Chronic kidney disease alters the immune response in humans and dogs and it is thought to be one of the causes of immunosuppression in cats. Haematological, biochemical, and immunological examinations were performed on blood samples obtained from 20 cats with chronic kidney disease, and were compared with the results of 18 healthy cats. In cats with chronic kidney disease, statistically significantly lower numbers of total lymphocytes (P < 0.01), especially T lymphocytes (P < 0.001), were observed. When the results were compared with the lymphocyte transformation test in healthy cats, decreased responses to phytohaemaglutinin, concanavalin A, and pokeweed mitogen were found in cats with chronic kidney disease. Our results document an alteration of counts and activity of lymphocytes in cats with chronic kidney disease. Thus, higher susceptibility to infection may be expected in these patients.
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