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.

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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?

Sincerely,

Alana.

 

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. **

Confession Friday: I Brew Kefir Soda

Don’t worry, it’s totes legal. And it’s delicious!

Me watching the kefir grains rise and fall, like the tides of the universe.

Me watching the kefir grains rise and fall, like the tides of the universe.

Many of you have heard about kefir that’s made with milk, but fewer people know what kefir water is. Kefir water is fairly similar in that one uses small colonies of bacteria and yeast to convert sugars into a probiotic drink with health benefits. It’s an excellent substitute for those that have dairy allergies (MomFOD) or who are began vegan but want to consume probiotics for intestinal health. The water, through a process of secondary fermentation, can be turned into something that resembles soda. It makes an excellent replacement for sugary drinks that have no benefit to your health. MomFOD’s favorite here is the bubbly lemonade. Yum!

Why do I bring it up? Well, probiotics are excellent for your pets! Rocky is taking them per his doctor’s orders for his stomach upset. Many sources on the internet point out that you can feed your pets milk kefir, water kefir, and even the extra kefir grains as a source of probiotics. MomFOD has eaten the extra grains herself, and just recently tried them out on us! I wouldn’t eat them. In fact, none of the cats would, but Doodle was sure pleased to slurp them up!

If you want to use kefir on your pet, consult your veterinarian first. Pets may have issues with cow’s milk, although after it’s been turned into kefir, over 99% of the lactose will have been removed. Goat’s milk kefir might be a better choice that cow’s. Water kefir might still have some sugar left in it, so keep that in mind, as well.  Again, please consult your veterinarian and use your own judgement.

My overly fizzy attempt at Kefir Cider.

My overly fizzy attempt at Kefir Cider.

 

If you’re new to kefir, start drinking it slowly and work your way up to larger amounts to avoid any major digestive upset after the influx of probiotics.

For more information about water kefir, you can read this excellent FAQ from a place that sells kefir grains or this website that answers everything you’ve ever wanted to know about brewing kefir at home.

My brew corner. Those are kombuchas there.

My brew corner. Those are kombuchas there.

What do you guys think? Would you try brewing kefir?  Do you want to know more about it? If there’s interest, we can do another post about how to make delicious sparkling kefir lemonade! Let us know!

Love,

Crepes.

PS. I’m not a doctor, although I sometimes play one on TV, so please do some extra research and make sure you check with your veterinarian or your own doctor before making any decisions that could affect you or your pet’s health.