Kidney diseases in dogs could be an acute or chronic condition with differences in the progression of the disease. An average of 10% of dogs is affected by kidney disease. It is important for every dog owner to know how to recognise the early telltale signs of kidney complications in dogs. A kidney is a life-sustaining organ that is incapable of regenerating on its own when damaged.
There are four main roles of kidneys in your dog’s body:
- It helps blood filtration.
- It helps in the process of excretion of waste substances into the urine.
- It conserves a balance of body water, acids, and salt.
- It aids the reabsorption of red blood cells production.
In general, kidneys help in the removal of waste products in the body as well as the regulation of the fluids in the body. Once there are complications that compromise the functions of the kidneys, it leads to a life-threatening condition. Unfortunately, signs and symptoms become apparent only when the organs function for an average of 33% to 25% within their capability. Is kidney failure in dogs painful? Can a dog recover from kidney failure?
Kidney diseases in dogs
Kidney diseases in dogs are also referred to as renal. Lesions found in the kidneys are recognised as renal disease. On the other hand, if the progression of the disease results in a reduction of the kidney’s function, this is called renal failure. Renal failure usually occurs when about three-quarters of the nephrons from both kidneys are impaired.
Two classifications of kidney diseases in dogs
An acute condition of kidney disease can occur through kidney stones or cancer. It is a sudden occurrence, which usually results in severe damage. There are some cases where acute renal failure develops as a chronic form over the years.
Chronic renal disease is the most common kidney complication in dogs. It occurs when there are abnormalities seen in the functions or structures of one or both kidneys. The damage is gradual but an irreversible lifetime condition.
Clinical signs and symptoms
Kidney diseases may often end up in a quick deterioration, gradual progress, or a full recovery. It all depends on the severity of the case. Early intervention also helps with the case. What are the signs of kidney failure in dogs?
- An increased or excessive drinking
- An increased or excessive urination
- Bad breath
- Loss of appetite
- Pale gums and other mucous membranes
- Weight loss
- Vision impairment
How do kidney diseases affect your dog?
The manifesting signs and symptoms of kidney illnesses on your pooch also depend on the failure or damage of the kidney.
- Damage to the kidney filters (glomerular disease) – There will be no apparent signs on its early stages. But since glomerular disease may be caused by infections or cancer, amongst others, the condition can get worse over time. Progressive inflammation in the glomerulus (kidney filter) damages the kidney tissues, resulting in chronic kidney disease.
- Infection of kidney tissues (pyelonephritis) – It occurs as an infection of the kidney tissues due to the presence of bacteria. This is one of the few that can be treated successfully with an appropriate antibiotic.
- Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis) – Genetic predisposition or chronic bacterial infections affecting blood or urine results to kidney stones. It causes pain to dogs when the condition progresses to a partial or complete blockage to the kidney. This means urine cannot easily exit, which results in swelling.
- Cancer – Although not as prevalent as other diseases, kidney cancer is a devastating condition with limited treatments. Surgical intervention can be a viable option when the cancer is benign or is not widespread. A biopsy procedure may be required for a complete and accurate diagnosis for this case.
- Hereditary – Many pedigree breeds are predisposed to develop kidney failures. Some do not have normal kidneys when they mature, and some are born with abnormal kidneys. These dog breeds include English cocker spaniels, German shepherds, and others.
Treating kidney failures in canines
Treatments will be provided depending on the severity of the case. Seek advice from your veterinarian for a thorough discussion and appropriate treatment for your pooch. It usually takes lots of testing, such as physical examination, complete blood count (CBC), diagnostic imaging, infectious disease testing, and others, for a proper diagnosis. Treatment may involve the following:
A recommended diet
The ideal diet for affected dogs should be:
- Low but high-quality protein
- Lower intake of phosphorus
- Considerate amounts of potassium, magnesium, salt, and vitamin B
- High amounts of omega-3 fatty acids
No changes should be done in your canine’s diet without the advice from your vet.
Kidney diseases in dogs may affect different organs. As such, there are different medications addressing different stages or damages of the condition. All medications should be provided under your vet’s prescription.
For worst case scenarios, a vet may initiate kidney dialysis to aid or prolong a canine’s life. Dialysis is performed with a machine that takes in the dog’s blood to cleanse it before pumping it back into the body. This type of treatment is very costly and limited to expert centres.
Dog kidney failure life expectancy
The prognosis of kidney failure in dogs depends on the dog’s response to the treatment and the follow-up care given. These are necessary measures for your furry companion’s longer life.