mostly when she is deep sleeping. She urinates frequently in her box. She has developed severe matting ( she is persian) so I finally broke down and took her in to a vet for complete panel of labs, urinalysis to r/o UTI, and to shave her. This was approx 48 hrs ago. SHe is not doing well. Her blood nitrogen level is 13.6 mmol/L (approx 38 mg/gl). So the vet gave me Azodyl for her. BUt her behavior after returning home has been quite concerning. She has never acted this way after sedation. #1- she is lethargic, not drinking , avoiding the litter box completely and refuses to enter her room which is her sanctuary. #2, she has been just sitting in a peculiar, uncomfortable position in one place since returning hm. She is acting like she may be in pain.

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Baby GIrl

dog-breed-icon

Persian

dog-age-icon

15 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss

My Baby Girl is 15.5 years old. 1.5 years ago she had radioactie iodine injection to cure her thyroid issues. She has went from 6.3 to 5.7lbs over the last year. Took her to the vet for testing. Her Urea Nitrogen is 43, Creatinine 2.2, Bun/Creatinine Ratio 20, Phosphorus 4.6, PrecisionPSL 31. I've been reading about kidney disease and the vet is saying she is heading in that direction but not in a bad place yet. My cat does not like the prescription diet at all. What are your thoughts on supplements to help increase kidney function? I have been adding a few drops of wild fish oil with omega 3 in it and also got her PetWellbeing Kidney Support Gold and give her 6 drops of that daily and it does seem to have increased her energy. I have ordered her a new water fountain to hopefully increase water intake. I have also read about probiotics for cats to help with kidney support like the Purina FortiFlora and about a phosphate binder Epikitine. Would you recommend these products as well?

High Levels of Blood Nitrogen Average Cost

From 332 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

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