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What is Kidney Disease?

Underlying health problems and injury are just two of the two ways that your dog can become susceptible to kidney disease. Two of the earliest clinical signs are increased thirst and urination. Dogs with renal disease drink excessive amounts of water because the kidney, as the condition worsens, is no longer able to concentrate the urine as it should and excess urine is lost. Dogs drink more to compensate for this.

Also known as renal disease, malfunction of the kidneys results in the inability of the organ to filter toxins out of the bloodstream. The normal processes of water balance in the body are also disturbed. Kidney failure can come on quickly with severe complications (acute), or gradually occur over time (chronic). Kidney disease must be treated without delay; see the veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog is ill.

Kidney Disease Average Cost

From 31 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $30,000

Average Cost

$7,000

Symptoms of Kidney Disease in Dogs

Though your pet may not present with all of these symptoms, kidney failure may be indicated by the list below:

  • Vomiting
  • Physical weakness due to low red blood count and low blood potassium
  • Itchy skin because of deposits of phosphorous and calcium in the skin
  • Lack of appetite that has the opportunity to lead to weight loss
  • Increased thirst (polydipsia)
  • Large volume of urine being produced (polyuria)
  • Blood in urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Straining to urinate
  • Incontinence or leaking of urine
  • Acute blindness due to high blood pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Ulcers in mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Anemia which may show as pale gums
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Disorientation
  • Abdominal pain
Types
There are two types of kidney disease:
  • Acute
    • This is sudden onset renal failure
    • With prompt treatment, the failure can sometimes be resolved before it becomes long term
    • Recovery depends upon how much damage was done to the kidneys
    • If left untreated, acute kidney disease can quickly become fatal
  • Chronic
    • This is the most common disease in older dogs
    • Unfortunately, it is often irreversible
    • Early management can help slow the progression
    • Upon diagnosis, chronic kidney disease will be classified as stage I through IV
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Causes of Kidney Disease in Dogs

Whether of an acute nature, or a chronic problem, kidney disease occurs for many reasons:

  • Acute
    • Urinary obstruction
    • Problem occurred in surgery
    • Heat stroke
    • Poisons like toxic plants, antifreeze or human medications that have been ingested accidentally
    • Toxicity from ingestion of foods such as grapes or raisins
    • Bacterial infection
    • Trauma to the organ from being struck by a car, for example
    • Dehydration
  • Chronic
    • Old age deterioration of organ function
    • Genetic e.g. PKD
    • High blood pressure
    • Birth defect in the kidney
    • Incomplete recovery of kidney from a previous injury
    • Leptospirosis
    • Tumor
    • Lyme disease
    • Pyelonephritis (inflammation of urinary tract which causes bacteria to go into the kidney)
    • Glomerulonephritis (inflammation in the kidney structure that filters blood)

Studies have shown that several breeds are found to be prone to inherited chronic kidney disease:

  • Samoyed
  • Shih Tzu
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Poodles
  • Rottweiler
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Lhasa Apso
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Diagnosis of Kidney Disease in Dogs

Acute kidney failure must be treated without delay because damage to the kidneys can become irreversible. Upon arrival at the clinic or even while you're in the waiting room, be prepared to give a history of your pet’s recent behavior. The eating, drinking and urinary and defecation habits of your pet of late can be important indications to their health.

The veterinarian will under most circumstances, order a complete blood count, chemical profile, and blood analysis. Creatinine and blood urea nitrogen are found to be high in canines with kidney disease. As well, the electrolyte levels of your dog will be evaluated, to look for abnormalities or disturbances such as hyperphosphatemia (elevated phosphate in the blood). Blood pressure may be elevated, and a urine sample could show evidence of bacteria. The concentration of the urine is another important kidney disease marker.

Dogs with kidney disease often present with weakened bones, bleeding in the stomach and fluid retention in the limbs and abdomen.Sometimes radiographs or ultrasound are used to further examine the kidneys size for diagnosis and to look for evidence of underlying causes. If warranted, a biopsy of the kidney tissue could be part of the diagnosis.

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Treatment of Kidney Disease in Dogs

Determining the cause for the kidney disease will direct the veterinarian towards the treatment plan. The condition of the kidneys at the time of diagnosis, and learning whether the renal failure is acute or chronic are other crucial points to be considered.

In the case of acute kidney failure, your pet may need to be hospitalized so the kidneys can be stabilized. Fluid therapy, in the form of intravenous fluid administration, will reduce the amount of toxins and waste in the body. Pain relievers, gastrointestinal protectants, and anti-nausea medications will be given. If the damage to the kidneys is severe, the veterinarian will discuss the option of trying dialysis for an extended time, so the kidneys can have a chance to heal.

Depending upon the state of the kidneys, chronic renal disease will need to be addressed similarly to acute failure, or in the case of a slow progression of the illness, a more conservative treatment approach will be taken. To start, though, intravenous therapy may be done to flush out the kidneys (the process is called diuresis).

A change in diet will be part of the treatment plan. A diet with less protein (of a high quality like eggs and meat), which will create less waste for the kidneys to eliminate, is paramount to battling the chronic renal failure. Low phosphorus in the diet is key also because phosphorus tends to accumulate in diseased kidneys. Phosphate binders may be given.

Blood pressure medication may be part of the long-term treatment, as well as other drugs required to maintain calcium levels and reduce stomach acid.

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Recovery of Kidney Disease in Dogs

Dogs with acute kidney failure can have different outcomes which depend on the cause of the renal disease, and the severity of the disorder. The outcome for a dog with chronic renal failure is impossible to predict. Your pet may respond well to treatment and dietary changes and have months or years of a good quality of life. Other dogs will revert to a crisis situation shortly after the treatment has stopped. In some instances, the kidneys do not recover any function at all.

The change in diet could result in a longer lifespan. Be diligent in the type and amount of food you are feeding your dog. Follow the recommendations of the veterinarian carefully. Always provide plenty of fresh water. Some canines require the administration of subcutaneous fluids at home. The veterinary caregiver can provide training for you. Most dogs tolerate the administration very well.

It's imperative to reduce the amount of stress that your dog is exposed to. Work with him or her to maintain a calm, peaceful atmosphere. For example, if boarding your dog causes stress, have a dog sitter come to the home to stay there while you are away. If your pet prefers human company over the excitement of being around other canines, limit his exposure for the time he has left as your pet. The quality of care is essential to the longevity of your dog’s life.

Expect frequent visits to the veterinarian as part of the quality care. The testing of blood and urine on a regular basis is the safest way to assure your pet’s kidneys are continuing to function well.

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Kidney Disease Average Cost

From 31 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $30,000

Average Cost

$7,000

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Kidney Disease Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Rottweiler

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Eight Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Kidney Failure

My dog kidney failure creatinine level 16 ,blood urea 480

Sept. 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is feeling better. If they are still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 23, 2020

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Spike

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Miniature Pinscher

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14 Years

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Serious severity

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3 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Muscle Wasting
Lack Of Appetite
Diabetic
Lethargy
Nausea

14 yo Min Pin. Diabetic for about 5 years, controlled for about 4-1/2 years. About 5 months diagnosed with chronic insufficiencies. We were having difficulties controlling blood sugars. We suspected Cushing's. Well, I kept putting it off and just kept running at home glucose curves that I would email to vet. Any ways, about 3 weeks ago started throwing up, and just went downhill quickly. Ran labs - SDMA 31 - CREAT 1.7 - BUN 61 - CHLORIDE 126 - TCO2 10 - PHOS 5.8 - CALC 9.7 - CREAT KINASE 288 Suggested 2 x weekly 100cc. A week pass before we could get in for training on subq fluids. A day or two later, Spike started acting strangely, so we took to the local ER. The labs were worse: CREA 2.0 - BUN 115 - BUN/CREA 58 - PHO 13 - CA 9.7 . ER vet recommended a phosphate binder (alum hydroxide - not thrilled about) and 100cc fluids 2x daily. We did see a little improvement, but not much. It has been about 1 week or so. I have learned now to feed him 4 times daily - seems to eat more. The vet wants him back to 11.5 pounds. He is currently 9.6 as of yesterday. I increased to 400 calories daily, but someone recommended to bring back down to 311 calories (amount needed for a 11 pound senior) as we saw a bit of a spike in blood glucose; however, no problem eating 350-400 calories. I would like to see how I can begin getting his muscle mass back. The vet said there is nothing you can do, but I would think there is (but then again I am not a vet). His little tail still does not come up, indicating he does not feel well still. HE seems a bit delusional. The vet says the blood work should show improvements in 2 weeks if therapy works. crossing my fingers. Any suggestions on increasing muscle mass? Nausea seems to subsided, however, was given a medication to use in case. I just read somewhere to try raw apple cider vinegar - any thoughts? I really want to get away from medications, and use a more natural approach if possible. Tricky trying to manage low phosphorus, low sugar and high calories.

Aug. 27, 2018

Spike's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Managing diabetes and kidney failure at the same time can be very difficult, and it is probably not a good idea to try and avoid medications for Spike. The medications are there to help with appetite, nausea, and controlling phosphors, and they are there for a reason. If you are able to get everything back under control for him, it would be a good idea to stick with a medical plan to keep him managed.

Aug. 27, 2018

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Kidney Disease Average Cost

From 31 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $30,000

Average Cost

$7,000

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