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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.

Kidney Enlargement Average Cost

From 492 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$800

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
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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
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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. 

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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:

Dialysis

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.

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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. 

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Kidney Enlargement Average Cost

From 492 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$800

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Kidney Enlargement Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Tabby cat

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5 months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

So my kitten has had on and off diarrhea for the past week. The vet said it’s probably due to intolerance to fish flavored food because he reacted badly to wet food that was fish based but is fine when it’s like chicken or beef. The vet recommended putting him on canned pumpkin everyday for a week along with dry food and water. So I’ve been doing that, but his poops are not consistent. He either has a normal cat poop with excellent color and no worms, or he has poop that looks almost snake like in a pile with still good color and no worms. I’ve only had him for almost three weeks.

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. Parasites are quite common in kittens, and are usually the cause of diarrhea. Food intolerances are not common in kittens, but changing food often can cause problems. If they are still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 21, 2020

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Flame-point Siamese

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Severe Constipation And Enlarged Kidney

Our cat started developing symptoms soon after her spay surgery. She has severe constipation and a very enlarged kidney. The vet did x-rays and said we should take her to a specialist for ultrasound. Between the spay and regular and emergency vet bills, we have spent almost $1,000 on this cat already. The specialist will cost another $750. I’m afraid we will spend a lot of money and the cat will die anyway. Is this kind of thing generally survivable? Do you think it could have been caused by briefly breathing PVC pipe solvent? She walked past while I was using it and I wasn’t able to stop her.

Aug. 31, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Hello I'm so sorry that your kitty is not doing well. She could possibly be having complications from her spay and not likely inhaling the solvent. I recommend consulting with the specialist to get more information about what is causing your cat's kidney be to enlarged and to be constipated. Good luck.

Aug. 31, 2020

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Cat

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1.5 years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Abdominal Mass

After my cat eats I can feel an abdominal mass on the right side abdomen when the cat lays down. Got an xray done but due to lockdown could only get a vet's assistant's opinion. As my cat was empty stomach he couldn't feel anything but determined that it could be the kidney I am feeling. The shaved portion is the location of mass. The mass is inside abdomen.

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. That does appear to be a mis-shapen kidney, but it is difficult to say without more than one view on the x-ray - we typically take 2-3 views to give perspective. It would probably be best to follow up and have a veterinarian examine him and see if the kidney feels abnormal, and possibly have an ultrasound of the kidney if needed, as well as some la work to assess kidney function. I hope that all goes well for him.

Aug. 6, 2020

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cat

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2 Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Enlarged Kidneys, Blood Work Off Except White Cell Blood Count Normal, Difficulty Walking On Hind Legs, Lethargy, Weight Loss, Hardly Eating Last Two Days

My cat has slowly been losing weight; he went from 9 to 6 pounds in about a month. About three or four days ago, he began having difficulty walking on his legs, he has been hiding and only eating about a teaspoon of food for the last two days. A vet on Saturdat x-rayed him and said BOTH kidneys are enlarged. His blood test results were high, but his white blood cells were normal which the vet stated ruled out infection. The vet wants to do an ultra sound to possibly determine what may be wrong. The vet thinks my cat has cancer. Do you think there could be a chance for recovery or not?

July 21, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I do think there is a chance, yes. Cancer in a 2 year old cat is not as common as in older cats, and cats do get kidney diseases which can be treatable. The ultrasound will be able to tell more where the problem is and what is actually going on, and you will know more answers at that point. I hope that everything goes well for your cat, and that he feels better soon.

July 21, 2020

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Johnsnow

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Persian

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3 Years

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Moderate severity

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2 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

My cat has an enlarged kidney. I just found as I got it today. It’s not active and keeps on sleeping. Is it ok for him to sleep this much? He has an ear infection too and his glands are swollen. I have started him with Antibiotics. What should I expect?

July 29, 2018

Johnsnow's Owner

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2 Recommendations

There are many causes for an enlarged kidney and it is important that the underlying cause is identified and treated or managed; the antibiotics are most likely for the ear infection but further testing may be required to determine why the kidney is enlarged and I would think an ultrasound would be vital to look at the structure. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 30, 2018

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Maisey

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Ragdoll

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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Critical severity

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2 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Increased Urination
Thirst
Poor Eating

My 3 years old Ragdoll Maisey was taken to the after hours on a Saturday. She had increased thirst, poor eating, lethargic and increased urination. I thought she may have a uti or potential kidney failure. I took her straight to the after hours and after a short examination (as they were busy) I was sent home on tengestic, and metacam as they assumed she had been hit by a car and was in pain from this (I felt extremely uncomfortable with this as she is watched when outside). When I returned to my vet the follow few days with the same concerns we ran blood and her creatinine was so highly it was unreadable and her urea was 48. She was in acute renal failure. We commenced fluids straight away and she was sent to the after hours again as this was over STAT holidays. We decided to continue treatment after her creatinine steadily increased at day 2. I am now debating whether this was the right choice as 5 days post this she is still on hospital on iv fluids and nasogastric feeds. Her kidneys are still tender and she is on pain relief for this. We now know her back pain that was thought to be from a MVA is refereed kidney pain (which I also questioned with the vet) 4 days later an X-ray 2 days ago ruled out kidney stones but we are still awaiting an ultrasound tomorrow to find out whether we continue treatment or not. The treatment has become so expensive but I think I would regret it if it was to stop now.

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Marley

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Ginger Tom

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4 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

Vomiting, Meowing In Pain, Agitated

Vomiting brown smelly liquid. Tests show Marley has an enlarged kidney but thinks the vomit is completely separate? Blood and urine tests were clear but X-ray showed enlarged kidney. X-ray also shows lumps on the kidney and thinks it could be kidney stones

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Allie

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Domestic short

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13 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

My 13 yr old cat Allie was diagnosed with Kidney Disease and had iv antibiotics and fluids..We took her home and back to vet for more subacute fluids now they want to do an ultrasound because kidneys are enlarged. I am not sure I want to put her through that because outcome will be the same.She is eating very well but is definitely not her active self.. Any suggestions?r Vet said we could keep her home on hospice with sq fluids

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Buster

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Persian

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15 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

Enlarged Lymph Nodes
Enlarged Kidney

Hi i have a cat called buster hes 15 had him to vet last week ,said he has a enlarged kidney ,and vet said due to his age nothing they can do ,hes still eating well and drinks lots of water also has a strange habit of licking the brick wall can u give me any advice

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Leon

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tabby

dog-age-icon

10 Years

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

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Muscle Atrophy
Lethargy
Vomiting
Urinating
Spasm

Is there any way to flush out poison or toxins from my cat. Someone had gave him an advil (full pill) because they'd thought it would relieve his pain! (He's an outdoor cat and a stray fought him) I noticed his kidneys were enlarged and he had vomitted and is urinating. The urine is cold and clear and he's lost so much weight in just those 4 days!

Kidney Enlargement Average Cost

From 492 quotes ranging from $200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$800

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