Dog Kidney Infection

A dog kidney infection is a serious condition that can hinder a canine's quality of life if left untreated. The kidneys are one of the most important organs in a dog as the function of the set of organs is to eliminate waste and toxins from the body.

Causes of Kidney Infections in Dogs

There are many reasons as to why a dog may develop an infection in the kidneys. The most common cause behind an infection is due to bacteria or fungus in the dog's urinary tract that a dog is sometimes not able to combat alone.

Kidney or bladder stones, which are very painful for a dog, can also cause kidney infections. The stones form when there is a buildup of minerals, like calcium, in the dog's system. The stones can then be infested with microbes.

Other causes of kidney infections include injury to the urinary tract, a deformed urinary tract, cancer, a dog holding in urine for too long, the use of antibiotics, and kidney failure.

Symptoms of Kidney Infections in a Dog

When the kidneys first become infected, a dog may strain to pass urine. A dog may indicate he needs to go outside to relieve himself, but then is not able to do so. A dog may be more thirsty than usual and may need to relieve himself more often as well. A pet owner may also notice a bad smell coming from the urine and may even see blood in it. A dog with a kidney infection will also have pain in the area the kidneys are located. Fevers, a lack of energy and vomiting may also be present when there is an infection.

Diagnosing Dog Kidney Infections

A veterinarian will conduct a physical exam of a dog he suspects may have an infection of the kidneys along with several tests. A couple of the most common blood tests done is a blood test called creatinine and BUN. The creatinine test is the most specific test for kidney damage. When a dog's level of creatinine is elevated there is a greater chance there is a problem with his kidneys. The Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) test is used in addition to the creatinine test to help diagnose kidney infections.

A dog's phosphorus, calcium, sodium and potassium levels will all be checked with a blood sample. Elevated levels of phosphorus and calcium can indicate a problem with the kidneys. Lower levels of sodium and potassium can also lead a doctor to make a diagnosis involving a dog's kidneys. Other substances that will be measured with a blood sample include protein and albumin. A dog's red and white blood cells will also be counted along with his platelets.

A veterinarian will also collect a urine sample to search for extra deposits of protein. A urine culture will also be done to see if there are any bacteria in the urine.

A dog with a kidney infection may receive antibiotics to treat the cause of it. In severe cases, a dog will need dialysis or even a kidney transplant. Proper hydration will be a must to help treat this condition. The sooner the infection is caught, the better the prognosis will be.