The kidneys are one of the most important organs in a dog's body. They filter toxins out of the blood, maintain the body's blood pressure, and helps produce red blood cells. With these functions it is no wonder why kidney disease can be serious.
What are some causes of kidney disease?There can be many causes of kidney disease in dogs. Here are some of the most common:
1) Toxin IngestionToxin ingestion can involve chemicals and even food. Anti-freeze - many dogs are attracted to anti-freeze because of its sweet taste. Unfortunately, when ingested this chemical causes major changes with the kidneys leading to kidney failure.
2) Grapes and RaisinsThough they are a tasty treat for many humans they can be deadly for many dogs. The specific mechanism behind the poisoning is uncertain but ingestion can lead to kidney failure.
3) Human MedicationsThis can happen when people tend to self medicate their pets. The common culprit in this scenario includes drugs like advil, ibuprofen, or Naproxen. Dogs don't metabolize these drugs the same way humans do so when dogs are given these drugs they can cause organ failure including the kidneys and liver.
Diagnosis of Kidney DiseaseThe most common way to diagnose kidney is by bloodwork. There are certain factors in the bloodwork that are outside normal range that could indicate that there is evidence of kidney disease. The two most common factors are Blood Urea Nitrogen and Creatinine. Other values that are looked at are phosphorus and concentration of the urine.
Treatment of DiseaseTreatment and success of the disease depends on the cause of it. Typical treatment usually involves intravenous fluids to help flush the kidneys and bring down the values in serious conditions. Other issues that may have to be addressed may include anemia and high phosphorus levels. There are dogs that may require additional medications such as aluminum hydroxide and a special kidney diet. Sometimes dogs are sent home with a at home treatment which involves giving fluids under the skin at regular intervals.
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Prognosis of Kidney DiseasePrognosis of kidney disease depends on initial cause. With kidney disease caused by toxin ingestion, prognosis will depend on how much of the toxin was ingested and how early it was treated. With age-related changes treatment can slow down the progress of the disease, but eventually the dog will succumb to the disease.
Final Thoughts on Kidney DiseaseKidney disease can be challenging and devastating in dogs. Early treatment and diagnosis can be the key to improving the success for this disease. Unfortunately long-term prognosis may be poor.
Dwight Alleyne, DVM Dwight Alleyne, DVM is the author of the Animal Doctor Blog, a blog that provides veterinary information about cats and dogs through articles and product reviews. He has almost 20 years of animal experience with 10 years as a veterinary technician and more than 9 years as a veterinarian. He currently practices in Georgia at a small animal practice where he provides veterinary services through surgeries and medical consultations. When he is not working, Dr. Alleyne enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter, and 7 year old cat named Queen.