Nutritional Requirements of Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Nutrition is an important part of maintaining the health of your pet and also in disease management. Though few disorders can be cured completely with diet, it has been considered a supportive measure. Recently, however, there has been more of an understanding of various diseases and how nutrients have pharmacological properties, fueling an interest in exploring how nutrition can change the behavior of various conditions. In this short blog, I will discuss some nutritional requirements of patients with Chronic Kidney Disease, Diabetes Mellitus and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Chronic Kidney Disease is irreversible and can lead to kidney failure and other severe consequences. Although, there is no cure for it, it can be well managed with nutritional therapies resulting in a longer life and reduced clinical signs. One of the most important thoughts of treating patients with CKD is restricting dietary phosphorous. High levels of phosphorous have been linked with the advance in the disease so maintaining a normal level of phosphorous is very important. To do so we must restrict the phosphorous in the diet and add phosphorous binders. Protein restriction is another way to help in treating kidney disease. Reduced proteins in the diet reduce the urea output from the liver. Diets should contain essential amino acids so that the protein that is supplied is readily available and prevents deficiencies from happening.

Cats with Diabetes Mellitus can go into remission when nutritional therapy is used. Feline patients require high-protein and lower carbohydrate diets and this has been shown to reduce the need for insulin. Canines benefit more from higher fiber diets which are absorbed slower and more steadily. Obesity is a complicating factor in bother feline and canine species, so both species would benefit from weight loss and maintaining an ideal body weight.

It is thought that Inflammatory Bowel Disease is an over-reaction to the immune system to the normal intestinal bacteria which leads to chronic vomiting and diarrhea in cats and dogs. Usually, nutritional studies of IBD involves doing a diet trial to see if clinical signs improve. To do that a novel protein or hydrolyzed diet can be introduced. Also, a highly digestible diet with restricted fat, fiber and highly digestible medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) can also be tried. Omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics may also be used.

Unfortunately, the role of nutrition is often overlooked in clinical practice. As technicians, we play a vital role in the nutritional treatment of our patients. We need to take the time to educate pet owners as to why nutrition is so important and to offer them the information on how to provide the right nutrition to their pets. A proper nutrition is a great way to improve the quality of life for our patients with chronic diseases and in the prevention of illness.