Current erythropoietin supplementation used to treat anemia in chronic renal failure (CRF) cats can result in significant side effects including red cell aplasia. Cats with CRF have less antioxidant capacity than healthy cats. One manifestation of this oxidative imbalance is the lipid peroxidation of erythrocyte (RBC) cell membranes, which would decrease RBC lifespan and contribute to the anemic condition.
Vitamin E has antioxidant properties uniquely suited to combating cell membrane lipid peroxidation. This study will look at whether cats with CRF receiving vitamin E supplementation will maintain a higher packed-cell volume for a longer period of time than CRF cats not receiving vitamin E supplementation. Prior to study entry and at the end of the 3-month study period, the cats will be IRIS staged and evaluated for clinical signs of disease progression. The degree, character, and progression of any changes in packed-cell volume (PCV) will be determined, and samples will be analyzed for antioxidant capacity. An important determination will be whether supplementation alone or given along with erythropoietin can benefit cats with CRF needing treatment for anemia.