Prepare for unexpected vet bills

Youtube Play

What is Kidney Enlargement?

Kidneys are essential to your dog’s health because they remove the toxins and wastes from his body through urine. If one of both of your dog’s kidneys are enlarged, a serious problem needs attention by your veterinarian right away. The cause of enlarged kidneys can be many different things and the main objective is to determine the cause and fix that problem before too much kidney damage is done. Your veterinarian can give your dog a physical examination and perform tests to find the cause right away. It could be as simple as a kidney infection or as serious as cancer. The sooner the cause is found, the better the outcome will be for your dog.

Kidney enlargement in dogs, also referred to as canine renal enlargement, is the swelling of one or both of the dog’s kidneys. The length of a dog’s kidneys is approximately three times the size of the second lumbar vertebrae. Many things, including but not limited to, cysts, abscess, neoplasia, hematoma, hydronephrosis, edema, and injury, can cause kidney enlargement.

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

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

Compare plans
advertisement image

Kidney Enlargement Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $2,000 - $10,000

Average Cost

$6,000

Symptoms of Kidney Enlargement in Dogs

  • Extreme thirst
  • Increased body temperature
  • Back or belly pain
  • Increased urination
  • Bad breath odor
  • Mouth sores
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Stiff walking
  • Appetite loss
  • Weak or rapid pulse
  • Vision problems
  • Dark urine
  • Dizziness
  • Staggering
  • Convulsions
  • Coma

 Types

Acute kidney enlargement comes on suddenly and is usually caused by trauma or serious illness. This type is easier to recognize and determine the cause.

Chronic kidney enlargement is a gradual disease that comes on slowly and is hard to recognize. Usually by the time the symptoms get bad enough for you to notice them there is already substantial damage done to the kidneys.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Kidney Enlargement in Dogs

Acute Kidney Enlargement

  • Infection
  • Injury
  • Toxins
  • Kidney stones
  • Acute renal failure
  • Urinary obstruction

 Chronic Kidney Enlargement

  • Certain breeds of dogs are predisposed to kidney disease, such as Beagle, Terrier, Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Bernese Mountain Dog, Doberman, Lhasa Apso, Retriever, Schnauzer, Corgi, Shar-Pei, Rottweiler, Samoyed, Newfoundland, Shih Tzu, Malamute, and Poodle
  • Old age
  • Previous record of renal diseases
  • Chronic kidney infection
  • Lymphoma
  • Tumor
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Kidney Enlargement in Dogs

The first thing your veterinarian will do is talk to you about your dog’s medical history and recent symptoms. The veterinarian will then do a complete thorough examination of your dog’s entire body, concentrating on your dog’s abdomen (palpation), heart rate, blood pressure, and mucous membranes. Some tests that are essential for diagnosis are:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Chemical panel (urea, creatinine, nitrogen)
  • Blood gas
  • Urinalysis (protein, sediment, specific gravity)
  • Fungal culture
  • Bacterial culture
  • Electrolytes panel
  • Anemia test
  • Radiographs (x-rays)

Your veterinarian may also need to do further testing if he suspects other problems:

  • Ultrasound (kidney shape, size, and density)
  • Biopsy
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • IV pyelogram (dye imaging)

 Depending on the results of these tests, your veterinarian may decide to do more tests to determine the extent of the damage in your dog’s kidneys.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Kidney Enlargement in Dogs

The treatment depends on the type and cause of the kidney enlargement in your dog.

 Acute Kidney Enlargement

Infection

Your dog will need to stay overnight in the hospital to get IV fluids and antibiotics. If your dog’s kidneys seem to be handling the fluids well and he is able to urinate, he will be sent home with oral antibiotics.

 Injury

Your dog will need to stay overnight in the hospital to get IV fluids and antibiotics.

If the injury is mild or moderate and can heal on its own, your dog will be sent home as soon as the swelling goes down and he is able to urinate on his own. Your veterinarian may prescribe pain medicine or steroids to control swelling.

 Toxins

Your veterinarian will immediately perform a gastric lavage to empty your dog’s stomach and give him charcoal to absorb the toxins. Your dog will also get IV fluids and possible an antitoxin or antibiotic. Once he is stable, your veterinarian will send you home with strict instructions to come back immediately if your dog starts having symptoms of relapse.

 Kidney stones

Your veterinarian will have to find out whether the stones are triple phosphate (struvite), urate, or calcium stones. A special diet of low protein, magnesium, and phosphorus is used for three months to dissolve struvite stones. If the stones are still not dissolved, the veterinarian will remove them surgically. Urate stones need diets low in purines and protein as well as a drug (allopurinol) to dissolve the stones. Calcium stones and any other stones that do not dissolve quickly through diet or medication need to be removed with surgery. The veterinarian will also do surgery right away if your dog is in intense pain or if the stones are too large to dissolve quickly.

 Chronic Kidney Enlargement

Hereditary

Hereditary kidney disease that causes chronic kidney enlargement is usually treated with palliative care and management. There is no treatment to get rid of a hereditary kidney disease so the best that can be done is to treat the symptoms as they arise. A special diet is also usually prescribed to help reduce inflammation and infection.

 Age

Kidney enlargement caused by old age is treated with IV fluids to relieve the inflammation and reset the kidneys to get them to work again. This is a temporary solution and your dog will need to see the veterinarian often to evaluate the kidney function and prescribe medication or a diet that can help relieve symptoms as they arise.

 Tumor

IV fluid therapy to stabilize your dog’s electrolytes will be done in the office while the biopsy and other tests are being done. Tumors of the kidney are not common in dogs, but when they occur, they are usually malignant (cancerous). The only way to treat this is with surgery to remove the tumor(s) and chemotherapy. However, these treatments do not usually work well and prognosis is not good.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Kidney Enlargement in Dogs

Acute kidney enlargement has an excellent prognosis with proper treatment and follow-up examination.

 Chronic kidney enlargement prognosis depends on the diagnosis, but since this disorder is not usually noticed until significant damage is done, the prognosis is not good. Sometimes, a cancerous tumor can be removed surgery, and your dog can live for several more good years with an aggressive chemotherapy treatment.

 The most important part of your dog’s recovery and management is to feed him a healthy diet, provide plenty of exercise, and regular veterinarian visits.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Kidney Enlargement Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $2,000 - $10,000

Average Cost

$6,000

arrow-up-icon

Top

Kidney Enlargement Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Shylo

dog-breed-icon

Golden Retriever

dog-age-icon

11 Years

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

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Back Pain
Abdomen Pain
Diarrhea

I have a 11 year old Golden Retriever whom had a sudden onset of pain four days ago and loose frank blood in stool. Vet examination found to have what appeared as an mass on left kidney vis x ray. He is anemic. White blood cells slightly increased kidney function in normal range. A Ultra sound doesn't show a mass but a enlarged Left kidney. Our vet is unsure of the cause of the enlarged kidney as he can't seem to find a reason on the ultra sound. having said that he himself states radiology is or his strong area. I live 8 hours from the nearest internist and radiologist. Our vet is suggesting exploratory surgery and advice? Tests done were abd x ray, CBC, lytes, ultra sound. Dog is in good health otherwise but has had a 10lb weight loss in the past 14 month with no life style changes.

July 26, 2017

Shylo's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

If you’re wanting a second opinion, one of the easiest ways to do so is to send copies of the x-rays and print out of ultrasound findings to a company like Petrays (petrays.com) who will look at the images along with medical notes, blood test results etc… and a Board Certified Veterinary Radiologist will send back a detailed report highlighting any anomalies that they find. This would save you an eight hour journey and would be cheaper than visiting a Specialist (generally as a Specialist would normally retake all tests and x-rays etc...). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Bear

dog-breed-icon

Shepherd mix

dog-age-icon

11 Weeks

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

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Diarrhea
Abdomen Pain
Lethargy
Blood In Urine
Fever

11 week old puppy, thought to have a blockage. They went in to do surgery and found his left kidney dialated to twice its normal size. He has been on IV fluids since last night and just started antibiotics. He currently has a urinary catheter in to drain his bladder. The Doctor suspects Pyonepheritis. What is the prognosis in such a young puppy?

July 26, 2017

Bear's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

There are a few reasons why a dog may have an enlarged kidney; these include hydronephrosis, infection (pyelonephritis), urinary obstruction, tumours or congenital disorders. The prognosis is dependent on the underlying cause of the enlargement; usually a fine needle aspirate, biopsy or ultrasound (to determine internal structure) would be carried out to assist in the diagnosis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

Was this experience helpful?

Kidney Enlargement Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $2,000 - $10,000

Average Cost

$6,000

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

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

advertisement image
ask a vet placeholder
Need pet insurance?