Nephrectomy in Dogs

Nephrectomy in Dogs - Conditions Treated, Procedure, Efficacy, Recovery, Cost, Considerations, Prevention

Most common conditions

Kidney Disease / Cancer / Ureter Obstruction

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Rated as serious conditon

12 Veterinary Answers

Most common conditions

Kidney Disease / Cancer / Ureter Obstruction

Nephrectomy in Dogs - Conditions Treated, Procedure, Efficacy, Recovery, Cost, Considerations, Prevention

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What is Nephrectomy?

Nephrectomy, surgical removal of the kidney and its associated ureter, is a surgical procedure used to treat irreversible conditions of the kidney and ureter. It is a relatively rare procedure in dogs, as common as the conditions it is used to treat. Conditions treated by nephrectomy include trauma to the kidney and/or ureter, cancer, ureteral abnormalities, and persistent infection. Depending on the condition, nephrectomy can be a primary intervention in cases such as kidney cancer that has not metastasized or a measure for more advanced diseases such as persistent kidney infection. Your veterinarian will diagnose the condition that needs to be treated and then either perform the procedure or refer your dog to a boarded veterinary surgeon.

Nephrectomy Procedure in Dogs

Prior to the procedure, there are several steps that should be taken. The health of the kidney that is not being removed should be assessed using glomerular filtration rate (GFR) if possible. If cancer is suspected, a full staging should be provided to determine the extent the cancer has spread throughout the body. Any hydration or electrolyte abnormalities should be corrected prior to the procedure as well.

Depending on the condition being treated, this procedure will be done immediately in cases such as acute trauma or after several different hospital visits as in the case of a cancer diagnosis that requires staging.

General anesthesia is needed for this procedure as it is an invasive surgery. Most anesthesia protocols are safe for this procedure although care should be taken to select anesthetic drugs that are minimally toxic to the kidneys.

For the procedure, the dog is placed on its back under general anesthesia. An incision is made on the abdomen from just under the sternum to the pubic bone. The kidney is visualized after the rest of the abdomen is explored for any abnormalities. The kidney is removed from its parenchyma (a thin tissue that separates the kidney from the rest of the abdomen) and the renal artery and vein identified. The renal artery and vein are each tied off and cut and then the ureter associated with the kidney is tied off and cut. The kidney and ureter are then removed. After checking for signs of bleeding, the patient is closed and recovery can begin.

Efficacy of Nephrectomy in Dogs

Nephrectomy is an effective treatment in the goal of alleviating irreversible kidney and ureter conditions in dogs. The effects of nephrectomy are permanent and irreversible. Other treatments that may be used instead of nephrectomy include partial nephrectomy and ureteroneocystostomy (implantation of a resected ureter into the bladder). Partial nephrectomy may spare some kidney function so that the other kidney does not have the strain of providing all the renal function for the animal. Unfortunately, partial nephrectomy increases the risk of persistent bleeding after surgery and it is often more risky than removing the entire kidney. Ureteroneocystostomy may be indicated for trauma to the ureter; however, this procedure does not have as good of patient outcome as nephrectomy.

Nephrectomy Recovery in Dogs

After surgery, your dog will be placed on pain medication to alleviate any immediate postoperative pain and kept on a pain medication for the first few days after surgery. The skin incision should heal 14 days after the procedure, after which time a visit to the vet for suture removal is needed. During the time between the operation and suture removal it is important to monitor the incision site for any signs of infection such as swelling, redness and discharge. For all nephrectomy patients, it will be important for kidney function and signs of postoperative complications to be evaluated. The most common postoperative complications of nephrectomy are bleeding and urine leaking into the abdomen. These complications can be caught through physical exam and bloodwork.

If cancer was the reason for the nephrectomy, follow-up appointments will include recommended chemotherapy and continued monitoring for the spread of disease including imaging of the chest and abdomen using ultrasound and x-ray.

Cannanine

Cost of Nephrectomy in Dogs

The cost of nephrectomy can range from $900-$1,500. The cost of the procedure and related treatment varies, depending on the clinic and severity/complexity of the condition being treated. Requirements for medication, hospitalization, preoperative testing, postoperative monitoring, and other services may influence the cost of treatment.

Dog Nephrectomy Considerations

Nephrectomy can alleviate symptoms associated with damage to the kidney and ureter and extend survival time when used to remove a cancerous kidney. The main risks associated with nephrectomy are bleeding and leakage of urine into the abdomen. Long term, it is important to ensure that the remaining kidney stay healthy for as long as possible.

Nephrectomy Prevention in Dogs

Prevention of conditions such as cancer and trauma that may lead to nephrectomy is difficult. Most often, it is best to ensure that the kidneys are as healthy as possible so that the remaining kidney is functioning well and your pet is a good candidate for nephrectomy. Steps to take to ensure your pet’s kidneys stay healthy are:

  • Providing ample water: Hydration is key to preventing kidney disease
  • Balanced diet: A special urinary diet is not needed

For pets that have persistent kidney stones that may lead to infection and eventual nephrectomy, there are additional steps that can be taken.

  • Kidney stone diet
  • Medical management
  • Monitoring your pet for signs of urinary tract infection such as straining to urinate, blood in urine, and accidents in the house

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Nephrectomy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Momo

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Maltipoo

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10 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Vomiting
Nauseous

Hi, I have a maltipoo that is recently diagnosed with kidney problem. The local vet suggested us to switch her diet to low protein diet; but recently she is weak and vomits whenever she eats. May I know if there is other alternatives that we can try or should we put her to rest since she suffers so much?

June 22, 2018

Momo's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Any treatment or management depends on the primary cause for the kidney problem as there are many different diseases and conditions which may affect kidney function, sometimes treating the underlying issue resolves the kidney issue. You should obviously ensure that diet is appropriate, but any management or treatment would depend on the specific cause and severity of the kidney problem. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 22, 2018

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Pippa

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mongrel

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10 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Recurring Uti
Kidney Damage

During an ultrasound check on her urinary tract, the doctor discovered that my 10-year old mongrel has an enlarged left kidney that is no longer is holding its form. There was no sign of stones or any obstruction that can cause a urine backflow, no mass no tumour. She has been having UTI for about 4.5 months, that was the reason I did an ultrasound. She could not diagnose it and suggested a second ultrasound or even a CT scan, and even suggested it's congenital. I took her ultrasound report and went to another vet, who said that the bacteria from the urinary tract could have travelled to the kidney and caused the damaged kidney. Her bloodwork showed the other kidney is doing well and she looks fine and is eating fine. However he suggested removing the left kidney. Is this a bit drastic? Just to give you an idea, her right kidney measures 6.5x3.2 Her left kidney is 6.8x3.4 She is a 23kg dog. This brings to mind an incident, about 5 years ago, when she stole my dark chocolate truffles. I came home to an empty box on the balcony, and she had eaten 8 dark chocolate truffles, each one about 4 cm in diameter. I observed her carefully but she showed no signs of trauma, and despite my panic, she behaved normally, and aside from an extra large poop came out of the incident unharmed. I did not visit the vet, but could that have been the cause of the kidney damage?

June 3, 2018

Pippa's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

It isn’t just the size of the kidney, it is also the structure; whilst the kidney function tests may be normal, you need to remember that an animal only requires 25% of the total kidney capacity to function normally so one full kidney and half of the other kidney can be damaged (in theory) and the kidney function test would still (in theory) be normal. I would forward the ultrasound and case report to PetRays to have a board certified Specialist give a second opinion if you’re having doubts; but from what you’ve explained it would be best to have the kidney removed. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 3, 2018

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Doc

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Dachshund

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13 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine. Very Large Kidney.

I have a 13 year old male dachshund . He had blood work done and ex-rays. He has blood in his urine. He has one very enlarged kidney. The other kidney seems to be fine. The vet has suggested nephrectomy. He doesn't know if the enlarged kidney is cancerous or not. The other options was to do a biopsy to see if it is cancerous. My question is at his age ( i know dachshunds can live up to 18 years). With this surgery benefit him .

May 3, 2018

Doc's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Without knowing more about the degree of enlargement of the kidney and the results of his lab work, I have a hard time commenting on whether Doc will benefit from the surgery. One thing that may help give more information would be an ultrasound of his kidneys to determine the possible cause of the enlargement. If your veterinarian is not able to do the ultrasound, they may be able to refer you to a specialist who can perform the evaluation. That is one option that you may want to talk to your veterinarian about, as they know more about Doc and the specifics of his situation. I hope that he does well.

May 4, 2018

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Misty

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Boxer

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11 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Bloating
Kidney
Spleen

My 11 year old female Boxer was diagnosed with a tumor on the right kidney along with a few modules in the spleen parenchyma. My vet suggests to proceed with nephrectomy and a splenectomy soon. Is this safe considering her age? Otherwise she is quite active and eating well.

April 29, 2018

Misty's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Whilst eleven is old, it isn’t too old and with good management including pre anaesthetic blood tests, thorough physical examination and good perioperative management the surgery should go well; I will note that each case is different and it is your Veterinarian’s discretion whether to go forward with surgery or not. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 29, 2018

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leroy

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Beagle

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17 Years

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Critical severity

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1 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Nausea

I have a 36 lb, 17inch tall (yes large) purebred former lab animal, male Beagle (canine) age estimated at 16 to 18 years. Healthy except for a 3cm x 5cm spindle cell sarcoma on the right kidney. The dog has always tolerated anesthesia well for dental cleaing, is very mobile and appears youthful. A very well respected pet surgical center has recommended nephrectomy. They have advised that while there is always the chance for complications, that they expect that he should have a good prognosis (6mon - year) with chance of localized recurrence. Liver is clear, thoracic is clear. However, the vet that I've used, considers that this would be an unwise procedure

March 13, 2018

leroy's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. This is a decision that only you can make. Leroy is, sadly, ending the scope of his natural life, although one cannot know when that will occur. That is an intensive surgery, for possibly slightly more time that he may have otherwise. It would be a good idea to discuss the risks and benefits with your veterinarian, as they have Leroy's best interests at heart, as well.

March 13, 2018

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Bella

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chipoo

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Large Mass

My 8 year old Chipoo Bella just had her right kidney removed and some of her small intestines.The specialist found a melon size mass in her abdomen. My question is can she go on to live a normal long life with one healthy kindney? Or is she more suseptable to kidney failure now? Also, they did not mention any different diet, or exercise after she recovers. Should she be on a specific diet plan and still run and play like normal?

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Abigail

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Portuguese Water Dog

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7 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine
Blood In Urine, Lethargic

Abigail went for a splenectomy yesterday because of an internal bleed, but the surgery revealed a softball sized tumour on her right kidney, which would require a specialist for removal. They also saw a half inch lesion on her liver. Everything else, including the other kidney looked normal. They have given her just a few weeks to live and recommend against a nephrectomy due to the size of the tumour, cost to perform the surgery and low probability she would survive the surgery, much less see a significant improvement in prognosis. Her regular vet, who was not available when our emergency happened, says she is healthy enough for the surgery and has recommended we pursue it. Should we roll the dice or allow her to slip away?

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Ty

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Doberman Pinscher

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3 Years

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Kidney Disease

Hi my name is Jillian. I have a 3 year old happy goofy Doberman pincher names Ty. Recently he has had some blood in his urine so I brought him to the vet and they suggested first to do a ultra sound to see if he had a bladder infection, kidney stones or needed to be neutered etc. The vet then comes back with the worst news I didn’t expect, he has kidney disease and is having a problem with his prostate and needs to be neutered. Long story short, after 1,000 worth of testing we find out he is operating on 25% of his kidney and his other one is starting to have some changes. They also said at this time they do not feel he should under go surgery to have him neutered. They suggested I change his food to Prescription kidney food, which I did change already and he has been eating it. At this point I just don’t know what’s next? The vet has no other answers besides a kidney transplant and that’s 20,000! I’m just heart broken my baby Ty is only 3! He is still playful at times but he sleeps a lot more now and is def tired. I don’t know what to do I’m just confused I feel so lost over this all :(

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charlie

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Jack Russell Terrier

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5 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Surgery
Trauma
Urethra

I have a question!!! My do suffered trauma to the urethra sadly. He underwent surgery today, they stitched up the hole. My understanding is because the surgery is so difficult and rare, his body might not heal. If this is the case, my doctor said see a specialist. Is a nephrectomy the next step if he is able? Just looking for a ballpark so I can weigh my options. He is a very healthy 5 year old jack. Thank you!

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Sally

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Poodle

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12 Years

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Teeth Chattering
Minimal Movement
Stumbling
Bloated
Decreased Appetite
Vomiting
Walking In Circles

My dog Sally is an 12 year old miniature poodle who has a 7 cm mass on her left kidney and a mass on her spleen. The vet said he can remove both the kidney and spleen but is worth it to put her through that? As if that wasn't enough to deal with, she is having some neurological issues such as walking in circles and stumbling when walking. She was fine and two days later she was throwing up and immobile so we took her to the vet and this is what they found. They said they could MRI her brain to see what is going on. As of today, they put her on steroids and drained the kidney mass. What is the best course of action for her? The last thing I want for her is to be in pain.

Cannanine