The Diagnosis and Treatment of Dog Kidney Disease

Dog kidney (renal) disease usually appears in dogs in their senior years as either an acute (rapidly occurring) or chronic (slowly occurring) disease. There are many causes of renal disease. An incomplete list includes: parasites, age, dog kidney cancer, trauma, infections (viral, bacterial or fungal), inflammation, congenital (inherited) disorders, toxic reaction to poisons or medications, autoimmune disease or amyloidosis (caused by abnormal protein deposits in the kidney). This article will discuss diagnosing and treating kidney disease in dogs. Symptoms of Dog Kidney Disease

Some of the following signs can also be indicators for other diseases of the liver, pancreas or urinary tract, as well as renal disease.

* Increased/decreased/lack of urination * Increased water consumption * Urinating during the night * Blood in the urine * Vomiting/Diarrhea * Decreased appetite * Depression * Poor coat * Lethargy * Fever * Weight loss * Hunched over posture with reluctance to move * Ulcers in the mouth, especially the gums, tongue or inside of the cheek * Bad breath * Dehydration * Pale mucous membranes resulting in anemia * High blood pressure resulting in changes in the retina * Swelling of the limbs or abdomen due to fluid accumulation * Enlarged kidneys or small, irregular kidneys * Softening jaw bones in young dogs (hereditary)

Diagnosing Kidney Disease

Blood tests, urinalysis and imaging techniques are used to determine if kidney disease is present, its causes and severity, which can include dog kidney cancer and kidney failure. An increase in nitrogen, phosphorous and/or creatinine in the blood and a decrease in red blood cells is an indication that the kidneys are not working properly. An increase of concentration of urine (less water content), protein and sediment in the urine is present in kidney disease. X-rays, urography (x-rays using dyes) and ultasonography are used in determining the size of the kidney and therefore whether or not kidney disease is present or if the diagnosis is dog kidney failure. A biopsy may also be necessary. Treatment for Dog Kidney Problems

Rehydrating through the use of intravenous fluids is done over the first 2 to 10 hours and maintained after that. Urine output is monitored and medications are used to try to induce the kidneys in producing urine. A high quality lower quantity protein diet is introduced, whether the dog is capable of eating on its own without vomiting or through tube feedings. Antibiotics and blood pressure medications may also be administered. Acute renal failure may be reversible with early and aggressive treatment. Chronic kidney diseases needs include keeping the dog hydrated and eating a high protein diet more often in smaller quantities.

Dog kidney dialysis may be necessary for those dogs that fail to respond to normal therapies, those not producing urine, those with toxins in the kidneys or those that require emergency dog kidney surgery due to traumatic injuries. Kidney transplants are offered at a few hospitals at this time. Dogs with chronic renal failure can live for years with proper treatment.