Symptoms of Canine Kidney Failure

Canine kidney failure is a serious and potentially life-threatening problem that requires immediate medical attention. It occurs when the kidney is unable to properly remove harmful wastes from the blood. There are two main types of kidney failure: acute (rapid) or chronic (progressing over time).

Kidney failure is often not noticed until the kidney has lost up to three-fourths of its functionality. By then, the more serious problems have started to occur and damage may be irreversible. Thus it is important to know the symptoms of kidney failure in a dog to help prevent permanent damage, or death.

Acute Renal Failure

Acute renal failure occurs when the kidney suddenly ceases to filter toxins and regulate urine productions. It is a potentially deadly condition that may be brought upon by a wide variety of things. Most often, this includes the ingestion of pesticides or antifreeze. Some medications have also been known to cause acute kidney failure. Dehydration, blood clots, shock, heat strokes and certain parasites may also increase the likelihood.

Certain plants of the lily family are known to induce acute renal failure in dogs.

Symptoms of acute renal failure include:

  • Decreased urination
  • Straining to urinate
  • Excessive drinking
  • Disorientation
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting

Ceasing to urinate altogether is the sign of an immediate emergency that usually results in death, even with prompt medical attention. Even if acute renal failure does not kill the dog, several conditions may arise out of it such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart Failure
  • Blood poisoning
  • Chronic Renal Failure

All conditions may potentially be fatal and require medication or other veterinarian intervention.

Chronic Kidney Failure

The exact opposite of acute renal failure, chronic kidney failure progresses slowly over a period of time. It is more common in older dogs, and in dogs that have already experienced acute kidney failure. Older dogs with heart disease are at particular risk for developing chronic kidney failure.

The first signs of chronic kidney failure are excessive thirst and urination. These are often difficult to notice, especially during a hot summer. Further symptoms often include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Ammonia-like breath odor
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Pale gums
  • Blindness
  • Poor coat condition

These symptoms may appear slowly over a period of months, or possibly years.

Breed Susceptibility

It is often suggested that certain breads are more susceptible to chronic kidney failure. These include Doberman Pinschers, standard Poodles, Shih Tzu, Cocker Spaniels, Lhasa Apso and Shar-Pei breeds.

It is important to know the symptoms of kidney failure in a dog in order to react swiftly and seek prompt medical attention. While potentially fatal, with the proper action death may be avoided and the failure reduced or stopped.