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Kidney Failure in Dogs: Treatment & Recovery

Kidney failure in dogs is a very serious, and often fatal condition. Today, our Fremont vets discuss kidney failure in dogs including the signs, treatment options, and recovery.

Kidney Failure in Dogs

Toxins are eliminated by healthy kidneys, hydration is regulated, an electrolyte balance is maintained, and hormones necessary for red blood cell production are released. In dogs with kidney failure, the kidneys are no longer performing these vital functions efficiently.

Kidney failure - also referred to as renal failure - can be caused in dogs by several 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 kidney failure in general including common signs that can be seen in both, as well as treatment options and the prognosis of the condition.

Signs of Kidney Failure

Signs of acute kidney failure in dogs appear quickly, usually within a few hours or days of ingesting the toxin. Chronic kidney failure symptoms will develop gradually and may be less noticeable. If your dog has kidney failure, you may see one or more of the following symptoms:

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

Diagnosing Canine Kidney Failure

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. Radiographs (X-rays), ultrasound, blood tests, and urinalysis are typically used when diagnosing kidney failure. The results of these diagnostic tests will also provide your vet with a more complete picture of the extent of the condition. In some cases, a biopsy of the kidney may also be recommended.

Treatment for Kidney Failure in Dogs

Kidney failure poses a serious health risk for dogs. Hospitalization and intensive care may be necessary to save your beloved pet's life. The hospital staff will closely monitor your dog's heart rate, blood pressure, and overall condition while administering appropriate medications and treatments, such as:

  • 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 common side effects of kidney failure).
  • In some cases, a feeding tube may be required until your dog is feeling better and able to eat on their own.

Can a dog recover from kidney failure?

This is a serious condition, and unfortunately, the prognosis for dogs suffering from kidney failure is poor. According to estimates, more than half of all pets with kidney failure die or are euthanized to avoid suffering.

Having said that, if detected early and treated aggressively, some dogs can recover from kidney failure.

After a thorough examination and testing, your veterinarian will be able to give you an accurate prognosis for your pet's recovery. Your veterinarian will provide you with an estimate of treatment costs and advise you on the best course of action for your puppy.

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.

Is your dog showing signs of kidney failure? Contact our Fremont vets right away.

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