While there is a number of anecdotal reports regarding the effectiveness of herbal ingredients in treating humans with kidney disease, much more research is needed to support the use of these supplements in cats and dogs, as kidney insufficiency shows up frequently in elderly pets.
Conducted by Dr. Jan and colleagues at the University of Cornell, the following study evaluated the effect of a proprietary herbal supplement containing Rehmannia, Cordyceps, Astragalus, and Dong Quai (the ingredients found in Kidney Support Gold) in cats with naturally occurring kidney disease. Safety and efficacy of the supplement was determined through an examination of specific biological indicators and the progression of the disease itself. In addition, certain quality of life indicators were evaluated throughout the study to measure owner satisfaction for cats both receiving the herbal treatment and cats treated with a placebo.
Cats within the study were randomly assigned to receive either the herbal supplement or a placebo treatment at a dosage of 1ml per 10 kg body weight for 6 months. Complete blood counts, serum chemistry, urinalysis, blood pressure, body weight, body condition, and quality of life scores were determined at the onset of the study, and then reassessed again at 1, 3, and 6 months after the study began.
Although there were no significant differences between the two study groups when examining the biological indicators of urea and creatinine, body weight did increase significantly in cats taking the herbal supplement compared to cats taking the placebo. The quality of life indicators, however, showed a significant improvement in the herbal supplement group as compared to the placebo group.
This pilot study suggests three things: that there was minimal stabilization of biological parameters for cats taking the herbal supplement; that the supplement was safe; and that quality of life as evaluated by owners significantly improved in cats taking the supplement.
To learn even more, download the full study in PDF form for your convenience.