Diagnosing Kidney Disease In Dogs
When diagnosing kidney disease in dogs, your vet will start by testing a sample of pee to see if your dogs urine is being concentrated, whether protein is being lost in their urine and if they have any other problems, like an underlying infection. They might also take a blood test to check for specific kidney function, to get an idea of your dogs overall health and to see if the build-up of toxins has affected any of their other organs.
What Do I Do If My Dog Is Shaking And Hiding
Anxiety. If your dog is afraid of loud noises, like thunder or fireworks, they may react by shivering and shaking. Its not uncommon for dogs to have anxiety, especially when major environmental changes happen in their space. If your dogs anxiety is severe enough then you may want to contact your veterinarian.
The Kidneyswhat Do They Do
A dogs body has natural systems in place to remove toxins and cleanse the body. The liver and kidneys are two organs that are an integral part of doing that and keeping the body in balance . The kidneys filter the blood and excrete toxins into the urine, but thats not all they do! The kidneys also:
- Keep vital electrolytes in balance
- Manage blood pressure
- Maintain water balance in the body
- Signal the bone marrow to make new red blood cells
- Regulate calcium and phosphorus levels
As you can see, the kidneys are incredibly important to the overall function of the body. Without them, the body would quickly spiral into a state of imbalance that is not compatible with life. Luckily, the kidneys have a lot of reserve, so if they arent working at full capacity the body is still able to stay regulated for a period of time.
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An Overview Of Kidney Disease In Dogs
However, when the kidneys are damaged significantly, their reserve is surpassed, and they are unable to keep up with necessary functions. Toxins begin to build up, and the body can no longer maintain homeostasis. Dehydration begins, electrolytes become unbalanced, blood pressure increases, and anemia occurs.
Sometimes kidney disease has a sudden onset. The dog gets very sick very quickly and may be rushed to the ER for an emergency vet visit. Other times, the kidney function declines gradually and the disease progresses more slowly . These dogs often just look off or sluggish in the early stages, but chronic kidney disease can also become an emergency situation where critical care is necessary. Both types of disease can cause a wide range of troubling symptoms.
What Can I Expect From This First Phase Of Treatment
There are three possible outcomes from the first phase of treatment:
1. The kidneys will resume functioning and continue to function for a few weeks to a few years.
2. The kidneys will resume functioning during treatment but fail again as soon as treatment stops, usually within three to fourteen days.
3. Kidney function will not return.
Unfortunately, there are no reliable tests that will predict the outcome. Each case should be treated aggressively and monitored closely. Even dogs that have severe kidney failure may respond favorably to treatment and resume a normal quality of life after treatment.
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When To Euthanize A Dog With Kidney Failure: The Last Days
Choosing the right time to euthanize a dog because of kidney failure is without a doubt the hardest decision any owner will have to make. As a veterinarian, I often have to talk through these situations with dog owners.
Let me start with an example that may help you in your decision-making: I had been treating Milo, a 13-year-old Bull terrier, who was diagnosed with renal disease 2 years ago. Unfortunately, we recently had to come to the difficult conclusion to put Milo to sleep.
Understanding Your Dog’s Risk
The timing of kidney degeneration is likely linked to a dog’s genetics. Consequently, chronic renal failure in dogs is effectively preprogrammed to occur at a certain age. Nonetheless, no specific breed predisposition is known to exist. Certain kidney diseases that can lead to renal failure in dogs, however, can disproportionately affect specific breeds. These include the following:
- Basenji dogs are especially affected by Fanconi syndrome, which disrupts electrolyte absorption.
- Bernese mountain dogs can suffer a congenital disease of the kidneys called glomerulonephritis.
- Collies, Shetland sheepdogs and German shepherds can be affected by lupus, an autoimmune disease affecting the kidneys and other organs.
- Shar-Peis can suffer a kidney disease known as familial renal amyloidosis.
It can prove difficult to determine which dogs will suffer these conditions in advance. New blood tests, however, are now helping identify kidney disease in dogs and cats early, sometimes even many years before signs become evident. One test called the SDMA is now considered very common. Many veterinarians consider it part of their annual wellness screening be sure to ask your vet if this test is available for your dog at your next appointment.
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Why Does It Happen
Aging is the main culprit responsible for renal failure in dogs. As the body ages, things just dont work as well as they used to, and eventually fail.
According to Washington State University, chronic kidney failure in dogs can also be caused by birth defects, bacterial infections, and poisoning from consuming harmful chemicals such as antifreeze. They do state that often the cause of CKD is unknown but age plays an important role.
Your dogs renal tissue wears out over time and isnt able to serve its function properly anymore. This depends on the dogs size since smaller dogs have a longer life span, kidney failure will occur later in life, and with bigger ones, it might show around the 7th-8th year of life.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Dog Dying From Kidney Failure
Mychelle had her own dog and cat behavior consulting business for about ten years, where she taught group and individual obedience and worked in clients’ homes to help resolve behavior issues.
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There are a number of signs associated with end-stage kidney failure in dogs. If your canine has been diagnosed with this condition, it’s advisable to educate yourself about what to expect as your pet’s illness progresses.
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Causes Of Chronic Renal Failure In Dogs
The term chronic in chronic renal failure means that the process has been ongoing, is progressive, and unfortunately, cannot be reversed. For some dogs, the disease could have occurred after a serious kidney injury such as from a severe infection or ingestion of a toxic substance such as anti-freeze, grapes, or raisins, and certain antibiotics.
For others, it could be inherited, such as with glomerular disease and amyloidosis as seen in breeds like the Bernese Mountain Dog and Shar-pei.
For others, it could be attributed to underlying immune-mediated diseases, stroke-like events, or even from clotting disorders. In cases for newly diagnosed dogs the underlying cause will likely remain unknown.
Symptoms And Stages Of Kidney Failure In Dogs
Chronic kidney disease is kidney disease that has been present for months before your pet shows any symptoms. This is likely due to them being in Stage 1 , which is harder to spot due to lack of symptoms.
Some early signs of kidney failure can include:
- Drinking too much and producing large volumes of urine
- General depression
- Increased volume of urine in the bladder
In later stages, you may notice:
- Blood in urine or stool
- Breath that smells like chemicals
- Severe vomiting
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What Is The Prognosis For Kidney Disease
Knowing that kidney failure is progressive, it is natural to wonder how long your dog might live with kidney disease. This is a difficult question to answer since the rate of progression varies significantly between individual dogs. IRIS has not provided any specific prognosis or life expectancy for each stage. But in general, you can assume that the prognosis worsens as the stages progress.
With careful monitoring and treatment, some dogs with chronic kidney disease can live for years with a good quality of life. Unfortunately, if your dog is in Stage 3 or Stage 4 at the time of diagnosis, then he or she is more likely to succumb to kidney disease in months rather than years.
An older study gave a median survival time of > 400 days for dogs with Stage 1 disease, 200 to 400 days for dogs with Stage 2 disease, 110 to 200 days for dogs with Stage 3 disease, and 14 to 80 days for dogs with Stage 4 disease . But again, this can vary from dog to dog.
Possible Treatments For Iris
The following are some commonly recommended treatments for dogs with IRIS Stages 1-4 kidney disease in order to improve or maintain kidney function and quality of life for as long as possible:
- Treat any primary disease-causing or complicating condition
- Renal diet: Prescription diets with decreased protein and restricted phosphorus and sodium content to help support struggling kidneys and reduce the amount of work they have to do
- Supplements: Phosphorus binders , vitamin D supplements , potassiumsupplements, probiotics , omega-3 fatty acid supplements
- Medications: Blood pressure medications , anti-nausea medications , appetite stimulants , antacids
- Intravenous or Subcutaneous Fluids: Maintain hydration and correct electrolyte imbalances. IV fluids can be given in the hospital and fluids under the skin can be given at home.
- Erythropoietin: Injectable erythropoietin may become necessary if the red cell count becomes too low.
- Feeding tube: Sick dogs sometimes do not want to eat, so a feeding tube can provide nutrition directly into the stomach for a period of time until he starts to feel better
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How To Recognize A Dying Dog In The Final Moments
There’s a subtle difference in a dog’s behavior when they are past the point of struggling to overcome illness or injury and are about to die. Learning what happens to a dog’s body when they die and how to tell when those final moments have arrived can help you prepare and provide your dog with love, comfort, and dignity as they leave this earth.
Making The Decision To Euthanize Your Dog With Kidney Failure
You should know too that there is no clear-cut answer about when it is time to choose humane euthanasia. Rather than looking for one right day it is helpful to realize that there is a window of time where euthanasia is a reasonable medical decision.
Sometimes, it is best to make the decision at the beginning of the window. And other times we may feel more comfortable waiting until closer to the end. Each situation is unique, and each dog is different. Even if you have been through the kidney failure journey before, this journey may feel completely new and intimidating.
Some dogs may take their medications well and allow you to administer SQ fluids without a fuss. This can allow them to enjoy life a bit longer. For other dogs, fluid administration is stressful and taking medications is a battle, so their days are full of stress. In that case, it may be kinder to set them free a bit earlier.
Our canine friends always try to have a good day, even when they are facing huge medical challenges. So when we see their joy declining, and when we see them struggling through their days, the weight of their decline weighs heavily on our shoulders. We are not ready for their life to be over, or for them to leave us. But we also hate to see them just existing, rather than truly loving and enjoying life.
And at some point, we realize that watching their decline is just as difficult than choosing euthanasia. That is when we know that we are as ready as we ever will be to set them free.
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How Can I Help My Dog With Kidney Failure
My pup has dog kidney failure when to euthanize him? Is there any way I could help him?
If the dog is suffering from chronic kidney failure, nutrition is one of the best and most effective treatments. You can feed the dog with a diet with a low amount of phosphorus, low protein amount, and the diet is non-acidic.
Dogs that have acute kidney failure cannot survive for many days. However, if there is the proper treatment for renal failure with a proper diet, the dogs can recover fully. Can a dog recover from kidney failure? The treatment of kidney failure is intravenous therapy with supportive medicines.
Facing The End With Your Pet
Many of the signs listed here are quite general and, in isolation, can simply be signs your dog might be sick. If you are undecided whether the end is close, look at the bigger picture. An older dog with a terminal diagnosis who has pale gums and not eaten for days is more likely to be dying than a fit, young dog with no pre-existing medical conditions. On the whole, the greater the number of the signs that are present, the more serious the outlook. Your best source of advice is the veterinarian who is familiar with your dog’s case and who can offer advice about whether any treatment options could make your pet more comfortable.
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Causes Of Kidney Disease In Dogs
Broadly speaking, kidney disease means something is hampering the organs’ ability to do their jobremoving waste from the blood, producing urinesays Alicen Tracey, DVM and a member of the Daily Paws Advisory Board.
Sometimes, the causes of kidney disease in dogs just isn’t known, Washington State University veterinarians write. But a younger dog with congenital kidney disease likely has some kind of birth defect that causes the kidney trouble, Tracey says. She adds that sometimes kidney disease can be caused by an acute injury that harms the organlike if your dog consumes grapes or raisins.
Chronic kidney disease can also be connected to another chronic disease that affects the kidneys, WSU writes. It can also be caused by high blood pressure.
Therapeutic Goal: Treat Hypokalemia Or Hyperkalemia
- For hypokalemia, oral supplementation is the preferred treatment.
- For mild hyperkalemia, a prescription renal diet with the lowest potassium content can be useful. Oral potassium binders can prevent absorption of dietary potassium. Rare GI adverse effects are reported in humans and are possible in dogs.
- Monitor hyperkalemic patients receiving ACE inhibitors reduce dose if ACE inhibitors produce significant hyperkalemia.
- Discontinue potassium supplementation in all hyperkalemic patients.
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How Long Does A Dog Have To Life With Renal Failure
The good news is that depending on how advanced the disease is upon diagnosis some dogs are able to live months or even years with renal failure. If its caught too late though, most dogs will only have a few days to live in some cases.
However, it is equally as important to remember that whilst canine renal failures prognosis is in some cases variable, it is still ultimately classed as a terminal disease. This means that you need to prepare for the possible outcome of needing to euthanise your dog.
The good news is that you wont need to go through this alone. You will be able to trust your vet to give you consistent advice and guidance about the right course of action as and when the disease progresses.
As mentioned, a lot of vets point to euthanasia once they have exhausted all possible treatment options with your dog. Other signs that your dog might be ready to be put to sleep include the following:
- Theyre getting worse rather than getting better or staying the same.
- They are no longer eating or drinking.
- They are no longer able to go to the toilet by themselves .
- Your touch no longer soothes them/causes them pain.
- They spend a lot of their time asleep.
Please bear in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive.
Ultimately, as an owner who has naturally become well-attuned to your dogs temperament and personality, only you can know if they are acting significantly different or behaving unusually.
Some dogs can live with renal failure with up to 4 years
Therapeutic Goal: Treat Proteinuria
The first step in therapy is a protein-restricted renal diet. In addition, managing hypertension also helps minimize proteinuria. ACE inhibitors may cause hyperkalemia due to RAAS blockade, reduce GFR, and increase azotemia therefore, use these drugs cautiously in IRIS CKD stage 3 and 4 patients.
For persistent proteinuria, therapeutic intervention is recommended:
- ACE inhibitor: Increase hypertension dosage to help minimize proteinuria however, contraindicated in hypotensive or dehydrated patients.
- Omega 3-polyunsaturated fatty acids: Shown to lessen proteinuria.
- Losartan: Consider this angiotensin receptor blocker for proteinuria refractory to ACE inhibitors veterinary use has been limited, with contradicting opinions regarding efficacy.
Anticoagulants can be considered when proteinuria is present however, serum albumin, UPC, or antithrombin levels do not adequately predict hypercoagulability.
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Is A Dog In Pain When It Has Kidney Failure
Yes, the dogs feel severe pain while suffering from kidney failure. Is kidney failure in dogs painful? When the kidneys of dogs become damaged from poisoning and infection, the dogs feel abdominal pain, urination, appetite loss, and vomiting. Dog heart failure when to euthanize? If all valves of the heart are deteriorating, then you can go to your vet to euthanize.