When you adopt a dog, you also take full responsibility for its health. Although it is impossible to predict all potential health issues, it is possible to be aware of diseases that are common regardless of breed. Chronic kidney failure is the disease that one in 10 dogs will develop during their lifetime, according to research.
Even though the probability seems small, you should know about the symptoms and treatment of kidney disease, although we certainly want this information to remains only theoretical for you.
Types of kidney disease in dogs
Kidney failure is a general term that includes a fairly extensive list of damage to the kidneys or urinary system. In a nutshell, this is the situation when a dog’s kidney fails to perform its functions right. What is more, this is a very tricky disease that may be developed without symptoms for a long time and become chronic.
Also, kidney failure in dogs can be classified by the following categories.
A direct effect on the organ causes primary diseases.
Secondary diseases occur when the kidney disease is a consequence of another condition.
Depending on the course of the disease, kidney disease can be divided into:
- canine chronic kidney disease.
Causes of kidney disease
As for the reasons, veterinarians name only two main ones:
- Improper nutrition. Excess artificial substances in food, too much salt, food coloring, and flavor enhancers will sooner or later lead to problems in both the digestive and urinary systems.
- All body systems wear out throughout life, so the likelihood of kidney disease in dogs increases after the seventh year of life.
Signs of kidney failure in dogs
As we have already said, most kidney diseases in dogs can be asymptomatic for a long time – up to a loss of 75% kidney performance.
Besides, signs of kidney disease in dogs can be very similar to many other diseases’ signs. For example, vomiting may be the result of eating a product that could not be digested but also can be one of the symptoms of canine chronic kidney disease.
Let’s find out about the remaining possible symptoms as well:
- Changes in eating behavior. The dog may refuse to eat while also experiencing increased thirst, nausea, vomiting, lose weight quickly, and suffer from diarrhea. Changes in the color of urine and feces are also possible.
- High temperature. This condition is characteristic of acute renal disease.
- Disorders of the nervous system. The dog may suddenly become lethargic, lose coordination, experience shortness of breath.
- Changes in appearance. The skin of the dog may become drier and flaky; the dog may begin to shed.
Note! None of the symptoms is a definite sign of kidney disease in a dog. All signs of kidney disease in dogs may indicate various other disorders as well. Moreover, sometimes it is difficult enough to even distinguish one kidney disease from another. This requires veterinary experience and comprehensive clinical equipment.
Therefore, do not try to diagnose a kidney disease yourself, but consult with a doctor at the first sign of changes!
Treatment and care
Of course, the treatment will depend on the disease itself and the condition of your dog.
- The acute stage of the disease requires an immediate response. In this case, the dog receives a dropper in a clinic, as well as additional medications depending on the source of the disease.
- If your dog is at a mild stage of kidney disease, then it is necessary to determine the cause, most likely review the diet and purchase supportive medications for the kidneys.
- If tumor processes in the body cause kidney disease, then the veterinarian must first determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant, suggest surgery if possible, and explain to you all the associated risks.
- Chronic kidney disease in dogs needs lifelong monitoring, proper nutrition, and regular blood and urine tests.
Prevent kidney failure
In the case of kidney diseases, it is easier to prevent than to treat them. Follow these tips to reduce your dog’s risk:
- Plan your dog’s preventive examinations every six months and take all the necessary vaccinations that your veterinarian prescribes. Be especially careful if your dog is prone to kidney disease due to the nature of the breed.
- Choose the best quality food for your dog that you can afford. Feed your dog according to the instructions on the packaging to avoid the problem of excess weight. Do not let the dog feast off your table.
- Do not let your dog drink water if you are not sure about its quality. Take along a dog bowl if you are going for a long walk. And also control how much water the dog consumes to notice if she drinks more than usual.
In most cases, a dog’s kidney disease is not a death sentence. But this is a condition that requires additional care and control.
- Keep your dog calm. During recovery from treatment, your dog needs rest. Make the dog’s resting place more comfortable and ask children not to touch it.
- Ensure your dog’s safety in case he gets lost. A dog that suffers from chronic kidney disease needs increased attention every day. Special health conditions can be disastrous if the dog is lost and not returned to you in the next few hours. Get a QR pet tag to prevent this from happening.
In this way, you’ll register your pet in the international animal database and create an online profile of your dog. The profile will store all vital pet information and medical history as well. In case somebody finds your dog, they will be able to quickly scan the QR code and find out that the dog needs special care, and contact you immediately.
Although kidney failures are common for dogs, they can be cured and prevented. The main rule is simple – always be on alert and notice even insignificant changes in your dog’s mood and behavior. Sometimes, your timely response will be enough to avoid severe consequences.
Jack Fisher is a devoted animal lover and animal rights activist, spending his spare time on writing motivational pet-related topics. He’s parenting two rescue dogs and two cats with a strong belief that every stray animal should find a loving home.