Elevated concentrations of serum phosphate are linked with progression and increased case fatality rate in animals and humans with chronic kidney disease. Elevated concentrations of serum phosphate can be a risk factor for development of renal and cardiovascular diseases or osteoporosis in previously healthy people. In rodents, an excess intake of dietary phosphorus combined with an inverse dietary calcium : phosphorus ratio (<1 : 1) contributes to renal calcification. Renal injury also has occured in cats fed experimental diets supplemented with highly soluble phosphate salts, especially in diets with inverse calcium : phosphorus ratios. However, not all phosphorus sources contribute similarly to this effect. This review, which focuses on cats, summarizes the published evidence regarding phosphorus metabolism and homeostasis, including the relative impact of different dietary phosphorus sources, and their impact on the kidneys. No data currently shows that commercial cat foods induce renal injury. However, some diets contain high amounts of phosphorus relative to recommendations and some have inverse Ca : P ratios and so could increase the risk for development of kidney disease. While limiting the use of highly soluble phosphates appears to be important, there are insufficient data to support a specific upper limit for phosphate intake. This review also proposes areas where additional research is needed in order to strengthen conclusions and recommendations regarding dietary phosphorus for cats.
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