Kidney: developmental anomaly in Cats (Felis) | Vetlexicon
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Kidney: developmental anomaly

ISSN 2398-2950

Contributor(s) :

Synonym(s): renal


  • Cause: familial disease in certain breeds.
  • Signs: usually asymptomatic, occasionally present with chronic renal failure Kidney: chronic kidney disease.
  • Diagnosis: radiography, ultrasonography.
  • Treatment: none.
  • Prognosis: guarded if chronic renal failure, animal may be normal.

Presenting signs

  • Usually incidental finding.

Age predisposition

  • Young.
  • Adult.



  • Congenital.
  • Familial.



  • Unilateral agenesis is usually asymptomatic (unless other kidney is damaged).
  • More commonly affects right kidney than left.
  • In female ipsilateral uterine horn is absent but ovary normal.
    If one uterine horn absent at time of spay check for presence of kidney.


  • Isolated reports but very rare.


  • Isolated case reports of congenital ectopia, frequently bilateral.
  • Occasionally occurs as a result of trauma Kidney: trauma.

Congenital polycystic disease

Primary familial nephropathy

  • Abnormal development of renal parenchyma  →  immature glomeruli and other inappropriate structures  →  renal failure.
  • ?Not reported in cats.
  • Familial amyloidosis Amyloidosis in Abyssinian cats Abyssinian. Also described in Siamese Siamese and Oriental cats Oriental shorthair.


Client history

  • Usually asymptomatic.
  • Small animal size for age.
  • Same problem in siblings or relatives.
  • PUPD, rarely behavioral problems. 

Clinical signs

  • Abnormal abdominal mass.
  • Rubber jaw.
  • Pathological fracture (renal osteodystrophy).
  • Signs of renal failure (particularly in young animals).

Diagnostic investigation


Contrast radiography

2-D Ultrasonography

Computed tomography 

Confirmation of diagnosis

Discriminatory diagnostic features

  • History.
  • Signs.

Definitive diagnostic features

  • Radiography.
  • Ultrasonography.
  • Genetic testing (PKD1 gene mutation in polycystic kidney disease).
  • Renal biopsy Biopsy: kidney.
  • In feline amyloidosis, amyloid deposits can also be found in other organs such as liver.  

Gross autopsy findings

  • Identification of gross lesion Kidney: renal dysplasia .
    May be incidental finding.


Standard treatment



  • Do not breed from affected animals.



  • Good if no damage to contralateral kidney.

Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • McIntyre R L, Levy J K, Roberts J F et al (2010) Developmental uterine anomalies in cats and dogs undergoing elective ovariohysterectomy. J Am Vet Med Assoc 237(5), 542-546 PubMed.  
  • Bonazzi M, Volta A, Gnudi G et al (2009) Comparison between ultrasound and genetic testing for the early diagnosis of polycystic kidney disease in Persian and Exotic Shorthair cats. J Feline Med Surg 11(6),430-434 PubMed.   
  • D'Ippolito P, Nicoli S, Zatelli A (2006) Proximal ureteral ectopia causing hydronephrosis in a kitten. J Feline Med Surg 8(6), 420-423 PubMed.   
  • Reichle J K, DiBartola S P, Léveillé R (2002) Renal ultrasonographic and computed tomographic appearance, volume, and function of cats with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. Vet Radiol Ultrasound 43(4), 368-373 PubMed
  • King G J & Johnson E H (2000) Hypospadias in a Himalayan cat. JSAP 41 (11), 508-510 PubMed.
  • Miller R H, Lehmkuhl L B, Smeak D D et al (1999) Effect of enalapril on blood pressure, renal function, and the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system in cats with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. Am J Vet Res 60 (12), 1516-1525 PubMed.
  • Johnson C A (1979) Renal ectopia in a cat - a case report and literature review. JAAHA 15 (5), 599-602 VetMedResource.
  • Robinson G W (1965) Uterus unicornis and unilateal renal agenesis in a cat. JAVMA 147 (5), 516-8 PubMed.