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What is Renal Dysplasia?

This condition can affect the canine unilaterally or bilaterally, for animals affected bilaterally the prognosis is often grave, with death occurring soon after birth. For dog’s who have been affected unilaterally the prognosis is also poor, with treatment aimed at managing the subsequent renal failure and providing the best quality of life as possible.

Renal dysplasia is a defect that has been reported in many breeds including the Chow Chow and Malamute. This condition develops in the womb during renal development. In the normal development of the kidneys, ureter muscles grow from the kidneys and branch out to form a network of urine collecting tubules. In a fetus affected with this condition the tubules fail to branch out, instead causing urine build up and cysts to form. These cysts eventually replace the kidney.

Renal Dysplasia Average Cost

From 369 quotes ranging from $500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$4,000

Symptoms of Renal Dysplasia in Dogs

Signs of this disease may include failure to thrive from birth, polyuria and polydipsia and other symptoms seen in chronic kidney disease including:

  • Constipation
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Bad breath

If your dog is presenting with uremic crisis (the dangerous buildup of toxins in the blood stream due to inadequate toxin removal from the bloodstream by the kidney) symptoms may include: 

  • Weakness and collapse
  • Muscle tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting of dried blood
  • Neurological signs
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Causes of Renal Dysplasia in Dogs

Renal dysplasia in dogs is considered a familial disease in certain breeds. This condition is caused by a defect in utero during the development of the kidneys, leading to immature glomeruli, primitive tubules and lesions caused by cysts. 

The onset of this disease can be in the neonate or young puppy from between 6 months and 2 years of age. 

There appears to be a strong breed predisposition in the following breeds:

  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Beagle
  • Boxer
  • Chow Chow
  • Great Dane
  • Bulldog
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Samoyed
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Diagnosis of Renal Dysplasia in Dogs

Your veterinarian will perform a full clinical examination of your pet. Signs such as a small body size for age, rubber jaw, failure to thrive, or a history of kidney failure in your dog’s family may suggest this condition. 

If your veterinarian suggests this condition she may perform radiographs of the abdomen. In cases of renal dysplasia, small or irregular kidney shapes may be seen as well as a poorly mineralized skeleton, pathological fractures due to renal osteodystrophy, and the appearance of floating teeth in the skull.

Your veterinarian may take a blood sample to perform a biochemistry panel which will show increased urea and creatinine due to the body’s reduced ability to remove these toxins from the blood stream.

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Treatment of Renal Dysplasia in Dogs

Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease, however the treatment is very similar to that of chronic kidney failure and aimed at managing the disease and providing the best life quality for your pet. 

If your dog is experiencing uremic shock, intravenous fluid therapy may be given to reduce shock and correct dehydration.

Other treatments that may be given are: 

  • Anti-emetics if your pet is vomiting
  • Subcutaneous fluid therapy for chronic maintenance 
  • Potassium supplementation 
  • Oral bicarbonate may be considered to address metabolic acidosis 
  • Treatment to manage hypertension
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Recovery of Renal Dysplasia in Dogs

Unfortunately, the prognosis for this condition is not good, with deterioration expected within months of diagnosis. A phosphate restricted diet may be recommended for your pet. Specific kidney diets have shown to maintain or improve nutrition, delay the onset of uremia, slow progression or development of other complications, and extend expected life time. 

These renal diets should contain:

  • Carefully balanced levels of phosphate, as this mineral is metabolized by the kidneys
  • Reduced levels of salt as studies have shown the reduction of salt intake to slow the rate of progression of the disease 
  • Low quantities of high quality protein, protein breakdown leads to toxic waste products in the blood stream that require processing by the kidneys for excretion through the urine

Providing a diet that contains low levels of high quality protein means a reduced amount of waste for the kidneys to process while the pet’s energy requirements are met. Your pet will require regular examinations to monitor for signs of uremia such as ulcerations. 

As this disease is degenerative, life quality assessment is a major aspect of care, and it may be recommended as the disease progresses to euthanize your pet to relieve suffering. In cases where the birth parents and littermates are known, it is recommended that breeding from these canines ceases, as this is a known congenital disease.

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Renal Dysplasia Average Cost

From 369 quotes ranging from $500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$4,000

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Renal Dysplasia Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Golden Retriever

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Excessive Thirst

Our dog has a seizure due to water toxicity and becoming hyponatremic and there was an accidental finding of renal dysplasia. She is 1 years old and very happy pup! The ER said her creatinine was 5 and over 48hr of IV therapy it only went down to 4.1. She is still in the icu after three days. We are heart broken and told we only have 3 months left with her. What can we expect at home when she comes home? Is there any interventions we can do or is too late? Has anyone ever had this problem with their pup and was able to live longer than the expected? Any advice helps greatly!! Thank you!

July 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I am sorry that is happening to your dog, that is very sad. Unfortunately, without knowing more details about your dogs situation, it is very difficult for me to comment on prognosis or Outlook. Since the veterinarian taking care of your dog is familiar with her case, they would be the best person to ask this question of, as they can offer advice as to things that you can do at home, different foods that may help, or what to expect. I hope that you have more time with her.

July 27, 2020

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Ranna

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Greyhound Mix

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2 Years

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Critical severity

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1 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Depression
Mouth Odor
Hot Spots
Mouth Ulcers

My dog Ranna is in end stage renal dysplasia. When I adopted her two years ago when she was 4 months old she had issues with a leaky bladder. We took her to the vet to have some blood work done to see if maybe she had an infection from her spay procedure. We were told she had bilateral renal dysplasia and that we shouldn't expect her to live past her 1st birthday. She is now 2 1/2 and her life is slowly coming to an end. Currently, she is experiencing mouth ulcers and mild depression. When we go out to do something new she perks up and acts like her old self, but when we get home she collapses in our laps and stares at us with sad eyes. We are trying to figure out the right time to say goodbye. It's hard to decide because she does have some life left in her and she's still a puppy, but when we're home she's not the same dog. She also has fits of diarrhea and vomiting, but most times she is able to keep her food down and has solid bowel movements.

Aug. 31, 2018

Ranna's Owner

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Peanut

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Bullmastiff

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9 Months

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic, Off Her Feed.

I have a nine month old puppy diagnosed with bilateral renal dysplasia. We are dealing with it. What do I do about the rest of the litter and the parents? Is there a test for this? Dam is 2.5, sire is 4. At the moment both parents and the rest of the litter appear healthy? Don't want to frighten all the other puppy owners. What do I do?? What should I expect?

May 6, 2018

Peanut's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

There is a genetic test for renal dysplasia, though I am unsure as to the validity of the test at this time. Your veterinarian would be able to give you more information on it - it would be a good idea to see if the rest of the litter is affected.

May 6, 2018

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Luna

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Boxer

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1 Year

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Bone Pain

My 1 year old white boxer Luna, was diagnosed with renal dysplasia about a couple weeks ago. We’ve put her on pain meds and other medication to lower her protein levels along with other levels. She was doing a lot better since we switched her diet and got her on the pain meds. But, now in the past couple days she seems to have declined. She doesn’t seem interested in her dry dog food (even when mixed with wet food), she’s been shivering like a leaf, and now constantly swallowing, along with drooling. But it looks like she’s having a hard time swallowing and trying to throw up. Tonight she managed to cough up white mucus about 4 times and then puked up a good amount of food with saliva and white mucus. Is there anything I can do or any medication to help with throwing up and the shivering?? She looks extremely uncomfortable.

May 6, 2018

Luna's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

There is a medication which may help, but it isn’t available over the counter and you would need to see or call your Veterinarian to explain the change in Luna’s symptoms for them to consider whether or not to prescribe. You should let Luna rest for the time being and just give her water, reintroduce food (possibly some boiled rice) after a few hours. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 6, 2018

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ocean

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Goldendoodle

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy

hi our dog was diagnosed with bilateral renal dysplasia. She is 2yrs old without any symptoms other than her lab values. Since changing her diet her creatinin level went from 2.3 to 2. Her BUN went back to normal levels and we will continue to monitor her lab work with routine checks. What other lab value should I be looking out for when assessing if her condition is getting worse? Specific gravity was also on the low side. Can dogs live a full life with this condition? pLease help

Feb. 23, 2018

ocean's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Due to the progressive nature of the condition, it is a case of keeping and managing the symptoms and the diet as best as possible; eventually the level of kidney degeneration will result in the worsening of symptoms and consideration of euthanasia. Two two important values to look out for are BUN and creatinine, which are the best indicator of renal health. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Feb. 23, 2018

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Biggie

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cockapoo

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3 Months

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic
Excessive Drinking

Hi all, would be grateful for some guidance. Biggie is a 3 month old Cockapoo who seemed normal apart from excessive drinking of water and he was struggling to be house trained (mind you he is a puppy so this seemed normal at the time). He has been diagnosed with Congenital Kidney Disease via ultrasound after an initial blood test. Any advice on anything I can do to prolong his life i.e diet etc etc would be appreciated? What has worked well for other? This really is the cruelest disease, I am heartbroken.

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Ruby

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Appenzeller Sennenhund (Mountain Dog)

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5 Months

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Incontinence

Our Appenzeller puppy has been diagnosed (via Ultrasound) with bilateral renal dysplasia and ectopic ureters at 18 weeks old. The breeder has been notified - (I am not sure if this makes a difference, but our puppy was the runt of the litter, and the dam was bred accidentally in her first heat.) We noticed that our puppy had excessive thirst and we had a lot of trouble housebreaking her; she often would trickle pee when distracted and not only when greeting people or excited. At other times, she could pee normally. She's a delightful fun puppy - she loves hikes and plays football in the garden with our kids. She is so loving! Her urine and blood levels for now are slightly elevated for BUN and phosphorous - creatinine is fine. But she has had frequent urinary tract infections requiring antibiotics. We went to a specialist clinic that wanted to do a CT scan and possibly operate on the ureters to see if that improved her kidneys. However we are completely alarmed t the expense involved: $2,100 for the CT scan? thousands for the surgery? We had been planning to spay her and correct an umbilical hernia but now are faced with such high medical bills for her; even this morning's urine culture and med cost $280. What level of care seems optimal for this situation? I don't think we have a good guarantee that surgery will correct the ureters and thus I hesitate to do more than another ultrasound with Doppler and then just keep an eye out for infections and treat them as they occur. It's so heartbreaking not to know what is best in this situation and to be faced with such astronomical costs. I also wish I had a better sense on prognosis and life-expectancy and also whether or not to still spay her and correct the hernia regardless of whether we elect to do further surgery. Any thoughts or insights?

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Rosie

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Golden Retriever

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12 Months

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Urine Spotting

We have a darling golden retriever who has been with us for a year. When we first got her as a puppy she had frequent urination moments where we would wake up and she peed in the bed, but there would be minimum smell. I took her to the vet and they would treat her as if she had a urinary tract infection. Then when it was time to get her spayed - we found out she only has one kidney and that kidney was not formed correctly. Honestly if it was not for the peeing (which has resolved itself) we would never have known something was up with Rosie. Now my question - she has boundless energy. Her three year old golden sister gets chewed on and wrestled with all of the time. Rosie never stops going and running. I like to take them for walks together in the evening, just to try and tire Rosie out. However I am worried that my long walks (about 1-2 miles) may be too much for Rosie and her Dysplasia. I cannot find any information on what to do with her activity-wise. We need to run her batteries down! I just do not want to hurt her (and trust me, when we get home she is still running around).

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Avalon

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Golden Retriever

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1 Year

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Fair severity

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Bad Breath
More Water Intake

I have a 1year old English creme golden retriever. She has been diagnosed with renal dysplasia. She started having terrible breath at 6 month and bad plaque build up. I didn’t test her until about 1 month and 2 weeks ago. She had E. Coli bacteria so we cleared her of that. All of her bloodwork ex: BUN was 98 Creatine was high and other. We sent off an SDMA and more bloodwork. Conclusion was renal dysplasia. She does drink a lot, bad teeth/breath, but no others at all. She’s on renal diet now and we retest values in 2 weeks again. This is hereditary. The breeder is already aware and plans to test the parents. I’m wondering about life expectancy?

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Piggie

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Boston Terrier

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3 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Lethargy
Mouth Odor

We have had Piggie since he was a puppy, and ever since then he has always drunk a lot of water, so we didn’t really consider this abnormal. Occasionally he would go off his food but eventually would go back on it. He has has surgery for luxating patella on both legs. More recently he had been refusing his food for a while or throwing it up. When we took him to the vets and had bloods done, they told us that he had stage 2 kidney failure. He was then hospitalised and put on fluids for a week, when the vets looked into it more, they discovered that his kidneys weren’t formed properly and were only 4cm instead of the normal 6cm. After this we were referred to the royal veterinary college where they examined him and determined (a week after our vets) that he now has stage 4 kidney failure, has a few weeks left to live and that there was nothing that would help him. He still has an appetite but has lost a lot of weight and can only eat tiny bits of food that are hand fed. Sometimes after eating he will bring some of the food back up but it is only ever a tiny bit. When with our other dogs he is still relatively active and does still barks if someone comes to the door, and in general he seems fairly happy and sometimes lively. I am heartbroken that this is happening as he means the world to me. Any help or advice would be appreciated.

Renal Dysplasia Average Cost

From 369 quotes ranging from $500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$4,000

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