Dogs and Kidney Disease

by Geraldine Dimarco

For an avid dog-lover, the loss of his pet is the single most traumatic experience. If this occurs due to an illness, it becomes even more tragic. Kidney disease is one such killer. It can manifest itself in two ways. One is acute kidney disease and the other is chronic kidney disease. The former strikes suddenly whereas the latter takes effect over a period of time. Either way, the result if fatal for the canine and heartbreaking for the owner.

Kidneys are an important organ for the body – human or canine. They are responsible for ridding the body of toxins by filtration. Kidney disease causes the kidneys to function at only about thirty percent of their capacity. If the kidneys stop working, the toxins accumulate in the blood and get deposited in other organs. Subsequently, the dog dies.

As the toxins start building up in various organs, they start to ‘shut down’ that organ. The owner can notice the apparent symptoms in such cases. The kidney disease hinders the body from functioning properly and the warning signals become more obvious. The signs can vary between the two types of kidney disease. Sudden dehydration is a sign of acute kidney disease. If you gently pull the skin of the stomach on your pet and it doesn’t spring back, then it could be that he or she is dehydrated.

You may have noticed your dog not wanting to pass urine or no urine production at all. This is also is a warning sign that your pet may be a victim of acute kidney disease. This disease can lead to your dog having extremely painful kidneys; or you may notice the animal moving with stiff legs or an arched back. These symptoms are signs for any dog owner to watch out for.

There are different symptoms shown with chronic kidney disease. Where they would usually gulp food they may begin to show signs of a decrease in appetite so drastic they do not want to eat. They could even stop eating all together. Weight loss will occur in time. An increase in thirst and the amount of water they drink will increase which is one of the first warning signs that the disease has begun. This signs are common with the condition. There may be an increase in the frequency of urination as the dog can lose bladder control. In some cases urination can become painful and often impossible with blood showing up in the urine. Any signs of urine symptoms, vomiting, lethargic or depressed in your pet should be treated as a warning sign and you should call your vet immediately since canine kidney disease is serious and can be deadly. It could be possible to get control over the disease if it is caught soon enough.

Kidney disease in dogs is serious and if the veterinarian suspects this he will normally follow four steps to determine if the dog has the disease or not. Firstly he will conduct a thorough physical examination. Secondly he will speak to the owner about their dog’s relevant history, regarding symptoms and behavior at home. After completing the first two steps he will conduct two steps, a blood test and urinary test. Both of these are necessary as to do one without the other will give a less certain diagnosis. Both of these tests will confirm whether your dog has the acute form or chronic kidney disease.

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