symptoms of kidney failure in dogs

Symptoms of Kidney Failure in Dogs

Reviewed by Alan Brus, DVM

You may need to know the symptoms of kidney failure in dogs, to be able to treat your dog as soon as possible. 

Renal failure, often known as kidney failure, is caused by a variety of disorders that affect the kidneys and surrounding organs. 

Toxins, which are waste products from normal cell functions,  are expected to be eliminated, hydration is regulated, an electrolyte balance is maintained, and hormones essential for red blood cells production are released by healthy kidneys. 

What is Kidney Failure in Dogs?

symptoms of kidney failure in dogs

Kidney failure happens when the kidneys are no longer able to operate properly. This condition may be divided into two kinds in dogs:

Chronic Renal Failure

Chronic renal failure occurs when the kidneys gradually lose their ability to function (over a period of weeks, months, or years). 

Degeneration associated with old age is the most typical cause. While all kidneys have a life expectancy, certain dogs’ kidneys may age more quickly than others.

Acute Renal Failure

Kidney function may deteriorate quickly over a period of hours or days. Acute renal failure is a condition that occurs as a result of eating poisons or developing infections.

Chronic renal failure differs from acute renal failure in that acute renal failure may usually be reversed if treated early and aggressively, but chronic renal failure can only be managed.

What Causes Kidney Failure in Dogs?

symptoms of kidney failure in dogs

Kidney failure can be caused by any condition that affects the kidneys, such as:

Congenital Disease: Includes a wide range of inherited disorders and underlying ailments, including cysts and agenesis (being born missing one or both kidneys).

Dental Disease: Bacteria accumulation on teeth and gums can lead to advanced dental disease. The bacterium builds up here, then enters the circulation to assault several organs, including the kidneys, liver, and heart, causing irreparable damage.

Bacterial Diseases: Drinking or swimming in polluted water puts your dog at risk of contracting bacterial infections like leptospirosis. Inflamed kidneys and renal cells may be destroyed as a result of this.

Toxicosis: When the kidneys are poisoned, the cells inside the kidneys might be harmed. If your dog ingests medications or toxins, this can happen (including substances or foods that are toxic to them).

Geriatric Degeneration: As your dog ages, the cells in his or her kidneys may break down and die, which can lead to kidney disease.

Kidney failure can be caused by anything that reduces blood flow through the kidney. This encompasses any type of dehydration (such as severe vomiting and diarrhea). 

Kidney failure can also be caused by heat stroke or other conditions that cause extensive tissue destruction, such as bee stings or snakebites.

Signs of Kidney Failure in Dogs

symptoms of kidney failure in dogs

Early Symptoms of kidney failure include excessive dehydration, and Increase or decrease in urine volume. 

Later stages of kidney failure may show signs like: 

  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Pale gums
  • Breath that has a chemical odor to it
  • Appetite decreases significantly
  • Vomiting
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Uncontrolled movement, such as stumbling,
  • Bloody urine
  • Seizures in the intestine

The kind of kidney failure your dog is having, as well as the level of renal function loss, the course of the ailment, and the underlying cause, may all help determine if the symptoms are due to kidney problems or something else, such as diabetes mellitus.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to contact your veterinarian.

Diagnosis of Kidney Failure in Dogs

symptoms of kidney failure in dogs

Blood and urine tests are used to diagnose and assess the degree of acute renal failure. Other procedures, such as radiography (X-rays), ultrasounds, and specific blood tests, are frequently required to diagnose the reason for kidney failure. A kidney biopsy is sometimes recommended.

The reason for renal failure, on the other hand, is not always obvious and may never be diagnosed.

Treatment of Kidney Failure in Dogs

symptoms of kidney failure in dogs

The condition and underlying cause of your dog’s kidney problems will dictate how she is treated, much like many other disorders. Acute renal failure in dogs can be fatal. They may need to be treated in a hospital’s critical care unit.

Initial treatment of kidney failure in dogs may include antibiotics, fluid therapy, and medicines. Dialysis, despite its high cost, can be quite successful.

Chronic kidney failure is often handled by veterinarians by focusing on reducing the disease’s course and examining strategies to improve the patient’s quality of life. 

Fluid imbalances, nausea, blood pressure swings, and other symptoms will need to be addressed, usually by dietary and pharmaceutical adjustments.

Potassium may be given to the dog. This element is an electrolyte that is generally found in small amounts in the blood. 

Potassium levels in acute renal failure can rise to hazardous levels, but in chronic kidney failure, levels tend to fall. 

The high potassium level causes the heart to slow down and maybe halt. Alternatively, renal failure can induce extremely high blood pressure, necessitating the administration of blood pressure medicine on a regular basis. 

Blood arteries in the eye or brain might rupture due to high blood pressure.

After being diagnosed with renal failure, dogs can have a good quality of life for years (some indications even up to four years). 

To control the problem, your veterinarian may suggest a therapeutic diet, nutritional supplements, or particular nutrients.

Prognosis of Kidney Failure in Dogs

symptoms of kidney failure in dogs

Acute renal failure remains a dangerous and frequently deadly condition, despite all of the breakthroughs in therapy. Because of their failure to react to supportive care, over 60% of dogs and cats with this condition die or are mercifully killed.

Dialysis is normally reserved for patients who have failed to respond to medical therapy, and the risk of mortality without dialysis is about 100 percent. Depending on the underlying cause of kidney failure, 50 percent of those people may recover with dialysis.

Even when patients recover from acute renal failure, their recovery may be partial, leaving them with chronic kidney disease and the need for lifelong care.

Prevention of Kidney Failure in Dogs

symptoms of kidney failure in dogs

Because contaminated meals, items they shouldn’t eat (like grapes), and interactions with toxins are all significant causes of acute renal failure in dogs, owners can often prevent it.

Remove possible poisons from your home, such as ethylene glycol-based antifreeze (which is harmful to dogs), and keep pharmaceuticals and other dangerous-for-dogs foods or substances out of reach of their curious nose.

Chronic renal failure is, unfortunately, generally age-related and genetically predetermined. 

Bringing your dog in for regular physical exams and yearly wellness checkups, on the other hand, will boost the chances of detecting these issues early. 

Following that, your veterinarian may be able to devise a treatment strategy. Your dog’s kidney failure may be identified and perhaps cured with the help of your veterinarian, giving her the chance to live a long and happy life.

When to See a Veterinarian

symptoms of kidney failure in dogs

It’s time to schedule a consultation if you suspect your dog is suffering from chronic or severe renal failure.

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