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Kidney Failure in Dogs

Kidney Failure in Dogs

Kidney failure is a very serious condition, and in dogs, it must be recognized and treated promptly. Here, our San Mateo veterinarians discuss kidney failure in dogs, including its symptoms and how it is treated.

Kidney Failure in Dogs

Healthy kidneys are working to eliminate toxins, regulate hydration, maintain a normal electrolyte balance, and release hormones required to produce red blood cells. In dogs diagnosed with kidney failure, the kidneys are longer performing these essential functions efficiently.

Kidney failure - also referred to as renal failure - can be caused in dogs by a number of diseases that impact the functioning of your pet's kidneys. There are two different types of kidney failure seen in dogs, chronic kidney failure and acute kidney failure.

In today's post, we look at acute kidney failure in dogs including the signs, symptoms, causes, treatments, and prognosis for dogs with acute kidney failure.

Causes of Acute Kidney Failure in Dogs

When kidney function suddenly decreases - within hours or days - this is known as acute kidney failure or acute renal failure. It is most often related to toxins or infections.

Acute kidney failure in dogs can result from dehydration as well as a bacterial infection called leptospirosis which is contracted through the ingestion of contaminated water. Other causes of acute kidney failure in dogs include the ingestion of:

  • Antifreeze (often licked up off of garage floor or driveway)
  • Grapes and raisins (hidden in other foods or alone)
  • Ibuprofen
  • Human heart medications
  • Overdose of canine medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and aminoglycoside antibiotics

Symptoms of Acute Kidney Failure

If you notice any symptoms of kidney failure in your dog, contact your veterinarian immediately. 

Some signs and symptoms of acute kidney failure in dogs include:

  • Increase or decrease in water consumption
  • Increase or decrease in volume of urine
  • Vomiting
  • Uncoordinated movement such as stumbling
  • Breath that smells like chemicals
  • Significant decrease in appetite
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Blood in urine
  • Lethargy

Diagnosing Acute Kidney Disease in Dogs

Your vet will run a series of blood and urine tests to confirm that your pup is suffering from kidney failure and to get a complete picture of the extent of the disease.

Common diagnostic tests used include radiographs (X-rays), ultrasound, blood tests, and urinalysis. The results of the test will give your vet a better understanding of your dog's condition, therefore enabling them to properly treat it.

Treatment for Acute Kidney Failure in Dogs

Some treatments for acute kidney failure in dogs include:

  • IV fluids to hydrate and flush out the kidneys. Once IV fluids have been administered your veterinary team will monitor your pet's urine production for signs of improvement.
  • Kidney dialysis (Hemodialysis)
  • Peritoneal dialysis (Feeding a tube directly into the pet's stomach to supply fluids which will be removed after some time to help flush out toxins).
  • Antibiotics may be administered if the cause of your dog's kidney failure is an infection.
  • Medications may be given to prevent or treat stomach ulcers (which are a common side effect of acute kidney failure).
  • In some cases, a feeding tube may be required until your dog is feeling better and able to eat on their own.

Survival Rate for Dogs With Acute Kidney Failure

The prognosis for dogs suffering from acute kidney failure is unfortunately poor. Estimates suggest that more than half of pets suffering from acute kidney failure either pass away from the condition or failure to treat it. 

Nonetheless, if caught early and treated aggressively some dogs are able to recover from acute kidney failure.

Through examination and diagnostic testing, your veterinarian will be able to determine the best next steps toward your pup's treatment.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you have noticed any symptoms of kidney failure in your dog, contact our San Mateo veterinarians right away.

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At South Hillsdale Animal Hospital, our experienced vets are passionate about the health of San Mateo companion animals. Get in touch today to learn more about our services and becoming a new client with us.

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