The hereditary condition known as polycystic kidney disease, also known as PKD or polycystic kidney syndrome, is particularly prevalent in Persian and Exotic Shorthair cats.


Image Credit : Danny VB

The primary characteristic of PKD is the development of fluid-filled cysts in the kidney. These cysts are already there at birth, but as the kitten grows, the cysts also enlarge and may be able to harm the kidney, leading to kidney failure in the end.

The cat does not exhibit any symptoms of illness while it is young and the cysts are extremely small. When there has already been considerable kidney damage, the disease typically manifests later. 

his disease is usually diagnosed between the ages of 7 and 8.

Polycystic kidney disease is inherited and caused by an autosomal dominant gene. Cats carrying the aberrant form are affected, especially Persian and Exotic Shorthair cats and British Shorthair lines. Although rare, it can affect various dog breeds.

Cats with polycystic kidney disease symptoms

Young kittens with polycystic kidney disease can experience an extremely rapid and harmful progression of the condition, which typically results in death. The likelihood is higher, though, that symptoms won’t manifest until adulthood.

renal failure signs in cats:

reduced appetite

Loss of weight



high water consumption

increased urination frequency

If you notice any of these symptoms, you must immediately consult a veterinarian to determine whether your kidneys are healthy and, if not, what the underlying reason is.

cat polycystic kidney disease diagnosis

Even if your Persian or Exotic Shorthair cat does not exhibit symptoms of the condition, it is still crucial that you take it to the doctor during the first year so they may examine the cat’s kidneys and determine whether they are healthy or not.


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An ultrasound scan is used to make the diagnosis, which is made in both the early stages of renal failure and after the cat has already displayed symptoms. An ultrasound of a sick cat will reveal whether the kidney cysts are present.

It goes without saying that the earlier a diagnosis is made, the better the disease’s prognosis.

Treatment for feline polycystic kidney disease

Sadly, there is no effective cure for polycystic kidney disease. The basic goal of PKD treatment is to slow the disease’s progression as much as feasible. The use of drugs will help to lessen the burden on the kidneys that are failing and will stop any organic issues that might occur.

Although the presence of the cysts in the kidneys won’t change with this medication and a diet reduced in phosphorus and sodium, it can enhance the cat’s quality of life.