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Effects of the long-term feeding of diets enriched with inorganic phosphorus on the adult feline kidney and phosphorus metabolism

  • Janet Alexander (a1), Jonathan Stockman (a1), Jujhar Atwal (a1), Richard Butterwick (a1), Alison Colyer (a1), Denise Elliott (a2), Matthew Gilham (a1), Penelope Morris (a1), Ruth Staunton (a1), Helen Renfrew (a3), Jonathan Elliott (a4) and Phillip Watson (a1)...


Renal disease has a high incidence in cats, and some evidence implicates dietary P as well. To investigate this further, two studies in healthy adult cats were conducted. Study 1 (36 weeks) included forty-eight cats, stratified to control or test diets providing 1·2 or 4·8 g/1000 kcal (4184 kJ) P (0 or approximately 3·6 g/1000 kcal (4184 kJ) inorganic P, Ca:P 1·2, 0·6). Study 2 (29 weeks) included fifty cats, stratified to control or test diets, providing 1·3 or 3·6 g/1000 kcal (4184 kJ) P (0 or approximately 1·5 g/1000 kcal (4184 kJ) inorganic P, Ca:P 1·2, 0·9). Health markers, glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and mineral balance were measured regularly, with abdominal ultrasound. Study 1 was halted after 4 weeks as the test group GFR reduced by 0·4 (95 % CI 0·3, 0·5) ml/min per kg, and ultrasound revealed changes in renal echogenicity. In study 2, at week 28, no change in mean GFR was observed (P >0·05); however, altered renal echogenicity was detected in 36 % of test cats. In agreement with previous studies, feeding a diet with Ca:P <1·0, a high total and inorganic P inclusion resulted in loss of renal function and changes in echogenicity suggestive of renal pathology. Feeding a diet containing lower total and inorganic P with Ca:P close to 1·0 led to more subtle structural changes in a third of test cats; however, nephrolithiasis occurred in both diet groups, complicating data interpretation. We conclude that the no observed adverse effects level for total dietary P in adult cats is lower than 3·6 g/1000 kcal (4184 kJ), however the effect of inorganic P sources and Ca:P require further investigation.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.

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*Corresponding author: Dr J. Alexander, fax +44 1664415440, email


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