Degenerative diseases

My Dog Has Kidney Failure - Symptoms And Treatment

Ameera Mills
By Ameera Mills. Updated: September 2, 2018
My Dog Has Kidney Failure - Symptoms And Treatment

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Kidney failure or renal insufficiency in dogs refers to a disease that affects one or both kidneys. This condition causes alterations to the function of these organs. Kidney failure can manifest acutely or chronically. This happens when the failure of a dog’s kidneys progressively degenerates.

In this AnimalWised article we will be answering whether your dog has kidney failure, looking at its causes, symptoms, and appropriate treatment. It is important to mention that

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  1. Kidney disease in dogs
  2. Symptoms of kidney failure in dogs
  3. Treatment of kidney failure in dogs
  4. Can a dog recover from kidney failure?
  5. What is the life expectancy of a dog with kidney failure?

Kidney disease in dogs

Kidneys are responsible for filtering the blood and, thus, eliminate waste substances through the urine. When there is a failure in this system, which can happen for multiple reasons, the body will try to compensate for this. Therefore symptoms sometimes cannot be observed until the damage is already very advanced. Kidney disease in dogs can manifest acutely or chronically. The most common symptoms are polydipsia (increase in water intake) and polyuria (increased urination). The difference between the two cases is that if a dog is suffering from acute kidney failure the symptoms will manifest suddenly, causing a serious clinical problem. In a chronic case, symptoms are maintained for months and the kidneys slowly deteriorate until they cannot function anymore. This dysfunction will affect an animals’s entire organism and can end up being fatal.

Renal failure is more common in dogs older than 10 years old. A clear symptom of renal insufficiency in older dogs is that they begins to urinate everywhere. This incontinence highlights an increase in the elimination of urine as the kidney is not functioning properly. Kidney disease in older dogs is a consequence of age. Sometimes, heart problems can affect the kidneys. It is important that dogs, from about 7 years old, go to their veterinarian at least once a year for a complete check up as this disease can be detected early.

If kidney disease occurs in younger dogs it is normally as a result of another pathology. For example, kidney failure can occur in dogs suffering from leishmania. This happens because this occurs parasitic disease injures the kidneys. There are also other possible causes for renal insufficiency in younger dogs, these include; leptospirosis, poisoning, urinary obstruction or heat stroke. Other times, renal insufficiency can occur as a side effect of some drugs. In these cases, the primary cause of the damage must be looked at.

Symptoms of kidney failure in dogs

Renal failure in dogs usually manifests with the appearance of these following symptoms:

  • Polyuria: As we have said, our dog urinating more is one of the most common symptoms of kidney disease, but it can also be the case that the dog stops urinating completely (anuria).
  • Poldipsia: to compensate for the elimination of fluids, the dog drinks more water.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea, sometimes even with hemorrhage.
  • Blindness.
  • Dehydration.
  • Thinning and, in general, poor appearance, poor body condition and muscle weakness.
  • Anorexia.
  • Ulcers in the oral cavity and/or bad smell.
  • There may also be ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdomen) and edema (fluid in the extremities).
  • State of shock and, in the last stages, coma.

In short, all these of these symptoms are produced as effects of the malfunctioning of the renal system, and its consequence on the rest of the body. If you notice any of these signs we recommend going to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Kidney disease in dogs can be diagnosed with urine and/or blood tests. In the former, the value of the density of the urine is important, because a sick animal will not concentrate it. In a blood test, there are parameters that allow for the knowledge of renal functioning, taking into account the creatinine and urea in the urine. This test also establishes whether a dog is suffering from anemia, covering important parameters such as elevated levels of phosphorus or albumin. This test also measure SDMA, which is used as a bio-marker to help a diagnosis. Early diagnosis is essential when establishing treatment. In addition, blood pressure tests and abdominal ultrasounds can also be done to help a diagnosis.

Treatment of kidney failure in dogs

In cases of acute renal failure in dogs , intensive veterinary treatment is essential. This will also include admission and fluid therapy, in addition to drugs that stabilize the animal and control the symptoms.

In chronic cases, the treatment of kidney disease in dogs commonly includes the following points:

  • Diet: in the market we can find feed and cans specially formulated for the care of the renal system. It is important that a dog’s food ¡is nutritious and has a high quality of proteins. In addition, feeding your dog wet food can increase its water intake, necessary for these animals. If you prefer to feed your dog a natural diet, make sure that you consult a veterinarian to ensure that this diet is suitable to their condition.
  • Hydration: make sure that your dog drinks properly. A veterinarian can assess the need to administer serum, either orally, subcutaneously or intravenously. In favor of a dog’s comfortability, we suggest giving the dog more opportunities to urinate.
  • Drugs to control symptoms: these can be used to treat the symptoms secondary to the disease, for example, drugs administered to control vomiting.
  • Drugs for maintenance: are those that are prescribed to promote the quality of life of the animal. Some of these drugs show scientific evidence that proves that they are effective in prolonging the life of sick dogs, such as ACE Inhibitors.
  • Veterinary follow-up: it is convenient to repeat these tests two or more times a year, depending on the evolution of the disease. In addition, intensive veterinary control allows you to treat the symptoms that arise as soon as they appear, which will result in a better quality of life for your animal.
My Dog Has Kidney Failure - Symptoms And Treatment - Treatment of kidney failure in dogs

Can a dog recover from kidney failure?

Kidney failure in dogs can cause damage to one or both kidneys. In acute cases the dog can be cured, although it is possible that non-recoverable injuries occur. Chronic cases are incurable and progressive, therefore, prescribed treatment will only be able to control symptoms and try maintain the quality of life of the dog for as long as possible. This depends on each dog and the individual case.

What is the life expectancy of a dog with kidney failure?

Veterinarians classify renal failure in dogs in several stages depending on their severity. The milder the phase the longer life expectancy will be. Early intervention favors an increase in life expectancy. This classification distinguishes four stages, I being the lightest and IV the most serious. In the last two phases, symptoms will appear that will complicate the case even more and, therefore, worsen the prognosis. In these cases life expectancy of a dog with renal failure will only be a few months. Thus, when deciding which treatment to use, one must take into account not only the quantity of life, but, and preferably, its quality.

My Dog Has Kidney Failure - Symptoms And Treatment - What is the life expectancy of a dog with kidney failure?

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to My Dog Has Kidney Failure - Symptoms And Treatment, we recommend you visit our Degenerative diseases category.

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My dog has been sick for the past 5 days. My dog was okay without any prior sign. It was very okay and ate well the night before but in the morning I noticed it refused to eat, and later it started vomiting. The vet Dr gave it some medicction, yet it didn't stop and the situation got worst the following day. It was now vomiting more and more. Then the Dr placed it on IV some of which contains antibiotics. The dog was feeling better when it slept and woke up the 3rd day. This time it was walking around but at about 1pm it became very weak and down again. The doctor gave it another IV. then at about 11pm the 3rd day it the dog bled from behind (anus I think). It was bright reddish like a strawberry jam, the was so much that at first I thought the dog is dead. But I realised it was only bleeding and very weak. The dog is now with the vet receiving treatment.
What do you think is the cause and the solution.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi David,

It sounds like your vet is undergoing a tricky process of achieving the right diagnosis for dog and we are very glad they are in the right hands at the moment. Not only can we not offer any sort of accurate diagnosis since we don't have the information to do so, any attempt to try would be irresponsible. We hope the vet is able to provide the right treatment and good luck with their recovery.
Can dogs with kidney disease have cinnamon?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Lisa
Generally, cinnamon is non-toxic for dogs. However, excessive consumption of cinnamon for dogs suffering from kidney problems can result in a total kidney breakdown. Therefore, if your dog is suffering from kidney disease we would suggest avoiding cinnamon altogether. For more on feeding a dog with kidney disease, take a look at our article:
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My Dog Has Kidney Failure - Symptoms And Treatment