Health Checks for Dogs

Dogs can have kidney failure, also called renal failure, if they have a health problem that affects the kidneys or organs close to them. Here, our Memphis emergency vets talk about some of the most common signs and symptoms of this potentially deadly disease.

Kidney (Renal) Failure

Renal failure, also called kidney failure, can be caused by several conditions affecting the kidneys and other organs. The kidneys of a healthy dog get rid of waste, control how much water the dog drinks, keep the right balance of electrolytes and release hormones that help the body make red blood cells. When a dog has kidney failure, its kidneys no longer work as well as they should.

Types of Kidney Failure in Dogs

Chronic kidney failure and acute kidney failure are the two main types of kidney failure in dogs.

  • Chronic Renal Failure: Chronic kidney failure is when the kidneys slowly stop working over weeks, months, or years. Dogs usually get chronic kidney failure because their kidneys break down as they age. Even though most dogs with chronic kidney failure can’t get better, the condition can often be managed well, giving pets a good quality of life for several months or years.
  •  Acute Renal Failure: In acute kidney failure, the kidneys stop working immediately and stay that way for a few hours or days. Most of the time, this type of kidney failure is caused by toxins or infection. Acute kidney failure can often be treated and cured if it is found and treated quickly.

Treatment for Kidney Failure in Dogs

As with many other health problems, how you treat your dog’s kidney problems will depend on their overall health and what’s causing them.

If your pet has acute kidney failure, it will need immediate and intensive care, often in the intensive care unit of your animal hospital. Still, if acute kidney failure is caught early, milder cases can be treated with fluids, antibiotics, and medicines without having to go to the hospital. In some cases, dogs with acute renal failure may need dialysis to get better.

When treating chronic kidney failure, the main goal is to stop the disease from worsening and improve your dog’s life. Chronic kidney disease can cause nausea, fluid imbalances, and changes in blood pressure. These symptoms can be treated with medicine or by changing your dog’s diet.

Many dogs with chronic kidney failure who get treatment live well for a long time afterward. Certain nutrients, nutritional supplements, or a therapeutic diet may be suggested to help you take care of your dog’s condition and improve the quality of life your dog.

Preventing Kidney Failure in Dogs

Dogs often get acute kidney failure when they eat poisons, spoiled foods, or foods they shouldn’t eat, like grapes or chocolate. Pay close attention to things in your home that could be poisonous to your dog if you want to keep it from getting acute kidney failure. Please keep your dog from dangerous things like antifreeze, human medicines, and foods that could hurt them.

Chronic kidney failure is usually caused by aging and is often determined by your genes, making it much harder to stop. Still, regular wellness exams twice a year at your primary care veterinarian’s office will help to increase the chances of catching symptoms early so that treatment can start before the condition worsens.

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