Kidney Disease in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know
Even though dogs are a distinct species, their bodies are pretty similar to humans. Dogs have kidneys to filter waste and balance nutrients in their bodies. Kidneys also aid in regulating blood pressure, the formation of red blood cells, and the metabolism of calcium. If your pet's kidney function is disrupted, it can lead to a cascade of health issues. Let's delve deeper to understand what kidney diseases in dogs are all about and what you can do to prevent them.
Kidney Diseases in Dogs
The kidneys serve a variety of purposes in the body of a dog. Primarily, they eliminate waste items from the bloodstream, regulate potassium and salt levels, preserve water, and create urine. Many people believe that chronic kidney failure or chronic renal failure indicates that the kidneys have stopped functioning and are no longer producing urine. But this isn't the case at all.
Chronic renal failure (CRF) or chronic kidney disease (CKD) is defined as the kidneys' inability to filter waste materials from the blood efficiently rather than the inability to make urine.
Surprisingly, most dogs with renal failure make a lot of pee, but their harmful wastes aren't eliminated efficiently. Chronic kidney disease in dogs is linked to aging and can be described as the 'wearing out' of the kidney tissues in basic terms.
The age of onset is frequently linked to the dog's size. The early signs of renal illness appear in most little dogs between the ages of 10 and 14. On the other hand, large dogs have a shorter lifespan and can develop kidney failure as young as seven years old.
What Causes Kidney Disease in Dogs?
It turns out that dogs can develop renal problems in a variety of ways. The first is acute or sudden and occurs when a pet consumes toxins such as antifreeze or some prescription drugs. A brief explanation of prevalent causes of renal disease is provided below.
Damage to the Kidney Filters (Glomerular Disease)In canine kidney disease, the glomerulus (kidney filtration mechanism) is frequently involved. Infections such as Lyme disease and cancer can induce glomerular disease, and time can exacerbate the problem. Inflammation in the glomerulus of the kidney affects the surrounding kidney tissues over time, resulting in chronic kidney disease in your dog.
Kidney Tissue Infection (Pyelonephritis)One of the kidney disorders with a better prognosis is an infection of renal tissues with bacteria or fungal species. When it comes to pyelonephritis, the goal is to eliminate the germs that can cause harmful inflammation. This will help in recovering from acute kidney damage or slow down the advancement of any chronic kidney disease.
Kidney Stones (Nephrolithiasis)Chronic bacterial infection, genetics, or disorders that alter blood or urine properties can all cause kidney stones. Although kidney stones do not appear to cause pain in dogs, this can change if they clog the kidney or its collecting ducts. Some canine breeds are more at risk of kidney stones than others. For example, kidney stones combining calcium and oxalic acid are more common in Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, and Lhasa Apsos. On the other hand, kidney stones with uric acid are more prevalent among the Yorkshire Terriers, the English Bulldogs, and Dalmatians breeds.
Infection with Bacteria (Leptospirosis)Leptospira infection causes kidney damage and other organ problems in dogs and humans all over the world. Leptospirosis usually has a rapid onset of symptoms and results in acute kidney damage. In some cases, the infection might lead to chronic kidney disease.
ToxinsAntifreeze isn't the only household ingredient that might harm the kidneys. Kidney illness can be caused by typical table foods like grapes and raisins, commercial jerky treat products, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals such as aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or prescribed medications. Toxins such as venoms, insecticides, and heavy metals are less common.
GeneticsFor many purebred dogs, there are genetic linkages to many types of renal illness. Some puppies do not grow normal kidneys or have enlarged, grape-like kidneys loaded with fluid-filled cysts. As puppies, these dogs show indicators of kidney dysfunction. Other dogs with glomerular abnormalities or susceptibility to amyloidosis may not develop signs or symptoms of renal illness until adulthood.
How to Detect Kidney Disease in Dogs
Blood and urine tests are primarily used in the diagnosis of acute renal failure. Other procedures, such as radiography (X-rays), ultrasounds, and special blood tests, are frequently required to diagnose the reason for kidney failure. A kidney biopsy is sometimes recommended. The symptoms of kidney illness may be difficult to detect, but if you observe any of the following, your dog may have a kidney issue:
- Loss of appetite
- Poor coat appearance
- Sore mouth
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Weight loss
Here is a list of rules you can follow to prevent kidney disease in dogs.
How to Prevent Kidney Disease in Dogs?
Follow a Proper DietA low-protein, low-phosphorus, and non-acidified diet is excellent. This type of food allows your dog's blood tests to stay as close to normal as possible, enhancing better health.
Consider Potassium Supplements
When urine output is high, potassium is lost. Low levels of potassium have been attributed to a reduction in renal function. A potassium supplement will help preserve kidney function by replacing the nutrients lost.
Consistently Hydrate Your DogFluids can be delivered beneath the skin once your dog has been stabilized (subcutaneously). As the kidneys' function begins to decrease again, this serves to "restart" them. This is done once a day to once a week, depending on how busy you are.
Observe Good Dental HygieneBy the time dogs reach their third birthday, one out of every three will develop periodontal disease. This inflammatory illness can be avoided through regular dental brushing and thorough cleanings with our veterinarian. What is the significance of this? Periodontal disease has been associated with an increased incidence of renal failure in dogs.
Be Aware of PoisonsA common cause of acute renal failure in dogs is poisoning. The problem is that many pet owners do not recognize something is harmful until it is too late. You can protect your canine companion from poisoning and reduce the risk of kidney disease by studying what substances and foods are detrimental to them.
Provide your Dog with a Complete and Nutritious Diet
Proper nutrition can address kidney diseases to a greater extent. These essential goals are prioritized in commercial diets for dogs with CKD. A renal support diet provides less protein, salt, and phosphorus and more omega-3 fatty acids when compared to regular adult dog chow.
Cornucopia Pet Foods provides healthy organic diets designed to support dogs with kidney diseases as they are low in salts and are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Starting your young dog with Cornucopia Pet Food products can help prevent the occurrence of kidney disease in the future while giving you value for your money.