What Is Iris Kidney Staging?

Iris kidney staging is a classification method used to determine the severity of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in cats. It was developed by the International Renal Interest Society (IRIS) and is widely accepted as the standard for staging CKD in cats.

Iris Kidney Staging

Why is Iris Kidney Staging Important?

Iris kidney staging is important because it helps veterinarians determine the appropriate treatment for cats with CKD. The stage of CKD determines the severity of the disease, and therefore the recommended treatment options.

How is Iris Kidney Staging Determined?

Iris kidney staging is determined based on two factors: the cat’s creatinine level and urine protein level. Creatinine is a waste product that is normally filtered out of the body by the kidneys. When the kidneys are not functioning properly, creatinine builds up in the blood. Urine protein level is also an indicator of kidney function.

The Stages of Iris Kidney Staging

There are four stages of iris kidney staging, ranging from stage 1 to stage 4. Stage 1 is the mildest form of CKD, while stage 4 is the most severe.

Stage 1

In stage 1, the cat’s creatinine level is slightly elevated, but still within the normal range. There may be no clinical signs of CKD at this stage.

Stage 2

In stage 2, the cat’s creatinine level is mildly elevated, and there may be mild clinical signs of CKD, such as increased thirst or urination.

Stage 3

In stage 3, the cat’s creatinine level is moderately elevated, and there are more noticeable clinical signs of CKD, such as weight loss, vomiting, and dehydration.

Stage 4

In stage 4, the cat’s creatinine level is severely elevated, and there are significant clinical signs of CKD, such as anemia, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

How is Iris Kidney Staging Used to Determine Treatment?

Once a cat has been staged using iris kidney staging, the veterinarian can determine the appropriate treatment based on the stage of CKD. Treatment options may include medications, dietary changes, and fluid therapy.


Medications may be used to manage symptoms of CKD, such as hypertension or anemia. Some medications may also help slow the progression of CKD.

Dietary Changes

Dietary changes are often recommended for cats with CKD. A diet that is low in protein and phosphorus can help reduce the workload on the kidneys.

Fluid Therapy

Fluid therapy may be necessary for cats with CKD, especially if they are dehydrated. Fluid therapy can help flush toxins out of the body and improve kidney function.


The prognosis for cats with CKD varies depending on the stage of the disease and the response to treatment. Cats in the earlier stages of CKD may have a better prognosis than those in the later stages.


While iris kidney staging is used to determine treatment for cats with CKD, prevention is always the best approach. There are several things that owners can do to help prevent CKD, such as providing fresh water, feeding a high-quality diet, and scheduling regular veterinary checkups.


In conclusion, iris kidney staging is an important tool for determining the severity of CKD in cats. By using this classification system, veterinarians can determine the appropriate treatment for each individual cat based on their stage of CKD. With proper treatment and management, cats with CKD can live happy, healthy lives.

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  • Jung Sammie

    As a fitness enthusiast and nutrition expert, I believe that the right lifestyle choices can make a big difference in how we feel and function. With my practical tips and advice, you'll be able to make positive changes to your health and well-being.