Managing Kidney Disease Symptoms in Dogs

There are a few factors that can contribute to the successful management of kidney disease symptoms in dogs. The overall goal is to reduce the working load on the kidneys and BUN and creatinine levels. There are a few methods that can be used to accomplish this.

Kidney Disease Explained

Kidney disease in dogs occurs when the kidneys no longer function as they should. The main purpose of the kidneys is to filter out impurities and toxins from ingested food, then to excrete them through urine. This system prevents any of these toxins from reaching the blood stream and causing harm. Kidney cells are different from cells of most other organs in the body; they cannot regenerate themselves. So once kidney cells begin to die off, the only remaining kidney function comes from the cells that still exist.

In general, symptoms of kidney disease in dogs are not noticeable until at least 75% of kidney function has been lost. At this point, the condition can be identified through routine chemistry panels and blood testing. This does not mean that end-stage kidney disease it present, but it does represent the need for strong medical intervention.

Fluid Therapy for Dogs with Kidney Disease

The first step to controlling kidney disease symptoms in dogs is fluid therapy. One of the main symptoms of kidney disease in dogs is extreme fatigue. This usually occurs when an overload of toxins is not filtered out by the kidneys, and they are sent directly into the blood stream, causing toxic levels within the bloodstream. This leaves the dog without strength, inability to eat and typically fever.

Fluid therapy is conducted by administering IV saline fluid. The intended purpose is to rehydrate the dog and flush the entire system of toxins. The load on the existing kidney cells is temporarily eliminated, and if there is enough remaining kidney function left, the dog will respond to treatment. If there is no response to fluid therapy, the dog is likely in end-stage kidney disease, and no further treatment will help the condition.

Low-Protein Diet for Managing Dog Kidney Disease

If fluid therapy has been successful and the remaining kidney cells have been rejuvenated, the next step to controlling kidney disease symptoms in dogs is a low-protein diet. Protein is the hardest element for the kidneys to digest. They have to work longer and harder to successfully eliminate this by-product. In dogs with kidney disease, the key to longevity and managing the condition is implementing a low-protein diet.

There are low-protein meals that can be made at home, or dog owners can elect to purchase a prescription dog food that is specifically designed to control the symptoms of canine kidney disease. Prescription dog foods balance essential nutrients and minimize protein intake.

Supplements for Dogs with Kidney Disease

There are some supplements, both herbal and pharmacological, that claim to lower BUN and creatinine levels in dogs with kidney disease. Keeping these levels in their normal range is paramount to adding years onto the life of a dog with kidney disease. Adding supplements to help manage kidney disease symptoms in dogs can work very well, so long as you use the correct supplement.

Research and reputation are the keys to determining if a supplement is safe, effective, and worth your time. Many kidney disease supplements will make such claims, but the real test is if they have laboratory proof that their product reduces and controls BUN and creatinine levels in dogs.