Dog Kidney Failure

Dog kidney failure occurs when the kidneys are not able to remove toxins from the bloodstream. The main function of the kidneys is to filter these toxins and generate them into urine, so that they can be excreted from your dog's body. If kidney function stops or subsides, a very dangerous back-up of toxins can occur. When this happens, it is recognized as kidney failure.

Causes of Dog Kidney Failure

Kidney failure can either be chronic or sudden, meaning that the failure of the kidneys has either just occurred or has occurred over a period of time.

Both sudden and chronic kidney failure can be brought on by the following:

  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Pesticides found in flea and tick treatments
  • Poisonous toxins found around the home, namely antifreeze
  • Infection
  • Dehydration
  • Canine autoimmune disease
  • Certain antibiotics

Sudden kidney failure is usually caused by a recent event or accident, such as the ingestion of dangerous toxins. However, chronic kidney failure is usually attributed to old age. When your dog reaches an elderly stage in life, around the age of 10, organs begin a process of wearing down. Age can sometimes be a natural progression for kidney failure.

Symptoms of Kidney Failure in Dogs

A lot of the symptoms associated with kidney failure can be mistaken for other, less serious, ailments. So, it is important to take note of any changes in your dog that could signify kidney failure. Some of the symptoms to be aware of include:

  • Excessive urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Poor appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Sudden unexplained weight loss

If you notice that your dog has a fever, it is imperative that you seek medical attention. A fever is a warning sign that the body is trying to fight off infection. If your dog has kidney failure in combination with a fever, it could be a sign that there is an active infection due to the back-up of toxins in your dog's body. This can be a dangerous situation and it requires medical help.

Diagnosis for Canine Kidney Problems

In order to diagnosis kidney failure, a urine sample will need to be tested. The testing of the urine sample will be used to check two types of waste in the blood: blood urea nitrogen, also called BUN, and blood creatinine.

These tests will show an accurate description of overall kidney function, indicate how long the condition has been present and at what speed it is progressing. These factors are important when considering options of treatment. So, it must be known to what level of kidney failure exists.

Treatment for a Dog with Kidney Failure

In some cases, but very few, kidney failure can be reversed. However, this is usually only an option in cases of sudden kidney failure. If an incident, such as the ingestion of toxins or antibiotics, have cause the condition, then it is possible that the incident itself can be treated and the kidneys will resume their normal function. If the stage of kidney failure is reversible, dialysis may be recommended.

However, most cases of dog kidney failure are due to the aging process. In the case of aging, the kidney structure and process cannot be reversed. However, it can be treated on a level which will make your dog feel more comfortable. Depending upon how far gone the kidneys are, dialysis may or may not be an option.

Surgical kidney transplant is an option for dogs who qualify when a transplant is available. This is an expensive treatment, but can sometimes be relied on to add valuable years onto your dog's life.