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Internal parasites may be the cause of your pet’s ill health. Parasites can upset the important job the kidneys have which is removing waste by-products from the blood, and maintaining the fine balance of fluids and minerals that move through the body. Any condition that upsets and damages the natural balance of the kidneys is referred to as kidney or renal disease. While kidney disease is quite common in dogs, catching it in its early stages and providing treatment may halt the disease progression, allowing your dog to live a long and happy life.
Kidney problems can affect your dog so it is important to know the impending symptoms (such as increased thirst and bad breath) and act immediately, which may save your pet’s life.
Kidney disease can be caused by several different agents other than parasitic means, and being aware of these factors will help to keep your dog healthy if you take prompt action on any of these causes.
Once your take your dog to the veterinary clinic, your specialist will do a physical examination to check your dog’s overall health. Your dog may have abdominal pain and react when palpated in that area. The veterinarian will want to know a bit about your dog’s history, such as has your pet had a recurrent urinary tract infection, and whether you have noticed blood in the urine. Diagnosis can often be made by finding the ova (parasitic eggs) in urine sediment. If the condition is caused by Dioctophyme renale worms the adult worm may be found upon surgical exploration. Other tests that may be done include a complete blood count (CBC) which is one of the easiest ways to diagnose kidney disease.
A urinalysis is another straightforward way to determine the cause of the disease. Just to be certain, your veterinarian may do a biochemical profile, bacterial urine culture or a radiograph (X-ray) to solidify his diagnosis and to determine the extent of the kidney damage, and to decide on the right treatment. In the case of the kidneys, it is vital to try and notice any early warning signals as early treatment can save your pet’s life. The longer the disease progresses, the more irreversible damage is done.
The treatment for kidney parasites depends on the type of parasite and the health/condition of your dog. Some worm parasites, such as Capillaria plica, that affect the kidneys are usually less of a concern as they only last 3 to 4 months, and a good dewormer will usually resolve this problem. Dioctophyme renale may be more complicated. These worms cause widespread destruction and damage to the tissue of the kidney. If a kidney has been severely damaged because of these worms, removal of the affected kidney may be the only option.
Where the kidneys have both been affected, (by D. renale) then removal of the worm through surgical means may be the only option. Your dog can live a normal life if one kidney is removed and the other is still healthy. Prevention is the best course of action and this entails not allowing your dog to catch and eat raw creatures such as frogs, earthworms and some fish that may be carrying the parasites. Failure to prevent or treat your dog if he has developed kidney parasites can lead to kidney failure and your pet’s demise.
Home care once your dog’s treatment has been administered requires you as the owner to ensure the treatment is continued and all medication is given right to the end of the course. A follow up visit or two to the veterinary clinic will be required to monitor the progress of the treatment. Total control over the infestation can take some time to achieve, as the ova or eggs can survive for years in the environment. Pristine sanitation will help prevent infection while limiting your dog exposure to earthworms, frogs, and undercooked fish will help. Providing plenty of clean water, a comfortable bed, as well as peace and quiet if your dog is not feeling well will all aid recovery.
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