The Effect of Chinese rhubarb, Rheum officinale, with and without benazepril on the progression of naturally occurring chronic kidney disease in cats

J Vet Intern Med. 2014 Jul-Aug;28(4):1221-8. doi: 10.1111/jvim.12365. Epub 2014 Apr 28.


Background: Renal fibrosis is common in progressive kidney disease. Transforming growth factors β (TGF-β) are important mediators of all types of fibrosis, including renal fibrosis. Chinese rhubarb has been shown to have antifibrotic properties in part because of inhibition of TGF-β and has slowed the progression of kidney disease in rodent models.

Hypothesis: That administration of a Chinese rhubarb supplement will slow the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in cats and the concurrent administration of Chinese rhubarb and benazepril will be more effective than either alone.

Animals: Twenty-nine client-owned cats with naturally occurring IRIS Stage 2 or early Stage 3 CKD and without comorbidity such as cancer, urinary tract obstruction, urinary tract infection, poorly controlled hyperthyroidism, or systemic hypertension were enrolled in the study.

Methods: A randomized, positive-controlled, prospective study was performed. Cats received Chinese rhubarb, benazepril, or both in addition to standard treatment for CKD. Repeated measures ANOVA was used to assess changes in serum creatinine concentration, body weight, hematocrit, urine protein: urine creatinine ratio (UPC), and systemic arterial blood pressure over time between and within treatment groups over an average of 22 months.

Results: No significant differences were detected in serum creatinine concentration, body weight, hematocrit, UPC, and systemic arterial pressure over time between or within treatment groups.

Conclusions and clinical importance: This study failed to detect a significant difference in the progression of CKD in cats treated with Chinese rhubarb, benazepril, or both. Further study in specific subsets of cats with CKD is warranted.

Keywords: Cat; Chronic renal failure; Herb; Herbal; Rheum.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Benzazepines / administration & dosage
  • Benzazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Cat Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cats
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / veterinary
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / administration & dosage
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • Phytotherapy / methods
  • Phytotherapy / veterinary*
  • Proteinuria / drug therapy
  • Proteinuria / veterinary
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / drug therapy
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / veterinary*
  • Rheum*


  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Benzazepines
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Creatinine
  • benazepril