Kidney disease in dogs is a severe condition that can significantly impact a pet’s overall health and well-being. The kidneys play a vital role in the body, helping to filter waste and toxins, maintain hydration and electrolyte balance, and regulate blood pressure.
Various symptoms may occur when these organs become damaged or diseased, including fatigue, loss of appetite, and increased thirst and urination.
This article will explore the most common causes of kidney issues in dogs, including age-related decline, genetics, infection, and exposure to toxins. We will also discuss how kidney disease in pets is diagnosed and treated and what steps pet owners can take to help prevent the development of this condition.
Kidney disease becomes increasingly prevalent as dogs age, with an estimated 10% of canines developing the condition at some point in their lives. The causes of kidney disease can vary and may affect different age groups and have varying consequences.
However, whether it is chronic kidney disease, which develops over time, or acute kidney injury, which occurs suddenly, the result is the same: a sick dog. The symptoms of kidney disease in dogs reflect the failure of these vital organs to perform their many functions properly.
The Common Causes of Kidney Disease in Dogs
Kidney disease is a prevalent issue among older dogs, affecting an estimated 10% of canines at some point in their lives. However, the causes of kidney disease can vary and may affect different age groups, resulting in different consequences.
Whether it is chronic kidney disease, which develops over time, or acute kidney injury, which occurs suddenly, the outcome is always the same: a sick dog. The symptoms of kidney disease in dogs reflect the failure of these vital organs to perform their many functions properly.
Below is a brief overview of ten common causes of kidney disease, which are often the focus of testing by veterinarians:
Damage to the kidney filters
The glomerulus of the kidneys is commonly involved in canine kidney disease. Initially, there may be no signs of illness, but over time, inflammation in the glomerulus can damage surrounding kidney tissues, leading to chronic kidney disease.
Infection of kidney tissues
One of the kidney illnesses that may have a better prognosis is the infection of kidney tissues by bacteria or, less frequently, by fungal organisms. The goal of pyelonephritis is to kill the bacteria that can cause damaging inflammation, which can limit the progression of chronic kidney disease or assist with recovery from acute kidney injury.
Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis)
Kidney stones can be caused by chronic bacterial infections or diseases that alter blood or urine characteristics. Nephrolithiasis (kidney stones) typically doesn’t cause much pain in dogs but can cause a blockage within the kidney or its collecting ducts, leading to infection and damage.
Kidney stones can fragment and be carried along with urine into the ureter, the long narrow tube connecting the kidney to the urinary bladder. If they become lodged in the ureter, they can cause partial or complete blockage, leading to the kidneys swelling and becoming damaged.
Damage to kidney tubules
Damage to the kidney and supporting tissues commonly leads to chronic kidney disease. Often, there is no identified cause and thus no option for specific treatment.
Bacterial infection with leptospires results in kidney disease and other organ problems in dogs and people worldwide. A quick acute kidney injury or, in rare cases, chronic renal disease in dogs may result from leptospirosis.
Thankfully, kidney cancer in dogs is not very frequent. Unfortunately, there aren’t many available treatments for kidney cancer. If the cancer is benign or has not progressed to other body organs, solitary tumors affecting only one kidney can be surgically removed with a satisfactory prognosis (including the opposite kidney).
For your dog to operate normally, just one healthy kidney is required. However, surgery will not be a viable treatment option for lymphosarcoma if the cancer is more widely disseminated, as is typically the case.
Microscopic biopsy or small needle sample analysis is needed for the correct cancer diagnosis and appropriate treatment plans.
Protein problem (amyloidosis)
As protein deposits take the place of healthy tissue in patients with amyloidosis, several organs, notably the kidneys, lose function. It is a rare result of persistent inflammation that affects other bodily components. In some dog breeds, it might also be genetically preprogrammed. Unfortunately, amyloid deposits cannot be cleared away, and the lost functional kidney tissue cannot be replaced, so the prognosis is not good.
Many purebred dogs have genetic links to various kinds of kidney disease. For example, some young dogs fail to develop normal kidneys or have significant grape-like kidneys with many fluid-filled cysts.
Even as puppies, these dogs exhibit renal disease symptoms. Other canines with congenital glomerulus issues or a propensity for amyloidosis may not exhibit kidney disease symptoms until they are adults.
Treatment options such as Pet Stem Cell therapy and traditional therapies can be used to manage kidney disease in pets. In addition, early diagnosis and treatment can help improve the prognosis and quality of life for dogs with kidney disease.
As a responsible pet owner, you must be aware of changes in your dog’s behavior and habits. Keeping a record of gradual changes can provide valuable information for your veterinarian during your next visit.
However, if you notice any sudden changes, you must contact your veterinarian immediately to schedule an evaluation for your dog. Early detection of kidney disease in dogs is crucial to managing the condition and prolonging your pet’s life. With your veterinarian’s guidance, you can work together to provide the best possible care for your furry companion.