Jump to section
Kidney disease is also known as renal disease. Dysfunction of the kidneys may be caused by many health conditions including infection of the kidney tissues, kidney stones, a blockage, or a bacterial infection. The kidneys are vital organs that remove waste and concentrated urine.
A healthy kidney can remove substantial amounts of toxin with a small amount of water; whereas a kidney that is diseased needs much more water to excrete the same amount of toxins. The problem is when your dog cannot drink enough water for the kidneys to function, and toxin levels rise in your dog’s bloodstream.
Disease of the kidneys is common in older dogs. There are many diverse causes, but the earlier the diagnosis, the more effective the treatment.
There are various tests that may be done to confirm kidney disease and provide information on how badly damaged the organ is and what has caused it. A chemistry panel test will look for conditions such a build-up in blood urea nitrogen in your dog’s blood. Creatinine levels will also be checked. A urinalysis is where a urine sample will be taken from your dog and several tests will be done to measure how concentrated the urine is. A complete blood count is useful to check if your dog is anemic and for indications of infection. Other tests include x-rays (radiography) to see the size and shape of the kidneys. Small kidneys are more common in chronic kidney disease while large kidneys may indicate an acute problem or cancer.
An excretory urography is a specialised type of x-ray where a dye is injected into your pet’s vein and monitored through x-rays as it is filtered from the kidney. And finally, ultrasonography will be done to determine the changes in density and a biopsy taken during this procedure can determine the cause of the disease in some cases. With so many probable causes it is important to isolate the condition as much as possible to determine the correct treatment for your dog.
Once diagnosis has been completed treatment will be administered, although in urgent cases treatment will need to begin immediately. Fluid treatment involves rehydrating your pet and maintaining that state. This is done via intravenous (IV) fluids in the veterinarian clinic so your pet can be monitored. This will start or increase the urine output but your pet may need medications such as furosemide to help the kidneys to produce urine. Antibiotics for an underlying cause such as bacterial infection will also be administered. Some veterinary clinics do have a kidney dialysis service which can be used if your dog is not responding to normal therapies.
A change in diet may be necessary, but your veterinarian will advise you on this. To increase your pet’s appetite several small meals a day may be necessary. Supplements may also be needed depending on the severity of your dog’s condition. Kidney transplants are available if necessary. With treatment, dogs with a compromised kidney may live happily for many months to several years. It just depends on the individual case and how your dog responds to treatment. If the kidney has reached chronic kidney disease state, the condition cannot be reversed.
Home care will require you to follow your veterinarian’s directions regarding dietary needs and medication for your dog. Frequent follow up visits to the clinic may be needed until your pet’s health has stabilised. Depending on the condition of your dog’s kidneys, your furry friend may need a quiet place to relax and recover. Supportive care and plenty of fresh water available to him as he needs it will help.
If the condition was diagnosed in the initial stages then recovery may be quite quick. But if it is an advanced stage of disease then it may take longer for your pet to recover. Dialogue between yourself and the veterinarian needs to be ongoing, and if such a stage comes when you must decide about the quality of life your dog now has you will have all the facts and details to enable you to make an informed decision.
*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.
© 2020 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.
Download the Wag! app
Download the Wag! app