Over the past few days, the behavior of your dog has started to play on your mind. Apart from wanting to urinate frequently, he started drinking more water than usual and not eating his food as well. Gradually, he started losing weight and even began vomiting. You are confused as to whether you need to take him over to the vet or should you wait up and see whether these symptoms die down on their own. Well, the best thing that you could do is to rush your dog to the vet for a check up, since there could be a problem with his kidneys. Kidney problems in dogs are as common as kidney problems in humans, and can be as dangerous if left untreated. Since the symptoms can easily be misread, it is vital to keep a watch for the slightest sign of trouble. Read on to find out more about what could cause renal problems in dogs as well as how you can recognize the signs and get your pet treated before it is too late.
Types Of Canine Renal Problems
- Chronic Renal Disease - It is caused by old age and its onset is rather slow. The damage is not completely reversible, but the progress of this form of kidney disease can be slowed down to a large extent.
- Acute Renal Disease - It is caused by autoimmune diseases, trauma, poisoning, cancer and infections. Reversal of the effects is possible at times, depending primarily upon the severity of the disease and the timing of treatment.
Canine kidney problems happen primarily when the nephrons are unable to keep up with the demand of clearing out toxins from the blood stream and the remaining nephrons are unable to cope with the added burden on them. However, it has been noticed that if the onset of the symptoms is slower, the remaining nephrons are able to handle the extra burden placed on them. Apart from the inadequacy of nephrons, there are times when the presence of too many toxins in the blood stream can cause renal problems in dogs. The primary toxins that can cause acute kidney failure are calciferol and ethyleneglycol. Ethyleneglycol causes the nephrons to develop small crystals within them, thus functionally shutting them down completely and causing death. Calciferol hikes up the levels of calcium in the dog’s body, therefore causing kidney-damaging deposits to form.
The symptoms of kidney problems in dogs do not show until the kidneys are around 25% non-functional. Therefore, by the time the symptoms begin to be manifest, it is the time to rush your pet to the vet! Also, when early symptoms develop, people tend to confuse them with the symptoms of advancing age. So, you have to exercise extreme caution. Some of the main symptoms are as follows:
- Pale urine, with hardly any odor
- Frequent urination
- Leaking urine (in female dogs)
- Excessive drinking of water
- Weight loss
- Muscle weakness
Diagnosis is done by means of tests on urine and blood samples. The following findings confirm the diagnosis of kidney problems in dogs.
- The urine does not concentrate.
- There is high level of creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) present.
- The levels of protein in the urine are very high.
Treatments for all types of canine renal problems mainly involve support of the kidneys. This is done until they begin to function normally again or until the remaining functional nephrons are able to take on the task of the non-functional nephrons. Some of the ways in which this is done are as follows:
- Giving food specially made for animals suffering from kidney disease
- Using steroids or erythropoietin, in case of anemia
- Giving plenty of water
- Giving medication to stop vomiting
- Giving vitamin B supplements to treat vitamin deficiency
- Giving intravenous fluids to flush out toxins
- Giving sodium bicarbonate, in order to help regulate pH levels