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What is High Levels of Blood Nitrogen?

When your dog has high levels of blood nitrogen in his blood, it is caused by a buildup of waste materials, such as creatinine, urea, old cells, and food. There are four stages a dog goes through with this disease, which are:

Very Mild (Non-Azotemic) Kidney Disease

This is the beginning of the kidney disease and there are usually no physical symptoms in your dog. In fact, it will not even be found in blood tests yet because there is no damage to the kidneys to cause any clinical signs.

Mild Renal Azotemia

When there is enough damage to the kidneys that it causes few very mild symptoms and may only be found as a slight increase of nitrogen in your dog’s blood.

Moderate Renal Azotemia

At this stage, your dog’s kidneys have been damaged enough to cause both physical and clinical symptoms. At this stage, the damage done may be irreversible, but can be slowed or halted with treatment.

Severe Renal Azotemia

The damage to the kidneys at this point will be obvious. Blood tests will show elevated levels of creatinine, urea, and calcium. Urine tests will show an excess protein and increased urine specific gravity. Your dog will have most or all of the symptoms show below.

High levels of blood nitrogen is caused by renal azotemia, which is described as an accumulation of waste products in the blood. Symptoms commonly do not show up until there has already been some damage to the kidneys. The reason for this illness can range from many different things, such as the wrong kind of diet, infection, serious injury, urinary obstruction, acute and chronic kidney failure. There are four stages of azotemia, ranging from very mild to severe.

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High Levels of Blood Nitrogen Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $1,200 - $6,000

Average Cost

$2,200

Symptoms of High Levels of Blood Nitrogen in Dogs

  • Excess urination
  • Exhaustion
  • Nausea
  • Throwing up
  • Runny stool
  • Depression
  • Dehydration
  • Constipation
  • Loss of weight
  • Appetite loss
  • Foul smelling breath
  • Muscle deterioration
  • Hypothermia
  • Very pale skin
  • Blue or purple bruising
  • Dry and unhealthy looking coat
  • Small dark red or violet spots from bursting blood vessels
  • Coma
  • Death

 Types

Prerenal Azotemia is the reduction of kidney function from blood loss or low blood pressure.

Renal Azotemia is acute or chronic kidney failure with 75% or more damage to the kidneys.

Postrenal Azotemia is a blockage or damage to the ureter or excretory tubes.

 

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Causes of High Levels of Blood Nitrogen in Dogs

  • Renal disease
  • Heart problems
  • High fever
  • Sepsis
  • Low blood pressure
  • Liver damage
  • Dehydration
  • Acidosis
  • Chemical exposure
  • Stress
  • Urinary tract obstruction
  • Shock from serious injury
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Diagnosis of High Levels of Blood Nitrogen in Dogs

Your veterinarian will need to know all of your dog’s medical history, what symptoms you have noticed, and when you noticed them. The veterinarian will do a complete physical examination of your dog, taking special notice to palpate the kidneys and abdomen. They will take your dog’s blood pressure and temperature before running some tests. Some of the tests they will need to do are:

  • Urinalysis to check for anemia, specific gravity, white blood cell count, and protein levels
  • Biochemistry to find levels of phosphorus, calcium, and the sodium to potassium ratio
  • Clotting test to find your dog’s ability to stop bleeding
  • CBC (complete blood count) measures all of the major types of blood cells, such as red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin, and platelets
  • BUN (blood urea nitrogen) to find the levels of nitrogen in your dog’s blood
  • Digital radiographs (x-ray) of the abdomen

Depending on the outcome of these tests, your dog’s veterinarian may decide to do more tests, such as:

  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Biopsy of the kidney
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Treatment of High Levels of Blood Nitrogen in Dogs

The first thing your veterinarian will do is to restore fluids in your dog and reduce the toxins in his body. Antibiotics or other medications may be given for the underlying problem such as kidney infection.The treatment will depend on the cause of the disorder and the test results. If the results show that your dog is in either stages one or two, your veterinarian will put him on a special diet designed especially for dogs with kidney failure. This diet is low in protein and sodium and high in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. The food also has potassium citrate for acidity and lower phosphorous so these do not build up in the blood.

 Special vitamin supplements will also be prescribed for your dog to help with weight loss and anemia. Your veterinarian will also prescribe a medication for hypertension, such as an ace inhibitor that will aid in slow down or even repair some kidney repair.

 Your dog will have to go back to see the veterinarian every few months for blood tests and urinalysis. The veterinarian has to watch his protein levels so they do not get too low. Because the kidneys are needed to process medication, the veterinarian will have to be careful with what medication he decides to use. The unnecessary work for the kidneys may cause more harm than the not giving the medication.

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Recovery of High Levels of Blood Nitrogen in Dogs

The prognosis for high levels of blood nitrogen depends on the cause of the disorder and what stage it is in when found. If you follow the diet and other instructions that your veterinarian prescribes, your dog could live happily for several more years. You will have to keep track of how often and how much your dog urinates to check his kidneys’ function. Regular veterinarian care and blood tests every six months are essential to your dog’s health so be sure to keep all of your appointments.

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High Levels of Blood Nitrogen Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $1,200 - $6,000

Average Cost

$2,200

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High Levels of Blood Nitrogen Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Sally

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Dalmatian

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8 Years

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Serious severity

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5 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Diet, Vomiting, Tiredness,

I have a Dalmatian, 8 years old and she is diagnosed with Severe Azotemia. Her Cretinini, Serum is 13.33 & Urea is 689.70. So please suggest me what diet should i give to her and will she recover from this. Is it acute or chronic & does her kidney also get damaged from this.

July 14, 2018

Sally's Owner

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5 Recommendations

It all depends on the underlying cause of the symptoms and the type of azotemia (pre-renal, renal etc…); acute kidney failure is normally attributable to poisoning or sudden injury to the kidney which in some cases may be reversible, however chronic kidney failure is generally irreversible. Diet wise, renal diets would help which are low quantity but high quality protein diets and fluid therapy may also be indicated. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 14, 2018

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Lily

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Mixed breed shepherd

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12 Years

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Mild severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic
Unsteady
Not Catching Treats
Eyes
Coordination

My dog is 12 years old, 45 lbs, very athletic (shepherd mix), but recently (last month or so) started being very lethargic before walks, suddenly changed from being the Willie Mays of catching treats to missing quite a few, has tripped a couple of times, and in general doesn't seem as happy. Our vet recommended seeing an ophthamologist which we will do next week. He also said she is now in renal insufficiency and I need to cut back on her proteins and have her blood checked again in a few months. Her blood test shows Creatinine level 1.8, BUN 31, Potassium 4.9, Calcium 11.2, GGT 9, and Monocytes at 2%. I have all the other values if that's helpful. The rest were all in normal range. I went back and looked through her other blood tests over the previous several years and her Creatinine has varied between 1.6 (2014) to 1.2 (2017) to 1.5 and now to 1.8. Her BUN has always been in the mid 20s until now. Being a can-do family, we want to help her kidneys function better again and get those values back to where they need to be. How serious is this situation and what do you recommend as the best course of action? Thank you.

April 21, 2018

Lily's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

I would need more information to comment on the seriousness of Lily's situation, unfortunately, as we need to judge lab work in conjunction with physical health, and I can't see her. If she is starting to show signs of renal insufficiency, there are prescription diets that can help, and there are medications such as Enalapril that has been shown in some studies to improve kidney function. Whether or not those changes are appropriate for Lily would be best to discuss with your veterinarian, as they have greater knowledge of her specific condition. I hope that all goes well for her.

April 21, 2018

Thanks Dr. King for reply.

April 21, 2018

Lily's Owner

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High Levels of Blood Nitrogen Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $1,200 - $6,000

Average Cost

$2,200

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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