Kidney disease in dogs is very serious and is usually incurable. It is a condition that often affects older dogs and is related to the declining years in the life of a dog. There are two types of kidney disease in dogs – acute and chronic. When the kidneys fail to function in the proper way, by eliminating toxins from the body, the toxins build up and usually end up damaging the kidneys irreparably. It is usually very devastating to the dog owner to discover that their dog has kidney disease. However, there are some things that can be done to make the dog comfortable and prolong life.
Causes of kidney disease in dogs
One common cause of kidney disease can be drinking antifreeze, a toxin that is known to kill dogs. Trauma and blood loss are also causes of acute kidney disease.
When it comes to chronic kidney disease in dogs, this is usually related to age. As a dog ages, his health begins to fail and his organs to slowly stop functioning at normal levels. In some cases, the cause of chronic kidney disease can be the fact that the kidneys were malformed and it is a congenital birth defect. Cancer, hypertension and immune diseases can also contribute to kidney disease in dogs.
Symptoms of kidney disease in dogs
As the kidneys stop functioning at a normal level, the symptoms of kidney disease become more apparent. Any dog owner should be aware of this condition, especially as it is common in older dogs. Some of the symptoms of kidney disease in dogs include the following:
A stiff, arched back
Reduced urine production
Blood in urine
Acute kidney disease is life threatening for the dog and any signs of kidney disease require emergency treatment. There are ways that kidney disease can be treated if caught early. Often, the condition is not caught in time and brings a death sentence to the dog who has toxins fill up in the body so that all the organs shut down.
Treatment of kidney disease in dogs
After the diagnosis of kidney disease in the dog is made, the vet will then advise the dog owner on what to do. Most dog owners are devastated over this news because in most cases, it is incurable. If caught early, the toxins can be eliminated from the body. However, since most symptoms show up after the kidneys have lost two thirds of their function, a cure is usually impossible. Vitamins, natural herbs and ingredients like cinnamon bark, marshmallow and wild hydrangea can help to reduce the inflammation of the kidneys. Dogs with kidney disease should be given plenty of water and also have their salt intake reduced so that they do not dehydrate. Underlying causes for the disease should be examined. In the case of acute kidney infection, death may be imminent. In the case of chronic kidney disease, the owner can preserve the life of the dog and make him comfortable and well rested.
In very rare cases, a kidney transplant on the dog can be performed. This is very unusual, however, and expensive for the dog owner.
Prevention of kidney disease in dogs
In older dogs that simply have failing kidneys, there is nothing that the owner can do to prevent it, except make the dog comfortable and try to watch the diet so that the kidneys do not have to work too hard. A dog with chronic kidney disease can end up living for years with the illness.
Making sure that the dog does not ingest toxins is one way to prevent kidney disease. Keep antifreeze out of your garage or lock it in a place where the dog cannot get to it. You should keep the dog out of the garage because of the dangers of antifreeze leaking from the car.