What Are The First Signs Of Kidney Disease
The first signs of kidney disease are changes in urination. Healthy kidneys help filter blood to create urine. When the kidneys can no longer do their job, the waste products in the blood uild up and can cause changes in urination, fatigue, itching, swelling, shortness of breath, pain in the small of your back, decreased appetite, and puffiness around the eyes. Kidney disease is a serious condition and if not treated, it can lead to permanent damage to the kidneys.
What Are Signs Of Kidney Failure In Dogs
Watch for these common symptoms of kidney failure:
- Breath that smells like chemicals
- Significant decrease in appetite
- Increase or decrease in water intake
- Increase or decrease in urine volume
- Ulcers in the mouth
- Drunken behavior or uncoordinated movement such as stumbling
- Intestinal seizures
A few factors can indicate whether kidney problems or other issues such as diabetes mellitus are causing the symptoms, such as: the type of kidney failure your dog may be experiencing, the extent of loss of function in the kidneys, progression of the condition and its underlying causes.
Why Its Important To Know The Signs Of Kidney Disease In Dogs
Canine kidney disease can be a dangerous disease, which can take the life of your pet.
Once you notice your dog is showing mild signs such as increased thirst and increased urination, then it is important to take them to the vet so that you can get a blood test and urinalysis done.
Renal failure in dogs is a progressive disease a dog may be asymptomatic during stage 1 or stage 2 of kidney failure. So, most pet parents often dont catch kidney failure until their beloved pooch has reached stage 3 or stage 4.
Once your dog has reached their senior age its important to consider doing regular blood tests in order to catch early kidney disease.
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What Is Kidney Disease In Dogs
Many important tasks are carried out by the kidneys when they are functioning normally. They remove toxins from the blood and excrete them from the body in urine, regulate blood pressure and blood acidity levels, as well as preventing water loss and maintaining an overall healthy metabolic balance. Any condition which stops the kidneys working properly is referred to kidney or renal disease, and can vary greatly in severity. It means damage is in progress but there is still functional tissue left. In renal failure, the kidneys have stopped working altogether and is far more serious.
Kidney disease is classified in two ways acute and chronic.
When the condition is acute, it is a complication of another condition such as kidney stones or cancer, or the consumption of something toxic. In this case, symptoms can be severe and onset rapidly but, depending on the cause, the condition can sometimes be treated and resolved.
What Is The Most Accurate Test For Kidney Function
A 24-hour urine test can show how well your kidney are working and how much protein leaks from the kidney into the urine in one day.
A urine test can also show how much urine your kidneys produce.
A urine test can be more accurate than a blood test in measuring how well your kidney are working.
A urine test can be done in a clinic or at home.
A urine test can be done at any time of day.
A urine test can be done with a urine sample or a dipstick test.
A urine test can be done with a 24-hour urine sample.
A urine test can be done with a microscope and a dipstick test.
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Traditional Testing To Diagnose Ckd
If you have a senior dog, you probably remember your veterinarian recommending some blood and urine tests at his or her last wellness exam. Regular, routine lab testing helps alert veterinarians to health issues common to older pets by monitoring changes in specific substances found in blood. When health problems are detected in the early stages, veterinarians and pet owners often have more options for treating or managing the condition.
Chronic kidney disease is most often diagnosed using standard blood and urine tests, including creatinine and blood urea nitrogen levels and urine specific gravity, which measures how well kidneys are concentrating urine. Creatinine is produced during muscle metabolism, and urea is produced during protein breakdown. Both are normally removed from the bloodstream by the kidneys. But when the kidneys arent working as they should, these substances become concentrated in the blood, which makes them useful as indicators of kidney disease. Unfortunately, changes in creatinine and BUN may not show up until your dog has permanently lost 66 to 75 percent of his or her kidney function.
What Might These Tests Indicate If My Pet Has Kidney Disease
A) A complete blood count involves the evaluation of the red blood cells, the white blood cells and the platelet components of a single blood sample. A hematology analyzer will provide your veterinarian with the total numbers of these cells, and evaluation of a blood smear will allow a look at the physical characteristics of these cells.
The kidneys produce a substance called erythropoietin that is necessary for proper red blood cell production within the bone marrow. With kidney disease, the amount of erythropoietin produced may be decreased, causing a decrease in red blood cell production. This shows up in the CBC as anemia.
The white blood cell numbers may be increased if the underlying cause of the kidney disease is due to an infection or inflammation.
Rarely, platelet numbers may be reduced if a clotting problem has occurred as a result of the underlying kidney disease.
B) The serum biochemistry profile requires a separate blood sample from which the serum is separated from the cellular portion of blood. Serum contains many substances including enzymes, proteins, lipids , glucose and metabolic waste products.
Of most importance in the diagnosis of kidney disease are the determination of the levels of two substances, namely blood urea nitrogen and creatinine.
Increases in BUN and creatinine may be seen with kidney disease, as well as with dehydration and other causes of reduced blood flow to the kidneys.
“Severe increases in potassium may cause cardiac arrhythmias.”
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Signs And Symptoms Of Dog Kidney Disease
It’s hard to tell if one of your dog’s internal organs is compromised, but Tracey says there are a few things to look out for that could point to chronic kidney disease. Here are a few:
- Frequent urination
WSU warns that depression, anemia, and overall weakness can also be strong indicators.
See these signs? Call your veterinarian. Dogs’ kidney disease symptoms overlap with other maladies, namely diabetes and kidney stones, so you’ll need tests to get a definite answer. You can opt for a blood or a urine test, Tracey says. The blood test indicates how well the kidneys are filtering out waste while the urine test examines the pee’s concentration. If it’s too low, your pup could have kidney disease.
Because kidney disease mostly affects older dogs, Tracey’s hospital employs annual blood testing when a dog is 6 followed by yearly urine testing at age 7.
“Unfortunately, we’re really late to the game when we see signs for kidney disease,” she says.
Canine Kidney Disease Explained
Both dogs and cats can be at risk for chronic renal failure. In particular, it is estimated that 15% of dogs over the age of 0 years may experience kidney damage. But, if youve got a cat, then studies showed that 30% of cats over the age of 15 years are at risk of developing chronic kidney disease.
Kidney disease in dogs sounds quite complicated, right? It definitely is a relatively difficult topic to understand especially if you dont have a medical background.
Here is a little anatomy and physiology lesson 101! Kidneys have four main functions in our dogs body, this includes:
- The kidney function as a filtration system
- Reabsorption of substances and helpful molecules back into the blood
- Secretion of waste products
- The kidney function as a waste disposal system. That is the kidney excretes waste products out of the body.
Now, if we were to zoom into the kidneys of a dog we would see this structures called nephrons.
Nephrons are a single unit that consists of things like the Bowmans capsule, glomerulus, and renal tubules.
To keep it simple, on a microscopic level the kidney consists of millions of tiny little nephrons, these nephrons are what filters in and out substances which means toxins will begin to build up in their blood.
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Introduce Their New Diet Slowly
When feeding a dog with kidney problems, take things slowly, introducing their new diet gradually so they can learn to adapt to the blander flavours and different textures. Unless your vet says otherwise, start by blending a little of the new diet thoroughly into your dogs original food. Then, each day, increase the quantity of the new diet by very small amounts, reducing the amount of their original diet proportionately. Ask your vet about portion sizes for the prescription diet, or use the guidelines on the packaging, because it wont necessarily be the same as youre used to feeding your dog.
Lean On Your Veterinarians Wisdom
A diagnosis of kidney failure can be scary. Especially when you hear it is acute kidney failure or late-stage kidney disease, both of which tend to have a more bleak outlook. Being blindsided by a diagnosis of kidney disease after a routine senior dog physical exam isnt easy either. All of these situations may leave you feeling worried and alone.
But you are not alone. Your veterinarian knows you and your pup well and is on your side. He or she will play an integral role in providing support and advice as you work together to give your dog the best life possible for as long as possible.
Granted, the treatment options are a bit more limited with acute kidney failure. But with chronic kidney failure, there are many ways to help keep your pup feeling good. In either situation, the best advice I can give is to take heart and talk to your veterinarian.
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Chronic Kidney Failure: What Does It Mean For Your Pet
Kidney failure is a disease that occurs when the nephrons of the kidney are no longer able to filter toxins and substances from the blood.
Kidney failure can be part of the normal aging process, this means that chronic kidney failure is more likely to occur in our geriatric dogs.
Unfortunately, dogs with kidney failure will slowly lose the total functioning of their kidney. Gradually, your dog will begin to get worse as the stages of kidney failure advance. Remember, to do your dogs blood chemistry on a regular basis in order to see what stage your dogs kidney failure is at.
There are 4 stages of kidney disease in dogs and this is how it will look on your dogs blood test:
Stage 1 Creatinine concentration levels are often less than 1.4 mg/dL
Stage 2 Creatinine concentration levels will be between 1.4-2.0 mg/dL. At this point, clinical signs may not be noticed yet! but you may notice your dog drinking or be urinating more.
Stage 3 Creatinine concentrations may jump anywhere from 2.1 to 5.0. Clinical signs associated with kidney disease become more severe and prevalent.
Stage 4 Creatinine concentrations that exceed 5.0 mg/dL. Can indicate that only 10% of the nephrons are now functioning. This is often termed as end-stage kidney disease.
Taken from the small animal internal medicine veterinary textbook.
How To Treat Kidney Disease In Dogs
First and foremost: Dog kidney disease can’t be cured. But your dog can live with it, sometimes for years. Second: Talk to your vet. They’ll prescribe the right treatment.
The good news is that early-stage chronic kidney disease can be treated at home. For a lot of dogs, kidney disease might be more uncomfortable rather than painful for the rest of their lives. Hydration is the name of the game.
“We have to keep them as hydrated as possible,” Tracey says.
Having fresh water available at all times is a must, but Tracey also mentions hydration supplements, canned dog food, or a special kidney diet as other at-home options. If your dog’s hydration needs are more serious, your vet can teach you how to administer subcutaneous fluidslike a doggy IV dripat home.
If your dog is dealing with acute kidney failurewhen the kidney deteriorates rapidly because your dog ingested grapes, antifreeze, or ibuprofenyou may need antibiotics, more subcutaneous fluids, or even a temporary feeding tube, according to BluePeal Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital.
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How Do Vets Check For Kidney Failure In Dogs
Veterinarians use a variety of methods to check for kidney failure in dogs. Some of the most common tests include blood tests, urine tests, and a physical examination.
Blood tests can determine how well the kidneys are functioning. Urine tests can tell the veterinarian how much urine the dog is producing and whether the urine is clear or has particles in it. A physical examination can help the veterinarian determine if the dog has any signs of kidney failure, such as decreased appetite, weight loss, and vomiting.
What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Disease In Dogs
Symptoms of renal failure in dogs can vary dramatically between cases because the kidneys are responsible for so many functions within the body. Symptoms can appear suddenly or progressively, and can include any of the following:
- Drinking excessively and urinating more frequently. It often seems strange to pet owners that a pet which is urinating a lot can have renal problems but its because the kidneys lose their ability to conserve water
- Soiling in the home due to the larger volumes of urine
- Sudden blindness due to high blood pressure
But remember, most of the above symptoms can be caused by other conditions which are less serious. However, if symptoms do arise, its important to take your dog to see the vet as soon as possible as early treatment is vital if kidney disease is detected.
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What Is Involved In The First Phase Of Treatment
In the first phase, high doses of intravenous fluids are given to ‘flush out’ the kidneys and bloodstream. This flushing process is called diuresis and helps mildly damaged kidney cells to function again by removing the toxic metabolites and creating a healthier environment for healing.
“If enough functional kidney cells remain, they may be able to adequately meet the body’s needs for filtration and waste removal.”
If enough functional kidney cells remain, they may be able to adequately meet the body’s needs for filtration and waste removal. Fluid therapy includes replacement of various electrolytes, especially potassium. Other important aspects of initial treatment include proper nutrition and medication to control vomiting and diarrhea if present. Your dog will often begin to feel better soon after this stage of treatment is begun.
What Are The Clinical Signs Of Chronic Kidney Disease
When disease or advanced age causes the filtration process to become inefficient and ineffective, blood flow to the kidneys is increased in an attempt to increase filtration. The body must increase the amount of blood flowing through the kidneys since less and less of the toxins are being removed each time. This results in the production of more urine. To keep the dog from becoming dehydrated due to increased fluid loss in the urine, thirst and water consumption is increased.
Therefore, one of the earliest clinical signs of kidney failure is increased water consumption and urination, and is called compensated renal failure. After approximately 2/3 of the kidney tissue is destroyed, there is a rapid rise in waste products in the bloodstream and an apparent sudden onset of severe disease. The clinical signs of more advanced kidney failure include loss of appetite, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, and very bad breath. Occasionally, ulcers will be found in the mouth.
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Why Does My Pet Need All These Tests
With appropriate therapy, animals can survive for long periods with only a fraction of functional kidney tissue, even as little as 5-8% in dogs and cats. Treatment is determined based on the stage of the disease and severity of symptoms. For your veterinarian to accurately assess the extent of the affected tissue and loss of function, various tests are conducted. These may include some or all of the following: urinalysis and urine cultures, blood pressure measurements, blood chemical profile, complete blood count, radiographs, and ultrasounds.
Unfortunately, CKD is usually a progressive disease. However, progression is relatively slow, and pets with CKD often survive for many months to years with a good quality of life. It is important to recognize that in pets with advanced CKD, treatment will not reverse or stop the disease but will slow it down. Your veterinarian will need to monitor your pet regularly to assess whether the disease has progressed and, if so, determine a new course of therapy. In Stages I and II, animals should be evaluated every three to six months or sooner if problems develop. In later-Stage II and Stage III, evaluations should be done every two to three months. In late-Stage III and Stage IV, expect your veterinarian to recommend evaluation every one to two months.
Iris Is Committed To Helping Pets With Kidney Disease
In addition to creating these important guidelines, IRIS also investigates ways to accurately diagnose early chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injury . Plus, IRIS researches new treatments to improve the prognosis of dogs and cats diagnosed with these diseases.
Medicine is constantly changing, so these guidelines are always a work in progress. IRIS continues to modify them as researchers develop new tests and treatments and experts learn more about this complex disease process.
IRIS structured their guidelines to encourage and facilitate the diagnosis of chronic kidney disease in its earliest identifiable stages. This is the time when treatments to slow progression can have the greatest impact.
I want to clarify, though, that these guidelines are not a method for DIAGNOSING kidney disease. Instead they are a way to tailor treatment, monitor disease progression, and provide prognostic information AFTER diagnosis.
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