Increased hurst, change in urine:
One of the main functions of the kidney is to regulate the amount of water retained in the body. If the body is slightly dehydrated the kidneys will save water and produce concentrated urine. When the kidneys malfunction or are diseased they may lose their ability to save water and pass large amounts of dilute urine. If a lot of water is lost in the urine your dog will try to make up for this by drinking more. These signs of increased urination and thirst could be the first sings of kidney disease noticed at home. A gradual reduction in the ability of the kidneys to do their job is an inevitable part of the ageing process and occurs at varying rates in different animals. The damage is irreversible and will eventually be fatal. Your dog may still have many months of good quality life after diagnosis of kidney disease if receives effective treatment and you co-operate with your vet.
The other major function of the kidneys is to get rid of wastes and toxins from the body. When the kidneys are not working properly these substances accumulate and cause your dog to feel depressed, lose interest in food and eventually lose weight. The dog may seem depressed and lose interest in food, vomit regularly, lose weight and its coat becomes dull. You may also notice bad breath and ulcers in its mouth. In the very final stages of the disease your dog may go into a coma.
If the kidneys are inflamed or infected blood may appear in your pet's urine.
Kidney disease can have many causes. Some the more common causes include old age, cancer, viral or bacterial infections, excess calcium in the diet leading to kidney stones or exposure to poisons such as antifreeze.
Although there are many different causes of kidney diseases the end result is that the kidneys malfunction and you will notice some of the clinical signs discussed above. Your veterinarian should be consulted as soon as any of these sings are noticed as the sooner a diagnosis is made the greater the chance of being able to successfully treat your pet.
The first step will be for your vet to carry out a thorough physical examination as clues can often be found as to what the cause of the problem might be.
The kidneys have a lot of spare capacity for filtering blood, so symptoms only appear when about three-quarters of the kidney cells have stopped working. One of the first indications of disease is the loss of ability to produce concentrated (dark) urine. So to get rid of the same quantity of waste material your cat has to produce larger quantities of more diluted urine. Your cat will be thirstier than usual and have to pass urine more often. As the disease gets worse other symptoms may appear. Your cat may seem depressed and lose interest in food, vomit regularly, lose weight and its coat becomes dull. You may also notice bad breath and ulcers in its mouth. In the very final stages of the disease your cat may go into a coma.
In the case of kidney stones or infection discomfort with palpation of the kidneys may be detected.
The second step will likely involve blood and urine tests and possibly x-rays. These tests will supply your vet with a lot of information and will help narrow down the possible causes of your dog disorder. In some cases specialized tests may be required in order to reach a diagnosis.
If the cause can be determined treatment will be directed towards trying to cure the disease as well as giving supportive care. For example, if your dog is diagnosed with a kidney infection then antibiotics will be prescribed. While the antibiotics are working it may be recommended that your dog receive "fluid therapy" in the hospital in order to flush the kidneys and decrease the level of wastes and toxins in the body while giving the kidneys an opportunity to recuperate as much as possible. If the kidneys are severely damaged then complete cure may not be possible and long term fluid therapy may be required. You can readily learn how to give fluids under the skin at home which will make your pet feel better and extend his or her lifespan.
Chronic renal failure s common in old dogs and is a major cause of death. It is a slowly progressive condition and it is believed that proper clinical management may delay or stop progression. Dietary management is very inportant in the management of renal disease in older animals. The most important thing in helping your dog is to reduce the work load on the remaining healthy kidney tissue. This can be done by altering your dog´s diet. There are special diets available from your vet which reduce the waste products in the blood. They also have extra amounts of some vitamins and minerals. Avoid giving your dog leftovers or treats which may interfere with the new diet. Affected dogs often feel sick and lose interest in their food. It may help if you warm up the food to stimulate your dog´s sense of smell or hand feed it while it is getting used to the new food. Feed it little and often and throw away uneaten food. Always make sure your ´dog has plenty of fresh, clean water at all times, allowing your dog to go thirsty will make the problem rapidly worse. Your veterinarian will advice you about your pet's diet which may help slow the progression of kidney disease.
Should you notice any of the signs described consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible in order to determine the best treatment for you pet.