A research team out of Tokyo may have found an important clue as to why so many cats die of kidney failure–the leading cause of death in cats five years and older.
Most of us have lost more than one aging cat to this disease. It turns out that all cats are inherently vulnerable to this often fatal health problem, according to a recent study. Kidney disease is seven times more common in cats than in dogs, for instance.
Why is that? The fault lies in the feline bloodstream and a protein that should protect cats, but doesn’t, researchers claim. The protein, called AIM (apoptosis inhibitor of macrophage) helps clean the bloodstream of clogs and restores kidney function in both mice and humans. For some reason, the AIM protein does not kick in and do its job for ailing cats, according to the study by researchers at the University of Tokyo, whose findings were reported in The Mainichi, a national news daily in Japan.
Any new drug that could treat the cause of kidney failure would have a huge impact on the feline longevity. “We are expecting to develop a medicine for cats within the next few years, and there is a chance that it could dramatically extend the lifespan of cats,” Dr. Toru Miyazaki told The Mainichi.
Kidneys filter waste from the blood stream. When they can no longer perform this vital function, dead cells clog the tubes of the urinary tract. The result is kidney failure. The team expects that new medical treatments for kidney failure in cats will also benefit humans.
Miyazaki’s team works at the Center for Disease Biology and Integrative Medicine; they published the results of their study on Oct. 12 in the digital journal Scientific Reports.
For more information about the symptoms of kidney failure, check out this Website.