• Open Access

Clinicopathological Variables Predicting Progression of Azotemia in Cats with Chronic Kidney Disease


  • This work was carried out at the Royal Veterinary College, Royal College Street, Camden, London, UK.

Corresponding author: S. Chakrabarti, Department of Veterinary Basic Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, Royal College Street, Camden, London, NW1 0TU; e-mail:ekos@live.com.



Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is common in geriatric cats, but often appears to be stable for long periods of time.


To describe CKD progression and identify risk factors for progression in newly diagnosed azotemic cats.


A total of 213 cats with CKD (plasma creatinine concentration > 2 mg/dL, urine specific gravity < 1.035) were followed up until progression occurred or for at least 1 year; 132, 73, and 8 cats were in International Renal Interest Society (IRIS) stages 2, 3, and 4, respectively.


Progression was defined as a 25% increase in plasma creatinine concentration. Logistic regression was used to assess variables at diagnosis that were associated with progression within 1 year. Changes in IRIS stage during follow-up also were described. Cases that remained in stages 2 or 3, but did not have renal function assessed in the last 60 days of life, were excluded from analysis of the proportion reaching stage 4.


Of the cats, 47% (101) progressed within 1 year of diagnosis. High plasma phosphate concentration and high urine protein-to-creatinine ratio (UPC) predicted progression in all cats. Low PCV and high UPC independently predicted progression in stage 2 cats, whereas higher plasma phosphate concentration predicted progression in stage 3 cats; 19% (18/94) of cats diagnosed in stage 2; and 63% (34/54) of cats diagnosed in stage 3 reached stage 4 before they died.


Proteinuria, anemia, and hyperphosphatemia may reflect more progressive kidney disease. Alternatively, they may be markers for mechanisms of progression such as tubular protein overload, hypoxia, and nephrocalcinosis.