Have you noticed lately that your dog is having trouble urinating and that the amount of urine is very small or almost nil? If so, he may be having kidney problems. Kidney failure in dogs is a more common disease than you might think.
Among the great variety of organs that dogs have in their bodies, the kidneys are one of the main ones since they are in charge of a multitude of vital functions, among which is the elimination of waste and excess fluid from your dog’s body through urine.
Throughout this process, they filter the blood in order to eliminate the wastes that have been generated and thus keep the body clean.
Therefore, kidney problems in dogs are not something you should take lightly.
Kidney failure in dogs, what are we talking about?
Kidney failure in dogs is a pathology that develops when the kidneys do not work properly and consequently lose their ability to filter and clean the blood.
As a consequence, the dog is not able to eliminate all the “waste” through the potty, which has repercussions for its health.
Types of kidney failure
In order to better understand this type of kidney problem, we must know that there are two types of kidney failure in dogs.
Chronic kidney failure
In this case, being chronic, it has prolonged over time. The kidney stops working properly over time, not immediately.
As it develops progressively, this type of kidney failure occurs in older dogs more than in younger dogs.
As a general rule, the cause of this type of kidney failure in dogs comes as a consequence of the dog’s own age, although in some cases it may be due to other factors, such as, for example, a tumor or an injury.
Keep in mind that senior dogs that show this type of failure are because the kidney has lost up to 75% of its normal functionality and that is why it has reached this situation.
Some of the symptoms may be a great need to drink fluids to generate a greater amount of urine (polydipsia and polyuria); vomiting; anemia or smaller kidneys.
Acute Kidney Failure
In this case, acute kidney failure occurs suddenly.
The kidney stops working immediately and can affect dogs of any age and at any time.
If your dog is affected by this type of kidney failure, he is most likely in trouble:
- In the filtering capacity of the kidneys.
- To produce urine and expel it
This causes an accumulation of waste products in the blood, leading to intoxication (uremia).
Is there a treatment? Yes, but keep in mind that if it is not detected in time, it can be fatal or lead to chronic kidney failure, which will accompany your dog for the rest of his life.
The symptoms that you must have under control are: anorexia, almost no or excessive urination, or pain in the abdomen.
For this reason, it is very important to have periodic control of your dog to avoid this type of kidney or other problems.
Causes of kidney failure in dogs
Depending on the type of kidney failure, the causes can be diverse.
In the case of chronic kidney failure in older dogs, the main cause is the dog’s age.
Like us, the use and wear of the organ can lead to the development of this pathology, especially if the diet or feed is not correct.
It can also be caused by an injury to one or both kidneys that has triggered kidney failure.
In the case of acute kidney failure, the causes can be diverse:
- Leishmania (I will leave you more information about this disease)
- Ingestion of toxic products
- Obstruction of the urethra
- Abuse of medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs or diuretics (not all, obviously).
Symptoms of kidney failure in dogs
Symptoms of kidney failure will appear in your dog the moment the kidneys stop performing their function of filtering urine and purifying blood.
If your dog suffers from any of these symptoms, he may be having kidney problems:
- Decreased food intake
- Drinking more water
- Mouth sores or ulcers caused by urea
- Excessive weight loss due to lack of appetite
- A strong urge to urinate (polyuria)
- Decreased urine volume and frequency (oliguria)
- The dog does not urinate (anuria)
- Blood in the urine
These are the main symptoms of kidney failure in dogs, and you should act urgently by going to your veterinarian.
How is this type of kidney problem diagnosed in a dog?
If you have observed any of the symptoms I have mentioned and have gone to the vet, he will perform a series of tests to verify that the cause is kidney failure and not something else.
To do this, the first thing he will do is a blood test. A urinalysis will also be performed.
With blood tests, we can check how the kidneys are filtering the blood by evaluating the substances that appear in it.
Urinalysis allows us to see if there is an infection and we also check the urinary concentration in the kidneys by measuring the density of the urine.
A third test that is usually done is a kidney ultrasound.
With ultrasound, we can check the size, shape, and density of the kidneys. In the case of chronic kidney failure, the kidneys are irregularly sized and smaller than normal and more dense.
Treatments for kidney failure in dogs
I told you that there are two types of kidney failure that your dog can suffer from, right?
Well, the treatment that your dog will have to follow will vary depending on the type he has.
For those dogs whose condition is due to acute kidney failure, the treatment to follow will be more intensive and fast-acting.
In this case, acute kidney failure may require the dog to be hospitalized in a clinic where he can be given intravenous fluids to avoid dehydration, blood pressure monitoring, and medications that can stabilize the dog and lower the pressure in the kidney.
If the type of kidney failure is chronic, the treatment to be followed will be different, since if diagnosed early, it can be better controlled.
The treatment for cases of chronic insufficiency is:
- Correct hydration: for this, the veterinarian will assess the use of serum by different routes to avoid dehydration of the furry.
- Correct feeding: to help your dog with its chronic renal pathology, there are a series of foods and feeds on the market with which to prepare a diet for dogs with renal insufficiency. It should be a nutritious and good-quality feed.
- Medications: With some, we will control and treat symptoms such as vomiting, and with others, we seek to improve the quality of life of our furry friends.
- Veterinary follow-up: especially if they are dogs older than 7 years, as they are more prone to suffering from this type of kidney problem.
Now that you have all this information about kidney failure in dogs, you can be alert to any of the symptoms and go urgently to your veterinarian.