Dogs and humans share a lot in common involving health, wellness and even disease, including everything from arthritis to diabetes and renal disease, which is more commonly known as kidney disease. Dogs have two kidneys and just like humans, they filter out impurities from your pet’s body. Kidney disease is not curable, and unfortunately kidney transplants in dogs are uncommon due to the high probability their bodies will reject the kidney unless it is from a related dog. On the positive side, treatments can help slow the symptoms and progression of the disease. To determine if your pet is suffering from kidney disease, your veterinarian will most likely do a full blood analysis.
Causes: Kidney disease and failure can stem from a variety of things, but typically is caused by ingestion of a household poison such as antifreeze or Easter Lily, urinary issues, diabetes, some prescription medications or lymphoma. Kidney disease is also a genetic disease, so your pet could inherit it. Certain breeds are prone to kidney disease and renal failure, and those include the Samoyed, Bull Terrier, Cairn Terrier, German Shepherd and English Cocker Spaniel.
Symptoms: Symptoms of kidney disease vary and may come on gradually. Often your pet’s kidneys can compensate as they lose their functionality. By the time you notice symptoms in your dog, it may be very late. If your dog shows signs of any of these symptoms, consult your veterinarian immediately to determine if your dog is suffering from renal failure or any other potential illnesses:
- Diarrhea or Constipation
- Weight Loss
- Increased Thirst and / or Lack of Appetite
- Acute or Temporary Blindness
- Seizures and Comas
- Bloody Urine
- Increase in Frequency and Amount of Urine
- Lastly, your veterinarian could find kidney disease during regular bloodwork or checkups even if your dog doesn’t show any signs or symptoms of the disease, so don’t skip your veterinarian visits!
Treatment: Treatment from your veterinarian will vary depending on the severity of kidney disease or failure. With any of treatments, it is best if you keep weekly, or even daily records of your pet’s progress. Some potential treatments include:
- Fluid Therapy: This will help to assist your pet’s fluid levels so they do not become dehydrated. This is absolutely critical to help continuously flush out the impurities inside the body.
- Adjusted Diet: Your pet may need a specialized diet to help slow the progression of the disease. These diets will need to be low in protein, phosphorus, calcium and sodium. The food will typically also help maintain higher levels of potassium and fatty acids. However, these foods may not taste so good, so you can add tuna juice, chicken stock or other flavor enhancers with your veterinarian’s approval.
- Vitamin Supplement or Other Medication: Your pet may need additional assistance to help regulate their body including supplements to improve calcium or phosphorous levels, reduce ulcers, increase or decrease blood pressure and simulate growth of red blood cells.
- Home Monitoring: Always keep an extra eye on your pet and keep track of their behaviors so you can know if your pet is on a plateau or if their symptoms are worsening.
While kidney disease is not a promising diagnosis, it is treatable and the best thing to do is maintain regular veterinarian visits and keep up with medications to help keep your dog as comfortable as possible. PetMD is a great resource for additional information regarding kidney disease.
The Old Dog House is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization located in Jacksonville, Florida, dedicated to giving older and senior dogs a second chance at a new life. At so many shelters, the age of a dog determines its chances of reaching the adoption floor to find a new forever home.As a result, many wonderful dogs are denied the ability to live out their lives in dignity, surrounded by love. The Old Dog House aims to enlighten the public to the joys of owning an older or senior dog through educational programs and to place rescued dogs into true forever homes through adoption programs. The dogs that come into the care of The Old Dog House will remain in our care until adopted. We rely solely on donations from the public to support our organization. 100% of donations received are used for the care and rehabilitation of the dogs at The Old Dog House. Every penny makes a difference and is greatly appreciated!