A Probiotic Approach to Treating Kidney Problems and CRF in Cats

Alana here today.

As you know, when something medical occurs at our home, we tend to write about it in order to share our experience. Recently, my eldest kitty Niles went in for his yearly checkup. At the age of fifteen and a half, he had been suffering from occasional vomiting and some weight loss, as well as elevated stomach acid that seemed to be causing nausea.

Niles, at age fifteen and a half.

Niles looking cool.

His blood test results showed elevated levels of creatinine and, though not out of normal range, these levels were indeed higher than last year by a quite a bit. These signs all point to chronic renal failure, also known as CRF. Our doctor suggested a recheck in three weeks and, in the meantime, he was to get started on a probiotic supplement that was entirely new to us. Here is what we found out:

What is it: Azodyl, a patented probiotic supplement that claims to offer enteric dialysis, meaning it helps clean the blood of toxic buildup from the inside using beneficial bacteria that are supposed to aid in kidney function. It is not classified as a drug and does not require a prescription.


How do you use it: Your veterinarian can help you figure out the dosing for your particular animal. The instructions say that you should not crush it and must give the pill as a whole, but our veterinarian recommended opening the capsule and mixing it into food. Another source online written by a DVM suggested the same thing since the capsules are a bit large for cats and they’re unlikely to swallow them whole. Dogs may be able to take them more easily if hidden in a bit of food.

Cost: Azodyl is a bit pricy. A 90-pill supply can run about $90 or more. You can purchase it online, but it’s recommended to be cold-shipped because the pills must remain chilled, so that may add $25 to $30 to your purchase price.

Our Experience: I decided to wait a few weeks to see how this went for Niles. After three weeks of use, his kidney levels tested lower by .4, (down from 2.4) which the doctor said was excellent. Since then, I have discontinued daily use and am only administering it a few times a week, sometimes only once. If it works as other probiotics do, less frequent use should still replenish the effects. (This isn’t my doctor’s suggestion, but my own.) Niles has had a much greater appetite lately and is drinking far less water, but I have also decreased his dry food and increased his wet food, which could contribute to his water habits. I have also increased his feeding times to more frequent, smaller meals. His vomiting has subsided by 99% and his behavior and energy levels are back to normal.

We’re not positive if the product definitely helped, but the results we saw were positive. The reviews we’ve read online seem to point to a high number of satisfied users, so we wanted to share this information with others in case it may help your own pet.

Have you tried Azodyl? Any thoughts?




Further Reading:

A Preliminary Clinical Evaluation of Kibow Biotics, a Probiotic Agent, on Feline Azotemia – Keep in mind, this article uses a small sample size and appears on the Kibow Biotics site. It’s unclear if it was sponsored by Kibow Biotics.

Info on Azodyl from FelineCRF.org


**Disclaimer: This is not a paid review. This is a product that we used ourselves for a medical purpose and wanted to share our story with you. No money or goods were exchanged for this article. If you plan to try it, please consult your veterinarian first. **

23 thoughts on “A Probiotic Approach to Treating Kidney Problems and CRF in Cats

  1. Sorry to hear about Niles. Luckily there are many treatment options that weren’t available years ago. Azodil is one. Aventi Ks is similar but cheaper. Merlin was diagnosed at the same age as Niles and as you know is still kicking at 20. We are big on probiotics, Renavast, Renal K, EFAs and a good diet. Merlin switched to Hills prescrition K/D which he likes.

  2. dood…..lookin good inn deed !! sorree bout de diagnoziz buddy….but merlinz mom iz rite ….himz a centenarian in cat yeerz !!! how kewl iz THAT !!♥♥♥

    pleez ta tell mom fod ta chex out thiz site sum time


    90 day supply iz 58.33…mite bee sum thin ta look in two…..

    sendin az all ways….de blessings oh R pal frank, heez got plentee ta spare & iz all ways willin ta share ~~~~ ♥♥♥

  3. Binga is due for tests – she didn’t show anything amiss last time – but she has a lot of the same issues as Niles regarding digestion. My human is going to ask about this next time she takes Binga in for a check-up, which will be soon. Right now, she is on some probiotics and Pepcid, but they don’t seem to be having much of an effect.

  4. Alana, This is great news for Niles! Thank You so much. At one time I had five cats (four have passed). Most lived to a ripe old age. But they all slowly passed away due to CRF. I spent the last year or so of their lives (one at a time) with daily sub- q fluids, renal diets,etc. I have always been told that once kidney problems start that keeping them comfortable was my only option.Each cat passed away about 12 -18 months after being diagnosed. The oldest made it to twenty. Right now I am on cat five, Miss April. I started sub-q fluids every other day six months ago. Without them she was constantly thirsty (and miserable). Other than the thirst (and very cold this winter) she acts fine.

    I am going to order the Azodyl. I checked a number of web sites. All had comprable costs. The expensive part was overnight shipping. Although pricey it will be well worth the cost to prolong her precious life. Assuming it helps in the long run it will be less expensive than all of the vet visits. It will be interesting to see if her creatinine drops at her next visit.
    Tanya’s web site FelineCRF.org is a wonderful resource.Thanks.

  5. Sorry about Niles. Thanks for sharing his story. I have not heard of this brand till now. I don’t know much probiotics except we had to start using some for my kitty. He has poopy issues and they ruled out other stuff.
    Sue B

  6. so much about an individual’s health starts in the gut, so probiotics can make a great deal of sense for so many different issues. I’m thrilled to hear how well this worked for Niles, although I wonder if the diet change might have also helped.. Regardless, improvement is a great thing and I’m happy to hear it

  7. Thanks for sharing this information. I am going to save this post because with 15 cats, I am sure kidney disease will eventually become an issue.

  8. Interesting. Wally’s creatinine level has been creeping up, last time it was just over the normal range, though a check of his urine showed it was still concentrating okay. But I’m concerned about it. Azodyl sounds like something I’d like to try with him. I just wish it wasn’t so expensive.

    Island Cat Mom

  9. Oh No, so sorry yous havin’ to deal wiff this too. Weez usin’ da Azodyl fur sis Lexi too. Altho’ ifin yous talk to da makers of Azodyl and da Vet hoo works wiff them you will find dat openin’ da capsule and mixing wiff food makes the ingwedients completely useless. We mix ours wiff a little bit of real butter on Lexi licks it off a spoon. You can use anudder form of fat ifin yous wuld like, but most kitties luv butter and it helps wiff da hairballs too. Ifin yous wanna use sumfin’ cheaper wiff similar wesults dat dusn’t have to be kept cold and can be mixed wiff noms, yous can twy Astros Protein powder and/or scrub. Weez’ll be purrayin’. And yous might wanna check out Tanya’s CRF website or support gwoup.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

  10. I’m convinced probiotics are what finally turned Ryker the kitten around. Haven’t heard of Azodyl but it’s been years since we had to deal with CRF – we’ll be following Niles’ progress!

  11. I’m happy to hear that Niles is feeling better. I have not used this (yet), but a veterinarian I admire and respect told me that he used this on his own cat–and although pricey–said it relieved the cat’s symptoms and improved the lab numbers. He said that it is not a cure so do not be fooled by the “improvement”–it just provides a better quality of life for the cat.

    Also, from personal experience and from the advice of the same vet, don’t wait until your cat is really, really sick before taking it to the vet. I know it is expensive. And sometimes when you do–you still do not get conclusive answers. Whenever one of my cats is “off” for more than 16-24 hours, it has won itself a trip to the vet or I will call the housecall vet.

    For example, I felt that something was wrong with Bean and we ran all sorts of tests immediately such as labs, x-rays, exams, etc., by several vets whenever he would exhibit symptoms and nothing really stood out–even though he was ADR (Ain’t Doin’ Right) for about 10 months. Then my vet called me one night in the fall of 2014 and said he had been thinking about my cat and that he had done all he could…that I should take him to this one internal medicine specialist, not to wait until the cat is dying, and to brace myself. He was right about that. It turns out that Bean has THREE kinds of cancer and I have spent $7,500.00 on him since November 2014. I am not a rich person. I eat A LOT of casseroles. When Bean first started to be ADR, his symptoms were anorexia, diarrhea, and vomiting. I would treat him for a couple of days with meds, he would get better, and 2-3 months later it would start again. Then the bouts became closer together and took longer to resolve. Bean’s spleen was removed in November and I have had him on chemo since December. He seems to feel better than he did last year but I know it is only a matter of time before the chemo no longer works or the side effects of his other med will kill him. I will always wonder if I had taken him to the specialist sooner…if that would have made any difference. So please give your furbabies some pets and loving for me while you still have them by your side. I am sorry to be such a “downer”, but perhaps this will help someone else.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about Bean. In your case, it sounds like you were doing everything you could and it was difficult to diagnose. As with Rocky, I took him to the doctor several times and got brushed off. I feel like if I’d had better care and they’d answered my questions and done something for him, he might still be here today. It’s hard to live with that feeling and I know that Bean doesn’t blame you, but you’re right. A vet check when something isn’t right is imperative. With Niles, I’ve committed to every 6 months, regardless of how he’s feeling, and more if he’s exhibiting symptoms. He’s too important to ignore. Sending lots of love to Bean. – Alana.

  12. Thank you, Alana. I’m sure you did your best for Rocky. I miss his cute face, too. His expressions were priceless. And I really enjoyed his videos. What a little ham.

    In one CRF blog, I read that the hardest thing to deal with during your cat’s illness is the vet. I laughed at the time. I don’t laugh about it now. I never suspected how incompetent some vets really are or how many of them exist. I wonder if they sleep well at night because, after all,” It’s just a cat”. I have been fortunate to know some excellent vets–Bean’s internal medicine specialist, my former housecall vet, and several other emergency and specialty vets. But I, as well as some of my friends, have had to deal with some “vets from hell”. Most people cannot afford to get a second opinion because they can barely afford the first visit. If I can get out of a vet’s office for under $400.00, I feel like I just won the lottery. I have seen too many cases where the vet blew off the owner’s concerns and by the time he/she did pay attention (if ever), it was too late to do anything. Don’t blame yourself, Alana. You paid a “professional” for his/her services and he/she is the one who fell down–not you. You put your trust in someone who is supposed to be knowledgeable and he/she turned out to be an arrogant twit. I think you have to shop for a vet as if you were buying a used car. Feel free to kick the tires.

    I hope Niles continues to feel well. My vet’s cat lived to be 22 and had been in renal failure since his middle teens. Sending love and prayers and healing purrs to both of you.

    • Thank you very much, and thanks everyone else for your kind words about Niles. So far, he’s doing well. A little thin, but otherwise excellent. And Fuzzmother, after that experience, I called and interviewed numerous vets until I found just the right one and she is completely fabulous. I would never go to another as long as she’s around. It just took awhile to find her.

  13. Yet another thing we hadn’t heard of. Mom really appreciates you sharing your experiences and info about possible remedies for what can help us kitties. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  14. My cat was just diagnosed with CKD but he is in the early stages. He is also receiving probiotics but not Azodyl. He is receiving Complete Probiotics for pets by Mercola. He seems to be doing well for now but he has an appointment on Thursday. He is also diabetic so a lot of other supplements that I have tried for him has raised his glucose levels. It is very hard to deal with this but I am trying to keep him feeling well. I will keep everyone posted on Tank’s progress. I hope Niles is still doing well. Please send out an update. Thanks!!

Stumps up? Stumps down? What are your thoughts?