What are Hydronephrosis?
This disorder can be caused by many things in your dog and may present with multiple symptoms that can mimic other conditions. Typically, it is seen in older dogs and there is often an underlying cause. It can look like other urinary tract infections and conditions. You may notice your dog has difficulty urinating or may need frequent trips outdoors to relieve himself.
Hydronephrosis is the swelling of your dog’s kidney due to a buildup of urine. This happens when urine cannot drain out of the kidney into the bladder to be released.
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Symptoms of Hydronephrosis in Dogs
Symptoms are minimal and often generalized. However below are some of the signs to look for in your dog.
- Incontinence – Your house trained dog may suddenly begin to pee in your home or in his sleep etc.
- Polydipsia – Your dog may suddenly begin asking for excessive amounts of water and never appear satiated
- Polyuria – He may have large amounts of very diluted urine that appears more like water than urine
- Apathy – Your typically enthusiastic dog may suddenly become quiet and lose his interest in everyday things
- Anorexia – He may have significant weight loss with no apparent cause
- Weakness – An overall difficulty in getting up, getting around and having energy
- Abdominal pain – He may experience pain in his stomach resulting in his not wanting to eat or being touched
- Anemia – Your veterinarian may notice his red blood count is low when he visits
Typically, hydronephrosis is not something your dog is born with but rather is an outcome of an underlying issue. There are some cases, while rare, of puppies developing hydronephrosis.
Causes of Hydronephrosis in Dogs
The cause of hydronephrosis is typically the result of underlying urinary tract conditions. Rarely are puppies born with this conditions.
- Lower urinary tract disease
- Urolithiasis – A disease where there are stones in your dog’s urinary tract, they can cause pain and irritation, including blockage of the urinary tract
- When your dog’s kidneys are unable to pass urine to his bladder due to a blockage
- Their fibromuscular ducts carry the urine to their bladder, however at times these too can become blocked
Diagnosis of Hydronephrosis in Dogs
If you suspect your dog may be dealing with hydronephrosis it will be important to bring him to his veterinarian as the disease can result in renal failure if left untreated. Your veterinarian will want to do a physical exam to look for any symptoms such as pain in his abdomen, weakness, lethargy and more. Urine and blood samples may be taken to determine infections, anemia, and any other diseases.
Once this is complete your veterinarian may want to perform more diagnostic testing to better determine what is causing your dog’s symptoms. Some of these tests can include ultrasounds to see how enlarged if at all your dog’s kidneys are, and whether he has a blockage. More testing may be done to determine any infections or other underlying conditions your dog is experiencing secondary to his hydronephrosis.
Treatment of Hydronephrosis in Dogs
Treatment will be based on the cause of your dog’s hydronephrosis. If the blockage can be managed via medications this will be trialled first. However, if medication management does not work then surgery may be the next option to remove the block. It may also be necessary for the veterinarian to empty his bladder once the blockage is corrected. Depending on the underlying cause of your dog’s hydronephrosis, relapse is possible if the condition is not treated completely.
Dietary changes can be used to dissolve the stones in your companion’s urinary tract. This diet is free of certain proteins and enzymes which help future stones to not build up. Lastly, antibiotics will be used if there are any infections detected in your dog’s urine.
Recovery of Hydronephrosis in Dogs
Your dog can begin to have normal urination within a few days of treatment beginning. Ongoing follow up for underlying conditions will probably be necessary as will follow up appointments to ensure there are no ongoing problems.
Changes to your dog’s diet may be necessary to ensure he is receiving plenty of water throughout his day to stay hydrated, and help with no further blockages. It will also be important to follow any diet changes such as diets used to treat bladder stones.
Hydronephrosis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My dog (6 years old) is enlged above his flank, i fear its the left kidney, and sundently i couldnt fint him to take him out for his evning walk and i found him in my bed where he had peed him self. He growled at me( hes never done that before) but after he was super happy (as always) peed outside when i took him for a walk, didnt react at all when feelt his kidneys. Should i be woried and take him to the vets?
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