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Renal Failure in Dogs

Renal failure in dogs is a serious condition requiring immediate veterinary care. In today's post, our Knightdale vets explain the types of renal failure seen in dogs as well as the most common symptoms of renal disease and how it is treated. 

Renal Disease in Dogs

In addition to controlling hydration, preserving a normal electrolyte balance, and releasing hormones to produce red blood cells, healthy kidneys work to remove toxins from your dog's body. If your dog has renal failure, their kidneys are no longer working as they should, and their general health will start to deteriorate quickly.

Types of Renal Failure Seen in Dogs

There are two broad categories of renal failure seen in Knightdale dogs:

Chronic Renal Failure

  • Chronic renal failure is the gradual loss of kidney function over weeks, months, or years. Degeneration brought on by aging is frequently the cause of chronic kidney failure in dogs. While every dog has kidneys, some dogs' kidneys deteriorate more quickly than others. While a full recovery from chronic renal failure in your pet is unlikely, the condition is frequently successfully treated for a few months or years.

Acute Renal Failure

  • Acute renal failure occurs when your dog's kidney function suddenly declines (within hours or days). Typically, an infection or exposure to toxins is what causes this kind of kidney failure. Early detection and treatment can frequently cure this type of kidney failure.

Causes of Renal in Dogs

In dogs, renal failure can be caused by any number of conditions that impact the kidneys and related organs including:

  • Congenital disease - This category includes underlying illnesses and hereditary conditions such as agenesis (being born without one or both kidneys) and cysts.
  • Bacterial infections - If your dog swims or drinks in contaminated water, bacterial infections such as leptospirosis can attack their system, causing the kidneys to become inflamed and renal cells to die off.
  • Toxicosis - The ingestion of poisons or toxins can lead to cell damage within the dog's kidneys.
  • Dental disease - The accumulation of bacteria on the teeth and gums can cause advanced dental disease. At that point, bacteria may enter the bloodstream and attack several organs, harming the kidneys irreparably as well as the heart and liver of the dog.
  • Geriatric degeneration - As your dog ages, cells can break down and die. This happens all over the body, including the kidneys where it can lead to kidney disease and renal failure.

Symptoms of Renal Failure in Dogs

A quick and accurate diagnosis is crucial to getting the best results from treatment for renal failure. Make an appointment with your veterinarian right away if your dog is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed below, or take them to the closest emergency veterinary hospital for immediate attention. The following are some of the most typical indications of renal disease in dogs:: 
  • Significant weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Pale gums
  • Uncoordinated movement, or stumbling
  • Breath that smells like chemicals
  • Significant decrease in appetite
  • Increase or decrease in water consumption
  • Increase or decrease in volume of urine
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Blood in urine
  • Lethargy
  • Intestinal seizures

When diagnosing whether your dog's symptoms are related to kidney failure or another disease such as diabetes mellitus, your vet will consider the extent of loss of kidney function, the progression of the condition, and the severity of your dog's symptoms.

Prognosis for Dogs with Renal Disease

Treatment for your dog's renal disease will be determined by your pup's overall health and the underlying cause of their kidney failure.

Dogs suffering from acute renal failure will require urgent and intensive treatment, typically in intensive care at your animal hospital.

When diagnosed in the earliest stages, milder cases of acute renal failure may be treated with fluids, antibiotics and medications on an outpatient basis. While dialysis can be costly it is often used as an effective treatment for acute renal failure in dogs.

When a dog is diagnosed with chronic renal failure, the main goals of treatment are to slow the disease's progression and find ways to enhance your dog's quality of life. Chronic kidney disease symptoms like nausea, fluid imbalances, and changes in blood pressure can be managed with medication and/or dietary changes in your dog.

If your dog's chronic renal disease is not at its end-stage and can be managed successfully you can expect your pooch to enjoy a good quality of life for a number of months or years (some indications are up to four years). The management of chronic renal failure in dogs may include providing specific nutrients, nutritional supplements or a prescription diet.

Preventing Renal Failure in Dogs

When dogs eat toxic substances like contaminated food or foods they shouldn't eat, like grapes or chocolate, they frequently develop acute renal failure. Keep a close eye on the items in your home that could be poisonous to your dog to help prevent your pet from developing acute renal failure. Keep poisonous items, including antifreeze, prescription drugs, and potentially harmful foods, out of your dog's reach.

Chronic renal failure is often age-related and predetermined by genetics, making it more challenging to prevent. That said, regular wellness exams twice yearly at your primary care veterinarian's office will help to increase the chances of detecting symptoms early so that treatment can begin before the condition becomes more severe.

If your dog is showing signs renal failure, urgent emergency care is required! Contact our Knightdale hospital right away.

New Patients Are Welcome

Smithfield Road Veterinary Hospital, PLLC is currently accepting new patients! Our experienced and kind vets are passionate about the health of Knightdale pets. Contact us today to book your furry friend's first appointment.

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