What is Polycystic Kidney Disease?
The cysts will grow and advance slowly over the kidney, but eventually they take over the healthy kidney tissue. The enlarged kidneys will be unable to function normally and progressive renal failure will occur. Kidneys are essential to the body; they are part of the urinary system, remove waste from the bloodstream, stabilize fluids in the body, and help maintain normal red blood cells. When renal failure occurs the kidneys are not able to get rid of the toxins in the bloodstream nor can they stabilize fluids in the body. Polycystic kidney disease may also lead to a bacterial kidney infection that can spread into the bloodstream. Polycystic kidney disease may become life threatening to your pet.
Polycystic kidney disease is more common in Terriers, including Bull Terriers, West Highland White Terrier, Cairn Terriers and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a rare genetic disease characterized by fluid filled cysts growing on the kidneys. As polycystic kidney disease progresses it will make the kidneys more susceptible to infection and to progressive renal failure.
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Symptoms of Polycystic Kidney Disease in Dogs
In the early stages of polycystic disease (PKD) there may not be any visual signs. As the cysts grow and spread the symptoms of polycystic kidney disease (PKD) may include one or more of the following:
- Enlarged kidneys
- Very thirsty
- Frequent urination
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
- High blood pressure
Causes of Polycystic Kidney Disease in Dogs
Polycystic kidney disease in dogs is an autosomal-dominant congenital condition. This means that the cause of PKD is that the canine inherited the abnormal disease gene from one of his parents. The dog that passed on the abnormal gene may or may not have the disease. If your pet is diagnosed with PKD, it is important not to breed your canine, as they would be passing the abnormal gene to the litter.
Diagnosis of Polycystic Kidney Disease in Dogs
Your veterinarian will take a thorough medical history of your pet. He will ask you what symptoms you have observed and when they started. The veterinarian then will perform a physical exam on your dog which may include taking the dog’s temperature, blood pressure, palpation of the abdominal area, and listening to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope. Dogs with PKD usually have enlarged kidneys that may be felt during the physical exam. A complete blood count, serum creatinine, and urinalysis will help determine your dog’s overall health. In patients with PKD the red blood cell count may be lower than normal.
A CBC can also establish if there is a bacterial infection. The creatinine levels in the serum can show if the kidneys are functioning normally. In PKD patients there is usually too much protein in the urine. The veterinarian may recommend x-rays and an abdominal ultrasound. Your pet may need to be sedated for these procedures. X-rays can confirm that the kidneys are enlarged. The ultrasound will be able to determine if there are any cysts on the kidneys and the size of the cysts.
Treatment of Polycystic Kidney Disease in Dogs
There is no cure for polycystic kidney disease. The objectives in a treatment plan for PKD are to help slow down the spread of the cysts and alleviate any discomfort the pet is experiencing. If the ultrasound showed that the fluid filled cysts were very large, the veterinarian may recommend draining them. A needle is inserted into the cysts to be drained; the procedure is done with the help of the ultrasound. Your pet will have to have general anesthesia. Usually the dog is sent home the same day of the procedure. Pain medication will be prescribed. If there are any infections, your pet will be prescribed antibiotics
The veterinarian may suggest a low protein diet for your pet and Vitamin D supplements. There are also some natural and holistic treatment plans. Probiotics can help cleanse the body of waste toxins. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can help lower your pet’s blood pressure and heart rate.
Recovery of Polycystic Kidney Disease in Dogs
Patients with polycystic disease will need frequent follow-up visits to monitor the growth of the cysts and to determine if there are any secondary bacterial infections. When cysts become too large, it can cause discomfort to your dog. The cysts may need to be re-drained. Bloodwork and urinalysis will need to be re-checked. It will be important to keep your pet on a low protein diet and to make sure he is drinking plenty of water. There is no cure for polycystic kidney disease but dogs can go on to live full lives.
Polycystic Kidney Disease Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
I am a breeder and was just advised by one of my puppy families that their dog was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease. They are not a terrier or bully breed. They are a mix of Alaskan Malamute, German Shepherd, Siberian Husky and a small amount of Samoyed. I kept a female out of the same litter as the one diagnosed to use in my breeding program. I will be having her SDMA levels checked to see if they are high and make sure her Creatine and Bun levels are normal as well. If those all come back normal and her SDMA level is within the normal ranges, would she be able to be bred? or would she be considered a carrier? I read somewhere that a dog could not have the disease but be a carrier and pass it on to the offspring. There is no genetic test for my breed (Native American Village Dog). The only marker right now that we seem to have is the SDMA levels being high, followed by an ultrasound to see if there are any cysts present on the kidneys. This is devastating to me as a breeder as I have many pups out there that could potentially have it, if I find it is on my side of the pedigree and not the father's side. There was no way for me to know about this disease. Even if I had had genetic health testing done, the PKD genetic test available out there is breed specific to the Bull Terrier. Any insight you can give would be great.
Thanks Dr. King. The mother has been spayed already and adopted so I have reached out to her new family to see if they would be willing to have her SDMA levels checked and if they are high do the ultra sound to confirm. They are open but can't do it just yet. I will be having Lilly's blood pulled this week and sent out to see. If her's show up high as well then an ultra sound with follow for her. What's odd is her mother was a hybrid cross (1st generation of NAVD's) which is why it seemed odd and Lilly's father was outside our bloodlines. Lilly's grandmother was also a hybrid cross so I am at a loss. Thank you so much for your time and advise. I am hoping and praying it's not on my side of the pedigree. This disease sucks. Have a blessed day.
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My 1 year old maltese 5.8 lbs was diagnosed with PKD at 5 months. I was told she had up to 5 years. At her check up blood work came back that she is in stage 3 Kidney Failure. She is not expected to live to 2 years. I am not sure what to do at this point, subcutaneous fluids or dranage of cysts are possibilities, but based on the rapid progression these are bandaids and not a long term solution. Specialist is hesitant to drain cysts because of anestesia side effects. I am sure what to do, there is a fine line between wanting to do everything you can and knowing when to let go. I am told she is not in pain but she sleeps constantly and does not eat much. Any advice is welcome.
I put my dog on Dr Harvey's Canine Health blend and add his kidney support to it as well. You can email Dr Harvey with all info including latest blood work. My girl has done a complete turn around!
I do keep her on antacids, phosphorus binders Plus an appetite stimulant and I give her sub-q fluids every other day. I work in conjunction with her regular vet and Dr Harvey.
We also just added acupuncture to her weekly treatments.
If your baby is still hanging on, please do her a favor and Google Dr Harvey pet foods and supplements. A fresh diet is imperative to these processes dog foods!
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i have a 60 lb lab born with polycystic kidney disease if i giver her vitamin d or probiotics
what would b the dosage she is getting iv fluids daily but so far no improvement
Google Dr Harvey's pet foods and supplements! Dr Harvey will work with you on a better diet and overall plan. He's a scientist at Columbia University. With his help my dog IS getting better. Where she was at deaths door 3 weeks ago, her blood work was in normal range last week!
All you have to do is email Dr Harvey- he responds within 24 hours on a plan. He also makes frequent calls thereafter- once he called me 5x in one day!
The question i asked wasnt anwsered, i already know what you told me obviously, it was a careful standard statement not helpful at all
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Hi, my name is Shereen. I live in Cairo, Egypt and I have a male Pekingese around seven years old. He was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease a week ago, and I feel terrified and I don't know what to do. The vet put him on a low protein diet, which consists of dry food, which he refuses to eat. Are there any alternatives, may something I can cook for him? Is this disease treatable? I love him a lot and want him to live a long full life. Please advise me.
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