Forums » Feline Medicine

Cause of Feline Chronic Kidney Disease?

    • 342 posts
    December 9, 2020 5:55 PM EST

    This question was submitted during our webinar titled: What Works for Cats with Chronic Kidney Disease? - A Nutritionist's Perspective

    Can the cause of CKD be autoimmune due to vaccine viruses being grown on feline renal tissue culture?

    Dr. Donna Raditic, DVM, DACVN, CVA responded:

    See this study:  
    Risk Factors for Development of Chronic Kidney Disease in Cats - N.C. Finch, H.M. Syme, and J. Elliott; J Vet Intern Med 2016;30:602–610

    And this one: 

    Risk and protective factors for cats with naturally occurring chronic kidney disease - Kakanang Piyarungsri, Rosama Pusoonthornthum; J Fel Med Surg 2016;19(4):358-363



    Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a significant disease in cats. Identifying risk and protective factors may help to prevent this significant disease.


    An age-matched case-control study was performed to determine the risk factors in cats with naturally occurring CKD. Twenty-nine clinically normal cats aged ⩾5 years and 101 cats with naturally occurring CKD were studied. Risk factors were determined by interviewing cat owners from the Small Animal Hospital, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University, and veterinary hospitals in the Bangkok Metropolitan area, through questionnaires completed between June 2004 and November 2014. Univariable and multivariable analyses were performed using two independent proportional test methods and logistic regression analysis with backward elimination.


    Male sex (odd ratios [OR] 2.80, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02-8.87; P = 0.02), tap water (OR 3.43, 95% CI 1.08-11.45; P = 0.03) and an outdoor lifestyle (OR 3.77, 95% CI 1.03-17.99; P = 0.04) were associated with an increased risk for CKD. Commercial dry cat food (OR 0.06, 95% CI 0.02-0.17; P = 0.00), filtered water (OR 0.13, 95% CI 0.03-0.52; P = 0.01) and an indoor lifestyle (OR 0.28, 95% CI 0.07-0.98; P = 0.02) were associated with a decreased risk. Logistic regression analysis using backward elimination demonstrated that cats fed commercial dry cat food (OR 0.042, 95% CI 0.01-0.17; P = 0.00) had a decreased risk for CKD compared with cats on other types of diet.

    Conclusions and relevance:

    Multivariable analysis found only feeding commercial dry cat food to be significant, suggesting that commercial dry cat food may be a potential protective factor for CKD in cats.

    Unfortunately, it is not clear as we don’t have long term studies of a large population of cats not receiving vaccination vs. cats that receive vaccinations. Regardless, I recommend using vaccine titers in both dogs and cats. These are now “accepted” or part of the AAHA and WSAVA guidelines. When I was in private practice, we did them annually with Cornell’s Diagnostic Lab and I can comfortably say most of my feline and canine patients did not require annual vaccinations for the core vaccines.