What is kidney disease?
– The kidneys are organs that filter waste products out of the blood stream. When they are damaged, waste products can build up in the body causing illness. Once kidney damage has occurred, dogs cannot regenerate this tissue. Unfortunately, dogs can lose up to two-thirds of their kidney function before they start showing signs of decreased function.
What are the symptoms?
Kidney disease can cause many different symptoms such as:
- Weight loss
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Tiredness (anemia)
- Loss of appetite
How will we test for kidney disease?
Your dog’s physical examination and medical history may reveal signs that your pet has kidney disease. We may recommend blood testing, urine testing, and an ultrasound to evaluate for this disease. These tests will help determine if your dog’s kidneys are functioning properly.
How will we monitor your dog’s kidney disease?
It is important that we periodically evaluate your dog’s kidney values after a diagnosis of kidney disease. Kidney disease can advance over time, but with proper management we can usually help to slow the progression of the disease. We will schedule checkup appointments at periodic intervals to assess items such as your dog’s blood values, urine values, and blood pressure. Other specialized tests may be needed depending upon the type of kidney disease your dog has.
How will we treat this disease?
Almost every form of kidney disease will require a change to a prescription diet. This diet will help take pressure off of the kidneys so they can function to the best of their abilities. In addition, dogs with kidney disease can easily become dehydrated so access to an adequate water supply will be important. Many dogs with kidney disease eventually require medications and supplements. These will be prescribed as needed. These treatments can help to prolong your dog’s kidney function and maintain their quality of life.