Polycystic kidney disease in cats pkd 1

Polycystic kidney disease or PKD for short is a common hereditary disease in v.a. Persian cats, which causes cysts (pockets of fluid) to form in the kidney. These cysts are present from birth, as the disease-causing gene is dominantly inherited. The kidney is increasingly damaged during the course of the disease until the cat shows symptoms of chronic kidney failure and finally dies of kidney failure.

Reasons for occurrence

Persian cats have the highest rate of PKD disease. Studies have shown that about one third of Persian cats worldwide are affected by the disease. However, PKD is also observed in breeds bred from Persian bloodlines. In most other cats, especially in mongrels, it is considered a rare disease.

PKD is the result of a single autosomal dominant gene abnormality. This means that any cat carrying the abnormal gene has PKD. There are no unaffected carriers of the gene. Even cats that do not show any clinical signs can pass on the genetic defect to their puppies. It does not matter whether the mating is with an affected or unaffected partner.

How is PKD diagnosed?

Diagnosis is based on breed, medical history, clinical signs, blood and urine tests as well as ultrasound examinations of the kidneys. In certain situations, special radiographic dye studies can also be performed. Early diagnosis is essential for all potential breeding cats. A clear diagnosis is possible from the age of 10 months, before that only amptions can be made. PKD can only be diagnosed by an experienced ultrasound diagnostician, who must be tested and certified by the German Association of Practicing Veterinarians (bpt). The Veterinary Clinic Ahlen is available to you as a certified examination center with two certified examinations.


Symptoms cats are associated with general kidney failure. The progressive growth of cysts in these vital organs slows their filtration function, which can lead to complications in the bladder and abdominal pain. Additional symptoms associated with PKD in cats include:

– Anorexia – Increased drinking (polydipsia) – Increased urination (polyuria) – Apathy – Vomiting – Weight loss – Pain (if the cysts are bacterial) – Increased abdominal circumference

Therapy options

Cure of kidney disease caused by PKD is not possible.

Consequently, the therapy is limited to the treatment of the symptoms, with the aim of slowing down the progression of the disease.

In the course of the disease, the cysts can be colonized by bacteria, which causes enormous pain to the cat. Medication can mitigate some of the negative effects of the disease, improving the quality of life of the affected cat.

The exact type of treatment therefore differs from animal to animal. If your cat suffers from PKD related kidney weakness, treatment options must be discussed with a veterinarian. With your pet, we have both certified diagnosticians and a top-notch internal medicine department to help you with advice and support. For more information about hereditary diseases click here.


Leslie A. Lyons, David S. Biller, Carolyn A. Erdman, Monika J. Lipinsky, Amy E. Young, Bruce A. Roe, Baifang Qin, Robert A.

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