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Chronic Kidney Disease in Dogs

Chronic Kidney Disease in Dogs

Kidney disease is common in dogs and is classified into chronic and acute. This article will provide you with information about chronic kidney disease in canines.
Sonia Nair
As in case of humans, dogs too develop kidney disease. In fact, it is one of the common causes of death in older dogs. Kidney disease in dogs is classified into two types - acute and chronic. While acute kidney disease symptoms develop all of a sudden, chronic ones are found to develop gradually. It may take some weeks or even months for the symptoms of chronic kidney disease to develop in dogs.

What is Chronic Kidney Disease in Dogs

Kidney disease is often described as loss of a major part of normal kidney functioning due to damage caused to the organ. As the kidneys stop functioning properly, toxins will get accumulated in the blood, resulting in symptoms that may lead to death. In case of acute canine kidney disease, symptoms develop all of a sudden. This may be due to various causes, like dehydration, ingestion of toxic substances, bladder infection, bladder stones and tumor of the urinary bladder. As compared to the acute form, chronic kidney disease may develop over a course of time, during which the animal may not show any obvious symptoms. So, it is very difficult to detect the condition.

Apart from the normal wear and tear to the organ, causes of chronic kidney disease in dogs may include long-term infection of the kidneys, congenital defects and abnormalities of the organ, vascular diseases (that cause obstruction to blood flow to the kidneys), kidney damages caused by immune mediated conditions, hypertension and cancer. This condition is commonly associated with aging and so is one of the leading causes of death in older dogs. In case of small-sized dogs, symptoms may appear from the age of 10 to 14, whereas in large-sized dogs, such symptoms may be seen at an early age of seven. The symptoms may vary with both forms of canine kidney disease.

Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease in Canines

A dog with this type of kidney disease may not display symptoms associated with the condition, during the early stages. As mentioned above, damage to the kidneys leads to kidney disease. In case of chronic kidney disease, the normal parts of the kidneys will try to compensate for the damaged ones. This will continue for some time, till it becomes impossible. This results in complete renal failure. This is the reason why symptoms do not develop during the early stages of chronic kidney disease in dogs. Usually, symptoms appear when the condition gets severe and at that stage, it may be like acute kidney disease. The following are some of the symptoms displayed by dogs with this kidney disease.
  • Even though, there are very less chances of developing early symptoms, the dog may appear weak and may gradually develop loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Increased thirst and frequent urination are among the warning symptoms of this condition. Besides that, painful urination, loss of bladder control, bloody urine, etc., may also develop in the affected dogs.
  • Such dogs may also develop extreme fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, bad breath, depression and mouth ulcers.
Diagnosis and Treatment

Apart from studying the symptoms of the dog and conducting a physical examination of the animal, the vet may conduct blood test and urine test. In most cases, the condition is detected, after seventy-five percent of the organ gets damaged. As reversing the damage caused to the kidney is difficult, treatment is aimed at managing the condition, so as to make the animal as comfortable as possible. So, medication and supportive care is provided to the animal, so as to control the symptoms and to prevent further progression of chronic kidney disease in dogs. In some rare cases, kidney transplant is also done. Other measures include control of blood pressure and body acidity, preventing dehydration and providing the animal with good amount of fresh water, administering potassium supplements, controlling consumption of protein and salt, preventing stress to the animal, etc. In some cases, the kidney functioning may resume to some extent and will continue to work for a few months or even years, but some others may stop functioning as soon as the treatment is withdrawn.

The above said was a brief overview of the various aspects of chronic kidney disease in dogs. This article is only for informational purposes and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. So, it is always better to contact the vet, if your pet dog has any of the above mentioned symptoms.