Dog Renal Failure
From Pet Health Learning Center
Dog Renal Failure
What is Renal Failure?
The kidneys clean toxins out of the body. When they fail to do this for a prolonged period, chronic renal failure is the result. It may seem as though your dog is urinating normally, but if the toxins are not being cleansed, the kidneys will fail due to the presence of those toxins in the body.
In chronic renal failure your dog may actually seem to produce an excessive amount of urine. During this process the kidneys are failing to conserve water. Therefore the urine is not concentrated and the toxins remain due to the kidneys inability to conserve the water long enough for them to combine with the toxins.
Signs and Symptoms
You may notice your dog drinking more. This is done to provide the kidneys with an adequate amount of water to function. In time your dog will not be able to consume enough water to provide the kidneys with enough to concentrate by removing the toxins.
A diagnosis is made by a series of urine and blood tests. The urine sample will give a measure of specific gravity. This tells you how concentrated the urine is. If the urine is too dilute, the measurement will be between 1.010 and 0.020. The specific gravity of water is 1.000. Those numbers indicate a dilute urine. Normally the specific gravity is over 1.030.
BUN is a blood test that tests the blood urea nitrogen. Normally this protein excretion will yield a 25. If your dog is showing signs of renal failure or pre renal, it will be at least 60. For total renal failure the BUN can be over 150.
Creatinine is also a protein that the kidneys excrete. Normally the creatinine is below 2.0. Also tests for levels of potassium, phosphorous and hematocrit are done. With the potential of increased fluids being administered to your dog, the hematocrit may become too dilute. In order to increase the amount of red cells, you may be instructed on how to give injections of hormones to your dog.
Blood pressure is also checked. It is very possible for a dog in renal failure to have high blood pressure. Your dog may be placed on blood pressure medicine to combat this.
Mild cases of renal failure can be treated at home with injections that are placed under the skin. Dialysis is also available but is cost prohibitive for most dog owners.
Your dog will be placed on a diet that restricts protein, phosphorus and one that will promote the metabolic health of your dog.
There are other medications that will assist in maintaining potassium levels, vitamin D and injection of epogen, which is the hormone that will replace what the kidney is not producing. This can all be done at home.
Your veterinarian will prescribe the necessary treatment at home or at the hospital for your dog. There are many different things that can be affected by kidney failure and Dog Kidney Disease. Any changes in your dog's condition should be reported to your vet immediately.