Kidney Toxicity (Drug-Induced) in Cats

Drug-Induced Nephrotoxicity in Cats

Certain medications administered for the purpose of diagnosing or treating medical disorders may cause kidney damage. When this occurs, it is referred to as drug-induced nephrotoxicity. It is more commonly recognized in dogs than cats. And although drug-induced nephrotoxicity may occur in cats of any age, older cats are more susceptible.

Symptoms and Types

Signs associated with nephrotoxicity may include:


Nephrotoxicosis can be induced by the administration of pharmacologic agents (or drugs), which interfere with the blood flow to the kidneys as well as cause tubular dysfunction in the kidneys. If left untreated, the damage to the renal tubule cells may lead to tubular necrosis and even kidney failure. Risk factors that may increase the odds of developing drug-induced nephrotoxicity include dehydration, advanced age, and fever.


When drug-induced nephrotoxicity is suspected, a veterinarian will often biopsy a portion of kidney tissue. This will help him or her identify kidney failure and also the proper course of treatment. Another useful diagnostic procedure is a urine analysis.

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