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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.

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

dog-breed-icon

Dalmatian

dog-age-icon

8 Years

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Serious severity

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2 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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3320 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

dog-age-icon

12 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic
Unsteady
Eyes
Coordination
Not Catching Treats

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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1611 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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JAX

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Doberman pincher

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20 Months

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

my dog JAX is almost 2 years old was just neutered 60 days ago after 1 week he started drinking more often and urinating more the usual we have done urine test showing LSG 0f 1.014 and BUN 14.3 and Creatlnlne of 146 my vet says he has kidney problems but other then drinking and urinating more he is himself running playing eating could he be misdiagnosed ?

April 12, 2018

JAX's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

I'm not sure of the reference ranges for those kidney values, and without seeing the rest of his blood work, it is difficult to comment on what might be going on with him. His urine is very dilute, and if his kidney values are also elevated, that in conjunction with him drinking and urinating more may indicate that he does have a problem with his kidneys. It would be best to follow up with your veterinarian for further testing to determine what is going on, possibly an ultrasound. If you are not sure of his diagnosis, it never hurts to get a second opinion. I hope that all goes well for him.

April 13, 2018

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Dollar

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German Shepherd

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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Moderate severity

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2 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Appetite

Hello I have 4 year old German Shepherd dog. Suddenly he stops eating food, then I did some test and found Blood urea level is 210 mg and serum creatinine level is 11.61 mg. What should I do and Renal royal cannin food is good for him or not. Please give me some advice to treat my dog.

March 12, 2018

Dollar's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

The values are very high and Dollar requires a specific renal diet like the Royal Canin diet, fluid therapy as well as other supportive and symptomatic care as required. You should have your Veterinarian examine Dollar and administer fluids etc… An underlying cause for these high levels should also be determined and treated or managed as appropriate. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

March 12, 2018

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Chewey

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Yorkie

dog-age-icon

app 12

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

My yorkie had diarrhea and vomiting..he is app 12 years old..his BUN is 140 and ALT is 306..calcium is 13.1 and creatinine is 4.5..few others slightly elevated but not as severe as these..was told he is in kidney failure.His breath is also very bad now..Do you agree and do you know what his prognosis would be? Thank you

Oct. 10, 2017

Chewey's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Firstly lets look at Chewy’s numbers for basic kidney function: creatinine 4.5mg/dL (reference: 0.5-1.7mg/dL - indicating stage III) and BUN 140mg/dL (reference: 8-28mg/dL). When you have numbers like this it is important to determine the underlying cause which can be done by further testing with ultrasound and supportive therapy along with dietary changes; any treatment given should be consistent with any other symptoms presenting. Some dogs respond to treatment/management whilst others do not. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Oct. 11, 2017

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Zoey

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Cava-Tzu

dog-age-icon

10 Years

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

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Bloody Nose

Zoey has had 3 recent nose bleeds (Feb 2020) from only her left nostril. She had 2-3 of them last year at the same time of year from the same nostril. She clears her nasal passage often (by blowing out hard). She has some pretty intense sneezes at times (only prevalent since last year). I believe it's all related. Physical exam at vet showed nothing obvious. No recent trauma. Could it be a seasonal allergy? Her blood work was normal last year when checked, but her BUN level is slightly elevated this year 31 mg/dL (21 in 2019). Zoey eats homemade food now, but ate processed food last year. We live in MD. All other results from bloodwork have been normal. Any chance the nosebleeds and slightly elevated BUN level are related? Should we be concerned with Kidney problems just yet? We are going back for followup blood work in a month. Doc put her on anti-histamine for the time being. Thanks for any insight.

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Chloe

dog-breed-icon

Mix

dog-age-icon

11 Years

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

Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Lethargy
Polyuria
Anxiety
Polydypsia

My 11 year old little terrier mix was recently started on Lorazepam 0.5mg QD and Clomipramine 20mg QD and we did baseline lab work before starting her on the medication and the results were as follows: WBC: 17.81 (range is 6-17) Neu: 15.82 (range is 3.62-12.30) Lym: 0.80 ( range is 0.83-4.91 Neu %: 88.9 (range is 52-81) PLT: 618 ( range is 117-490) BUN: 25.1 ( range is 9-29) Creatine: 0.7 (range is 0.4-1.4) Phosphorus: 3.2 (range is 1.9-5) Total Protein: 7.2 (range is 5.5-7.6) Na: 148 (range is 141-152) K: 4.3 (range is 3.8-5.3) When I took her back recently, which was a month after these baseline results BUN: 42.2 Creatine: 0.9 Phosphorus: 4.1 Calcium: 11.8 Total Protein: 6.9 Based on these results they thought she might have renal disease, so we did X rays and urinalysis but they have come back normal and kidney were WNL. However, she has been losing weight, drinking more water, urinating more, some days she throws up her water, some days she is very finicky with eating and if she could spend the day sleeping she would. I want to note that her glucose levels were normal each time. I am wondering if based on the blood work and symptoms could it be due to stress or should we possibly pursue testing for Addison's disease?

dog-name-icon

Duke

dog-breed-icon

Chi Hua Hua

dog-age-icon

10 Years

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

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Weakness

My chihuahua has Glu:254mg/dL, SDMA>100ug/dL, Crea:— —mg/dL, (undetermined) BUN:>130mg/dL, Phos:>16.1mg/dL, Cal:7.5mg/dL Amyl: 2255U/L Na: 132mmol/L Na/K: 24 Cl: 94mmol/L TT4: 0.9ug/dL What do you think? Is he just dehydrated and hungry because I haven’t get a chance to give him soft food for few days. He only have dry food/kibbles and did not eat it because he does not have teeth at all since 7mos ago. After I knew and saw him losing weight for just maybe few days of not eating. I gave him multivitamins in a dropper, Ensure, coconut water for hydration but he did not have vomiting or diarrhea. He is alert but just weak but not lethargic.

High Levels of Blood Nitrogen Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$2,200

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