The kidneys are a vital part of your dog’s internal system. Did you know that nine out of every 1,000 dogs who are examined suffer from kidney disease? A canine’s kidneys maintain normal concentrations of salt and water in the body, and balance certain substances in the blood while filtering out body waste in the form of urine. They also help maintain blood pressure and assist with calcium metabolism and sustaining phosphorous levels. However, when the kidneys are not working properly, a build-up of toxins will occur in the blood and a dog will become ill.
Kidney failure—which regulates blood pressure, blood sugar, blood volume water composition in the blood and pH levels—can take place so slowly over a period of time that once symptoms are evident, it may be too late for effective treatment.
Chronic renal failure (kidney disease) cannot be cured or reversed, however proper management and treatment can slow its progression.
What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Failure in Dogs?
Symptoms of kidney failure vary upon each dog, and these symptoms occur gradually over an extended period of time. These include:
• Weight loss
• Increased thirst
• Appetite loss
• Blood in the urine
• Increase in urine frequency
What Causes Kidney Failure in Dogs?
Canines can develop acute kidney failure through ingestion of toxins which include antifreeze, tainted foods, certain medications and more. Other factors of kidney failure include low oxygen delivery to the kidneys, decreased blood flow and urinary obstruction.
While there are certain kidney problems that have an immediate cause which can be treated, the causes of chronic kidney disease are more difficult to determine. Chronic kidney disease develops slowly over the course of time, and most commonly affects older dogs, with causes including underlying illness and hereditary conditions.
Surprisingly, one of the main causes of chronic kidney failure in dogs stems from dental disease—the bacteria associated with dental disease enters the bloodstream and invades multiple organs which cause irreversible heart, liver and kidney damage.
Diagnosis of Kidney Failure
To diagnose canine kidney failure, your dog will undergo a complete blood profile which includes urinalysis, complete blood count and chemical blood profile. Ultrasound or x-ray may also be used to observe the shape and size of a dog’s kidneys in order to see if there are noticeable abnormalities. Chronic renal failure often causes kidneys to become unusually small.
Kidney Failure Treatment
Identifying kidney failure and beginning treatment as early as possible is the best way to treat chronic renal disease. Depending on if these problems are chronic or acute, treatment options may include:
• Fluid therapy
• Supplements that encourage urine production
• Management of blood electrolyte abnormalities
• Urinary output monitoring
• Management of high blood pressure
• Therapy for any specific underlying identified causes
Living and Managing Kidney Failure in Dogs
Canines who experience chronic renal failure should be continually monitored on an on-going basis. This includes frequent check-ups to ensure any necessary changes to medications or diet. A dog’s prognosis will depend on the stages of progression and the severity of the disease. A few months or years of stability may be expected with proper treatment, however the best way to manage this disease is to of course follow through with the prescribed veterinary treatment.
At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. If you suspect your dog may be suffering from kidney disease, or if you notice any of the above symptoms please contact us at our following locations: