Like many cat owners, Dr. Jessica Quimby spends a lot of time worrying about feline health. With six cats of her own, this veterinarian knows the odds are that at least one will develop chronic kidney disease. In fact, her cat Sophie already has the highly common and incurable disease.
“I’m really surprised when a cat in its mid-teens doesn’t have kidney disease. It’s so common that it is more abnormal for an older cat to have normal kidney function,” said Quimby, an assistant professor and board-certified internal medicine specialist in the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
Veterinarians estimate that up to half of cats over 15 years old will develop renal failure. That’s 2 million cats in the United States.
Chronic kidney disease is irreversible, so treatment focuses on treating complications through changes in diet, medicating high blood pressure, and keeping the cat hydrated. Quimby is a cat crusader, doggedly pursuing these and other treatments that will make life better for ailing cats and their humans.
“As an internal medicine specialist, I work with both cats and dogs, but I always had the goal of working with cats – elderly cats, complicated cats. I grew up with cats on a farm and saw them suffering from various diseases, so I came to CSU so I could have the power to do studies and learn new things to help them,” said Quimby, whose office in the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital is decorated with photos and paintings of feline friends.