I took my 19-year-old cat Gizmo to a new vet yesterday to get a 2nd opinion on removing the growth by her eye (full topic in Random Chatter). They drew blood for pre-op yesterday and the vet just called me. Apparently Gizmo has developed kidney failure. Her BUN is 69 and the top of normal is 34. Her creatinine is 4.1 and the top of normal is 2.3.
He said that by the time blood results are bad, they've lost 75% of their kidney function.
He wants me to bring her in tomorrow and they'll extract a urine sample and teach me how to do sub Q fluids. He said at first, she'll probably be fine on the fluids a couple times a week. He also said the kidney diets are the one type of diet that has been tested and shown to extend life expectancy by an average of 2 years. He said the usual he sees with cats at this stage is about 2 years, so he doesn't think it's a reason to not remove the growth. He told me that although the lost kidney function can't be restored, from this point dehydration, infection, and protein are the only things that will make it worse.
Has anyone gone down the kitty kidney failure path before? What can I reasonably expect to be able to do for her. She doesn't seem to feel bad at all at this point, so I hate the idea of causing her suffering to prevent this getting worse if it's not causing her any problems right now.
How hard is it really for average owner to do sub Q?
Are there other low protein foods besides the prescription diets? I've read that some cats won't eat them.