Kidney Enlargement Average Cost

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What is Kidney Enlargement?

Kidney enlargement is a condition in which one or both kidneys experience inflammation, fluid retention, swelling, or an abnormal growth. These situations can cause the kidneys to grow in size. This inflammation may be caused by a variety of conditions, some of which are life-threatening. Enlargement can be a warning sign of acute or chronic kidney failure. The kidneys are necessary to filter waste and toxins from the blood stream, so any condition that impairs their function will quickly have a negative impact on other bodily functions. Certain breeds are more prone to developing kidney issues, including Siamese, Persian, Burmese, and Maine Coon. Any cat experiencing symptoms of kidney enlargement or kidney failure should be seen by a veterinary professional.

Symptoms of Kidney Enlargement in Cats

Kidney enlargement can cause a variety of symptoms, although it is possible for the kidneys to be enlarged and the cat to be asymptomatic. If the kidney is very enlarged, it may be possible to feel or see the swollen area. The symptoms associated with an enlarged kidney closely resemble symptoms of several serious medical conditions. Any cat experiencing symptoms like these should be seen by a medical professional immediately. 

Symptoms include:

  • Lethargy 
  • Weakness
  • Depression or apathy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Increased urination
  • Discolored urine
  • Blood in vomit, urine, or feces
  • Increased thirst
  • Pale gums or mucous membranes
  • Abdominal bloating, swelling, or mass
  • Swelling around the area of one or both kidneys
  • Bad breath
  • Abdominal pain and sensitivity to touch
  • High blood pressure
  • Anemia
  • Seizures

Causes of Kidney Enlargement in Cats

Kidney enlargement can be a symptom of a variety of medical conditions. The kidneys may become inflamed as a result of injury, infection, or serious conditions like cancers or poisoning. Enlargement may also be related to issues with other organs or portions of the renal system. Some of the common causes of kidney enlargement in cats and other companion animals include:

  • Bacterial infection
  • Parasite Infestation
  • Feline leukemia virus
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Urinary tract obstruction
  • Blood clots
  • Poor blood flow through the kidneys
  • Cysts
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Certain cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma
  • Toxins, including heavy metals, solvents, and antifreeze
  • Some cancer treatments
  • Certain medications
  • Envenomation
  • Heart disease
  • Immune system diseases
  • Severe dehydration
  • Kidney stones
  • Amyloidosis
  • Trauma or injury

Diagnosis of Kidney Enlargement in Cats

Diagnosing kidney enlargement can be challenging because its symptoms are similar to other conditions and because kidney enlargement can be a symptom of a variety of medical issues. This will require your veterinarian to use multiple diagnostic techniques to verify kidney enlargement and determine its underlying cause. Be prepared to provide your veterinarian with information about your pet’s medical history, any recent medical issues or procedures, any symptoms you have observed, and how long your cat has been presenting symptoms. A full physical examination may be performed. It is often possible for veterinary professionals to diagnose enlargement during a physical examination because the kidney swelling or abdominal mass is palpable. 

Additional diagnostic methods will likely be used to determine what is causing kidney inflammation in your cat. A blood panel, including complete blood count and a close look at creatinine and phosphorous levels, is common. Urinalysis with particular attention to protein and blood in the urine is another routine method for identifying the underlying cause of kidney issues. Urine and blood cultures will help determine if an infection is responsible for your cat’s condition. Additionally, urine or feces may be examined under a microscope for signs of parasitic infection. X-rays and other imaging techniques will provide additional detail on the kidneys and interrelated systems. In some cases, exploratory surgery or tissue biopsy may also be used to form a diagnosis. 

Treatment of Kidney Enlargement in Cats

If your cat is experiencing kidney or renal failure, treatment will be required immediately. Kidney failure can quickly become life-threatening. Hospitalization may be required for several days or weeks to stabilize and treat your pet. Medication may be prescribed to treat the underlying cause of kidney enlargement, but medications carry some risk as the kidneys will be responsible for processing any medication. Some common treatments associated with kidney enlargement in cats include:


The purpose of dialysis is to filter the blood, which is a normal function of the kidneys. When the kidneys are functioning poorly, waste material is not properly filtered. Dialysis can help with filtering. There is a moderate risk associated with dialysis, but the treatment will be recommended if the benefits outweigh the risk. 

Surgical Intervention

Surgery may be needed to clear an obstruction, remove a tumor, or repair certain issues. Surgery carries some risk and will require careful observation during surgery and recovery. Your pet will likely be hospitalized post-surgery to ensure there are no complications. 

Intravenous (IV) Fluids 

Fluid therapy can assist with dehydration, removing some impurities from the system, and balancing electrolyte levels. This common treatment carries a very low risk but is generally provided on an inpatient basis. 

Feeding Therapy 

Proper nutrition and caloric intake is essential to your pet’s treatment and recovery. If your pet is experiencing weight loss or anorexia, a feeding tube or appetite stimulant may be used. 

Kidney Transplant 

A kidney transplant may be recommended if your cat’s kidney is damaged beyond repair. Only certain cats will be a good candidate for transplant. Factors including your cat’s age, overall health, and the availability of a kidney that is a good match will all be considered. As with any surgical procedure, there is a moderate risk associated with this treatment.

Recovery of Kidney Enlargement in Cats

Your pet’s recovery from kidney enlargement will depend largely on the cause of the enlargement. In some cases, your cat’s condition will be easily treated, and recovery will occur fairly quickly. This is the case for the majority of infections and many toxins. Certain conditions that can cause kidney inflammation are not so easily treated. Additionally, if significant damage has occurred to one or both kidneys, the prognosis may be poor. If your cat is healthy enough to return to their home, fresh water should be kept nearby at all times. Proper fluid intake is essential to maintaining proper kidney function. Your veterinarian may also recommend dietary changes. Be sure to follow your veterinarian’s instructions for medications and follow-up visits as required. 

Kidney Enlargement Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

1 1/2 years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

barely eating/drinking
Enlarged kidney
lying around
not peeing
not pooping

Sam, our one year old inside cat, threw up yellow liquid four times on Friday so that afternoon we took him to the vet. During the physical examination, the vet said that his bladder was huge. She catheterized him and only a small amount of urine came out. So she decided to do an ultrasound to see what the huge thing was. It was one of his kidneys. She did an x-ray, and it showed that that kidney is much bigger than the other one. She did bloodwork and all of his kidney numbers are on the lower side of normal. She said the enlarged kidney needs to be removed. She said she doesn't think the kidney is the reason for the throwing up though. She thinks that is because his colon is full. It is Monday and he has barely eaten and drank only a small amount of water over the weekend. He is barely peeing and still hasn't pooped even though we have been giving him the medicine that goes on his paw for him to lick off that is suppose to move things through. He mostly goes into a quiet room and sits alone when he isn't constantly in the litter box with no results. I called the vet and took him back and left him at the vet on my lunch break today. My questions are: Is there anything I can do to help him? Does it sound like the vet is doing all the right stuff? Is it necessary to have his kidney removed? If so, is it a routine surgery that a regular vet should be able to handle or should we consult a board certified vet that is 2 hours away? (Our vet gave us the number and said they can do it at my vet's office but she always likes to give people options when it comes to surgery. Thank you so much! We are so worried about our baby!

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1675 Recommendations
Some cats have one kidney larger than the other and can be a normal finding, however if your Veterinarian felt that the kidney was too large or noticed something on the ultrasound then removal of the kidney would be indicated; this is a procedure which in theory any Veterinarian can perform but some Veterinarians may just refer a patient or give the option to the owner since it is an invasive (but relatively straightforward) surgery. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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1 Year
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

Vomiting and sudden weightloss

Was first diagnosed with ringworm, his former vet gave injection for it. Post that he started vomiting and stopped eating. We changed his vet and current doctors noticed kidney enlargement and blocked poop in xray. His bloodchem was normal. Lost 1 kg in less than 2 weeks.
I'm extremely worried and stressed.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1675 Recommendations
It is unlikely that the injection caused the kidney enlargement but it would be useful to have an ultrasound done to check the structure of the kidneys to help determine a cause. There are various causes for kidney enlargement including infection, renal lymphoma, nephrosis among other causes. I do not think the injection was the instigating cause of the kidney enlargement although it may have caused the loss of appetite and vomiting. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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domestic short hair
6 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Oral sores
Chronic eye infections
Tooth decay

Medication Used

Antibiotics for his eye

Cullen is relatively normal he does sleep pretty often and does not like playing for very long. He gets chronic eye infections in his right eye and is having some problems with his mouth. He’s had enlarged kidneys for over a year atleast but in January all of his blood work came back normal but yesterday I got his blood work done again to be prepared for him going under for his dental cleaning and a few elevated tooth extractions on December 7th. This time his proteins are mildly elevated. They said it could be from his high protein food (blue wilderness) or from his chronic eye infections and mouth trouble. My question is is it safe for him to be put under anesthesia? And is it possible that after we fix his mouth and get him on low protein food it will fix his kidneys?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1675 Recommendations
If there was a mild elevation in protein and other values were normal (kidney, liver etc…) then the dental could go ahead but all this would also be at your Veterinarian’s discretion as they are the one who decide if your cat will with anaesthetised or not. I doubt that dietary changes will fix his kidneys but dietary management can reduce the workload of the kidneys which is what we are looking for. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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American Shorthair
13 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

My 13 year old short hair male cat has one enlarged kidney. he still eats, plays and goes to the bathroom normally. the only thing about him is that he is always thirsty. he also weighs 9.6lbs. any idea what might be wrong with him?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1675 Recommendations
Sometimes a cat may have one kidney larger than the other, but at other times it may be indicative of numerous different conditions including infections, hydronephrosis, cancer, cysts, kidney failure among other issues. It would be useful for blood tests and an ultrasound of the kidney to be performed to shed some more light on the situation as there are many possible treatments or courses of action depending on the underlying cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Domestic Long Haired
3 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

changes in overall behavior
Weight Loss
Loss of Balance

Medication Used

none yet

My three year old indoor only female kitty CK seems to have enlarged kidneys and what looks like a hernia. Could these issues be some how connected since both can be caused by trauma? I have no idea what could have caused her trauma unless she fell off of one of the high kitty condos. She is in the vet hospital receiving fluids and being monitored. She will receive an ultrasound and biopsy on thursday. I am keeping my fingers crossed


Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1675 Recommendations

Enlarged kidneys may occur for numerous reasons and some cats will have small hernias without the owner being aware. I cannot say that the two or connected, an ultrasound and a fine needle aspirate or biopsy would be able to tell you more information. If trauma is the cause, you would be surprised how little trauma is needed to cause serious injury. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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7 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Cashmere was diagnosed with enlarged kidneys. He has had 2 treatments under the skin with fluids within a week. He has lost another 1.3 lbs. he’s on a special diet now. He’s not eating much and not drinking much, mostly sleeping. He’s only 7 years old. Im so afraid he’s not going to make it..
Any advice ..?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1675 Recommendations
It would be useful to have an ultrasound performed to see the structure of the kidneys, if the kidneys are enlarging but there are few functioning nephrons then there may be a more serious problem since the kidneys will not be able to function enough to remove water and waste products from the body. An x-ray or physical palpation will only show enlargement whereas an ultrasound will show structure; regular blood tests would also be useful. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Persian chinchilla
5 Days
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

enlarged kidney, increased thirst

Medication Used

anti biotic injection

I care for a Persian chinchilla, she's 5 years old I understand and when she was speyed recently the vet noticed she had an enlarged kidney. She has been having anti biotic injections, blood test and fed special renal care pouch, her kidney hasn't really changed in size. She appears well and has put on weight though I have noticed that she drinks water more so than the other cats she is housed with. Before she was speyed I noticed that every so often she would get bouts of diarrhoea. The vet has said she needs to have a scan but her owner is reluctant. I have read that a cat an exist with one kidney functional is this correct and should she have the bad kidney removed ?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1675 Recommendations
Cats like other animals (dogs, humans etc…) can live with one kidney; the first step would be an ultrasound to have a look at the size and internal structure of the kidney to determine what is happening along with blood tests and urinalysis to see what exactly is happening. Cats can live with one kidney, if fact half of a kidney is usually sufficient to do the work; but should the kidney be removed, dietary changes should be made to relieve any stress from the remaining kidney to keep it going as long as possible. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Thank you for your prompt response

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Blue Russian I think
15 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms


3 weeks ago our cat was diagnosed with an enlarged kidney. We were told to expect him to last only a couple more weeks. But he has since regained his appetite and most of his attitude. He is still drinking a lot, and more than normal which is understandable. My question is, would it be worth a follow up with our vet to determine if he's actually improving, or just go with the flow and let him do his thing. He just turned 15.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1675 Recommendations

If Zeus is otherwise healthy and happy, keep an eye on him; but I think it would be worth to check his numbers (blood tests) and just monitor him generally and see how he goes. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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