Renal transplantation is a treatment option for renal failure in cats. It is important to recognize that renal transplantation is a treatment for renal failure, and not a cure. The goal of renal transplantation is to provide a good quality of life for a cat that would otherwise be unable to survive; however, “normal” life expectancy is not yet achievable by today’s technology.
The Feline Renal Transplantation Program at Penn Vet was successfully initiated in February 1998 by Dr. Lillian R Aronson, VMD, DACVS, Professor of Small Animal Surgery. After she received her VMD and finished an internship at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Aronson completed a small animal surgical residency at the University of California, Davis.
From 1994 to 1996 she was the coordinator of the renal transplant program for animals at the University of California at Davis. Following her residency, she joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and started Penn’s renal transplant program.
Success rate of feline kidney transplantation at Penn Vet
Presently, 90 percent of cats receiving kidney transplants recover sufficiently and will go home following renal transplantation and approximately 60 to 70 percent of transplanted cats are alive and continuing to do well at one year after transplant. Our current average lifespan following renal transplantation is 2-3 years. Two of our patients lived for 13 years following their transplant procedure.
A waiting list of two to four weeks is typical for renal transplantation. Surgeons at Penn Vet reserve the right to refuse any cat for renal transplantation at any point in the evaluation process. Renal transplantation can place considerable financial, emotional and physical burden on the owners of the transplant recipient, and requires a commitment and devotion to care for both recipient and donor that cannot be underestimated.
Kidney transplantation in the cat is a technically challenging procedure that requires a coordinated team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nursing staff. Here is Penn Vet's core team for feline renal transplantation.