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Dietary protein and kidney function in cats

Backlund B, Zoran DL, Nabity MB, Norby B and Bauer JE. Effects of dietary protein content on renal parameters in normal cats. J Feline Med Surg. 2011; 13: 698-704.

High dietary protein levels are essential in kittens during the growth phase and are considered beneficial for cats throughout all life stages. With a larger focus on obesity and diabetes in cats in the past 20 years, there has been an increasing awareness of high protein (HP) diets [>45% metabolizable energy] in the management of both diseases. Meat is the major source of protein in HP diets and this contributes to increased intake of creatine and creatinine, which can result in increased serum creatinine concentrations. This study evaluated the effect of dietary protein content on renal parameters in 23 healthy spayed female cats. The objective was to determine if cats eating diets high in protein would have higher serum urea nitrogen (UN) and creatinine values without a detectable change in kidney function. The cats were fed in two phases—in the first phase, they were randomly assigned either a (HP) or low protein diet. For the second phase, the cats were fed whichever diet they were not fed in the first phase. Blood and urine samples were collected every 2 weeks during the 10-week long study period. The study results noted that dietary intake could result in statistically significant changes in UN and several other biochemical analytes, although all analytes stayed within normal reference intervals. This information illustrates a need to obtain an accurate dietary history in cat patients in order to account for dietary influences on renal parameters, especially UN. [VT]

Related articles: Wei A, Fascetti AJ, Liu KJ, et al. Influence of a high-protein diet on energy balance in obese cats allowed ad libitum access to food. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2011; 95: 359-67.