Stage 3 Kidney Disease in Dogs

Stage 3 kidney disease is one of the final stages of canine kidney disease, in which your dog will begin showing symptoms of kidney failure. Canine kidney disease occurs when, for whatever reason, your dog's kidneys are not doing their job of removing toxins from the blood efficiently. Often, by the time kidney disease reaches stage 3, kidney damage cannot be reversed. Read on to learn more about kidney disease in dogs and how to cope with it in its final stages.

Canine Kidney Disease Explained

Kidney disease occurs when dogs when the kidneys become damaged by disease, toxins or simply old age. Damaged kidneys can no longer filter toxins from the blood effectively. As kidney function decreases, toxins build up in the blood. Though treatment can extend your dog's life by months or years, kidney disease is usually fatal in the end.

There are four generally recognized stages of kidney disease. In the first stage, kidney function has decreased enough to allow toxins to build up your dog's blood, but the build up is not yet sufficient to endanger your dog's health. In the second stage, toxin accumulation has a reached a dangerous level, but your dog's body has not yet sustained damage.

In the third stage of kidney disease, your dog begins showing symptoms of kidney failure. In the fourth and final stage, advanced kidney disease begins causing severe symptoms. Many vets consider stage 3 and stage 4 kidney disease to be the same thing. Kidney damage generally cannot be reversed in this stage; often, the kidneys can't even be stimulated to function temporarily.

Symptoms of Stage 3 Kidney Disease in Dogs

Your dog probably won't begin showing symptoms of kidney disease until he reaches stage 3 of the disorder. Your dog will begin urinating a lot more, as his kidneys struggle to continue filtering toxins from the blood. Because he's urinating so much, he'll also drink a lot more water.

Dogs with stage 3 kidney disease can exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Halitosis
  • Lethargy and depression
  • Oral lesions

Diagnosing and Treating Kidney Disease in Dogs

Your vet can diagnose stage 3 kidney disease with a combination of blood tests and urinalysis. Treatment is administered in two stages. First, your vet will administer IV fluids to flush toxins from the kidneys, and, hopefully, help them to resume function. Drugs, electrolytes and nutritious food can help your dog recover from the affects of the toxins that have built up in his blood.

After this initial stage of treatment is completed, your dog will need maintenance therapy to extend his life. A low-protein, low-phosphorous diet can help slow the progression of kidney disease. Your vet will also prescribe drugs to slow the progression of your dog's disease, and treat complications such as anemia. Your dog may need to receive fluids subcutaneously at home, in order to counteract the dehydration that often accompanies stage 3 kidney disease.

Your dog's prognosis will depend largely on the stage of his kidney disease at the time of diagnosis, and the extent of damage his body has sustained. Most dogs can enjoy up to four years of quality life after diagnosis if they receive appropriate treatment.