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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.

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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 suspects 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. They will also check the kidney's urine concentrating ability by analysing the specific gravity (concentration) of the urine.

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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 treat the 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
  • Phosphate binders
  • Appetite stimulants
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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 ulcers. 

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 screening tests are carried out and that breeding from affected canines ceases, as this is a known genetic 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

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Golden Retriever

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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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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2 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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12 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Mouth Ulcers
Hot Spots
Mouth Odor
Depression

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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Renal Dysplasia Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$4,000

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