Why Isn’t My Dog Going Pee!?

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If your dog is not urinating, something is terribly wrong and your dog needs immediate veterinary attention. Anuria, or lack of urination, can occur if your dog's kidneys are not working properly. This is a serious condition that needs addressing a soon as possible. Your dog should produce about 1 ml/kg/hr of urine. If your dog’s kidney is producing less than this amount, they are said to be oliguric, if they are producing no urine at all, the dog is said to have anuria. What does this mean for your dog? Read on.

Producing or Passing?

When your dog's kidney fails to produce urine, anuria has occurred. It is important to differentiate the kidneys’ inability to produce urine from the kidney’s inability to pass urine, due to a blockage or obstruction. If a blockage exists, your dog may not be passing urine but the kidneys are still able to produce it; this is not anuria. Although the symptoms may be similar (failure to pee), pets with a blockage may strain to urinate, while pets with anuria do not. Animals with anuria do not sense a need to urinate, as the bladder is empty since the kidney has failed to produce urine.

What’s Behind Anuria?

Kidney failure resulting in the inability to produce urine can occur as a result of toxicity from medication or toxic substances, trauma to the kidneys, infections such as leptospirosis, Addison's disease, hemorrhage, dehydration, high blood calcium, or heart failure. Symptoms include lack of urination, and signs of severe illness including vomiting, weakness, lethargy, loss of appetite, and shock.

How is Anuria Corrected?

The primary step in caring for a dog with anuria is to get urination production started and then determine the cause of the kidney failure and address it if possible.

Supportive care, such intravenous fluids, may also be administered if dehydration is present. Your veterinarian will need to administer fluids very carefully, as a dog experiencing kidney failure cannot process large amounts of fluids. IV fluids will be accompanied by medication, such as mannitol or dopamine, to stimulate urine production by increasing blood flow to the kidneys. The administration of intravenous medications should start urine production within a few hours.

How Serious is It?

If medication is not effective or a resolution of the primary condition cannot be achieved, pets can be put on dialysis, however, this treatment is not widely available for pets. Euthanasia is usually considered for dogs with anuria that can not be resolved with medication or where the cause of kidney failure can not be addressed.

 

When a dog experiences anuria, a lack of urine production, due to malfunction in the kidneys, a serious and life-threatening condition has occurred. Immediate veterinary care to hydrate the dog and stimulate urine production is required. If the underlying cause can be treated, immediate treatment of the kidney failure needs to be provided as continued failure of the kidneys will result in serious illness and death. Supportive care and medication may resolve anuria, but euthanasia needs to be considered if medication to start urine production is not successful.

Anuria may be prevented by providing your dog plenty of water and keeping them contained or supervised when outside to avoid poisoning, which is a common cause of kidney failure in dogs.