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. **

Let’s Talk B12: Is Your Cat Missing It?

Welcome, dear readers.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. How could my cat possibly be missing a silly 1980s pop band? I know, I thought the same thing, until I realized B12 is not actually a band but an essential vitamin. How essential? Let’s say it’s basically necessary for life as we know it.

b12

What is it: A water-soluble vitamin, also called cobalamin, that is stored in the liver.

Where does it come from: It is released from food by hydrochloric acid in the stomach and then combined with Intrinsic Factor, a substance secreted from the lining of the stomach, to enable its absorption in the digestive tract. Excellent sources of B12 are liver, tuna, yogurt, eggs, and cottage cheese, mostly animal-based foods. People with pernicious anemia (an inability to create intrinsic factor) are B12 deficient because they cannot absorb it from their food, and vegans can also be at risk unless they make efforts to supplement.

What it does: It is REQUIRED for normal nerve cell activity; works alongside vitamin B9 to regulate iron function in the body; is essential for the production of DNA and RNA (our genetic material); helps in the formation of red blood cells; helps metabolize fatty acids, which helps avoid nerve degeneration, and more. Deficiencies can cause nausea, vomiting, malabsorption of food, gas, vomiting, constipation, weight loss, lethargy, fatigue, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. All things that can stop a conversation in its tracks, if you know what I mean.

Who might benefit from B12 supplementation? Cats with Exocrine Pancreative Insufficiency may need B12 because of their inability to properly digest their food. Cats with IBD and other intestinal disruptions, as well as older cats, may also benefit from this therapy.

Are we getting the point here that B12 is a VERY important vitamin? Now, why am I discussing it today?

You see, Mrs. Peabody, my nemesis sister has been having a lot of digestive troubles lately. The doctor prescribed that, along with a course of anti-biotics and careful food regulation, MomFOD should give her a B12 injection once a week for the next six weeks with follow-up injections every few weeks after that. The B12 will help repair her intestinal issues, as well as increase her appetite and even give her a boost of energy.

Mrs P, completely unaware of the tiny inject-able vitamin resting peacefully on her side.

Mrs P, completely unaware of the tiny inject-able vitamin resting peacefully on her side.

Is it safe to give at home? It is! Vitamin B12 is non-toxic and generally considered safe, even in large doses, in most people and animals. Consult your veterinarian for proper dosage and administration instructions.

Since Peabody is having trouble with food digestion, she is receiving injections that go directly into her blood stream, bypassing her intestines entirely. Rocky also received B12 injections for the last year of his life and helped him maintain his appetite and energy levels.

If you’re interested in B12 and think it might benefit your kitty, talk to your vet! S/he can train you how to give the subcutaneous injection (where to insert, how to check if you’ve hit an vessel, how to make sure you haven’t gone out the other side, etc.) to your cat. Scared of giving injections at home? Your vet can do it for you for a fee.

Love,

Crepes.

PSĀ  Here’s a short video on how to administer the injections to your cat, not from us:

SOURCES and Further Reading:

PetMD.Com – Vitamin B12 Supplementation in Pets with EPI

Vitamins-Supplements.org – B12

IBDkitties.net – The Importance of B12