Fanconi syndrome is a progressive condition that can affect the kidneys of both dogs and cats. However, it’s more likely to appear in dogs. Fanconi syndrome occurs when the renal tubules of the kidney are unable to properly absorb electrolytes and nutrients (sodium, potassium, glucose, phosphate, bicarbonate, and amino acids) back into the body. Instead, these electrolytes and nutrients are released into the urine.
Why Did My Pet Develop Fanconi Syndrome?
Your cat or dog may have developed this condition because of genetic factors or by taking a medication that had an adverse affect on their kidneys. The most common causes are:
- Hereditary, meaning your pet inherited Fanconi syndrome. This cause is most common among dogs, especially those of the Basenji, Border Terrier, Norwegian Elkhound, Whippet, Yorkshire Terrier, Labrador Retriever, and Shetland Sheepdog breeds.
- Medications. Fanconi syndrome has been seen in dogs treated with the antibiotics amoxicillin, cephalosporins, and gentamicin, as well as the cancer drugs streptozotocin and cisplatin.
- Heavy metal poisoning. Lead, mercury, cadmium, and uranium are the metals most commonly seen in animals suffering from Fanconi syndrome.
How Will I Know if My Dog or Cat has Fanconi Syndrome?
Symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition and how far along it is. Most dogs begin to exhibit symptoms between three to seven years of age. The most common symptoms of Fanconi syndrome include:
What Are the Best Ways to Treat Fanconi Syndrome?
After completing a blood profile, as well as a urinalysis to gauge levels of sodium, potassium, glucose, phosphate, bicarbonate, and amino acids; your vet will suggest a treatment plan that best suits your pet. Keep in mind that while Fanconi syndrome can be treated, it can not be reversed or cured. Common ways to treat the condition include:
- Stopping all medications that may be toxic to the kidneys.
- Consistently providing the animal with fresh drinking water.
- Switching the animal to a low-protein diet that will be easier on the kidneys.
- Administering medications that assist in kidney functioning.
- Administering vitamin, mineral, and amino acid replacement (performed by a vet).
- Routine wellness checkups.
If not treated, kidney failure can occur. The animal will no longer be able to maintain homeostasis, meaning their bodily functions will shut down, ultimately resulting in death. In rare cases, Fanconi syndrome, upon blood testing, has been mistaken for diabetes, which, if improperly treated, can be dangerous for a cat or dog.
In an effort to prevent this condition from affecting your pet you may want to avoid medications that have been considered toxic to the kidneys.
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