Are Cats with Dental Disease At Higher Risk for Kidney Disease?
18 April, 2018
cats with dental disease

We know that dental disease or inflammation of the gums and tissues can lead to serious health issues such as damage to the heart, kidney and liver. Dental disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for cats.  A new study explored the connection between dental disease and the risk of developing kidney disease.

Periodontal disease (or dental disease) is a disease of the tissues that surround and support the teeth. It causes changes that are associated with the inflammation and loss of the deep supporting structures of the cat’s teeth.

Factors responsible for kidney disease

Kidney disease is a very common condition in older cats. It is usually from the gradual decrease in kidney function. While there is no long-time cure for kidney disease, it can be managed with care. If you are able to catch the disease in your cat early on, the long-term survival rate for your cat is much improved.

Kidney disease can be cause by genetic factors, infection, the environment and lack of moisture or water in your cat’s diet.  Or sometimes, it is just merely old age.

A recent study was conducted to see if cats with dental disease had a great risk of kidney infection

The purpose of a recent study was to determine whether cats with dental disease were at greater risk of developing kidney disease, and whether there was a correlation between the degree of dental disease and the risk of kidney disease.

The comprehensive study looked at 2 million plus cats over eleven years

The study looked at 2,383,820 cats, which were evaluated at least 3 times in an 11-year period at a group of 829 veterinary hospitals. The cats were excluded if they gave chronic kidney disease or acute kidney injury as a health reason at the time of enrollment into the study.

The risk of kidney disease was much higher in those cats with dental disease

The risk of kidney disease was found to be much higher in cats with any stage of dental disease than in control cats. For cats with stage 3-4 dental disease, the risks of kidney disease were 1.5 times that of cats without dental disease. Differences in risk between categories were not statistically significant.

The risk of kidney disease also increased with age and other factor

The risk of kidney disease also increased with age, with a 40% increase in risk per year. Purebred cats had increased risk compared to mixed breeds and cats with recent general anesthesia were at increased risk. Cats with cystitis also had increased risks ad did cats with diabetes mellitus and hepatic lipidosis.

Therefore, the study suggested that breed, age, and the severity of dental disease are major risk factors for the development of chronic kidney disease in domestic cats.

While the study is not that surprising in its results, with all the cats tested, it does remind cat owners how important it is to keep your cats’ teeth healthy from an early age.  Schedule those dental appointments for your cats and keep up with them!

You can read the full study here: The Winn Feline Foundation.

Other related articles:

Cystisis in Cats

Urine Crystals in Cats

Managing Kidney Disease in Senior Cats

2 thoughts on “Are Cats with Dental Disease At Higher Risk for Kidney Disease?”

  1. I lost 2 cats and one dog to kidney failure. It is so disturbing and sorrowful. I nursed my vat for a very long time, once my vet trained me in certain procedures. They are never here long enough and I do everthing in my power to keep them healthy

  2. Hi Christine,

    I know.. it is so heartbreaking to lose our pets and kidney failure is a common culprit. We can only do our best and hope they remain healthy.


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