How to Deal With Kidney Failure in Your Dog

By September 14 | See Comments

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Canine kidney failure is a condition that not only frustrates the affected animal, but also the human owner. If you’re pet owner who just found out that your dog has kidney failure, the news can be extremely disheartening.There is no denying that the times ahead are going to be tough. However, it doesn’t have to be as painful as you imagine it to be. You still have the ability and power to make your dog’s life a little better and even prevent the condition from progressing too soon.The solution lies in using a broad approach. The more attention you pay to your dog’s needs, the longer you are likely to have him/her around.But, before we look at the solution, let us first take a look at kidney failure.

What is Kidney Failure?

Kidney failure or renal failure is not a condition in itself. Rather, it is the consequence of a condition known as kidney disease or renal disease. Kidney disease generally affects older animals, but, is found in younger animals as well.There are primarily 2 kinds of kidney disease – acute and chronic. In the former type, the symptoms show up all of a sudden, with the cause usually being toxicity. In the latter type, the condition is progressive and worsens gradually over time. The symptoms tend to be very unspecific, which makes it harder to detect at an early stage.The acute or chronic nature of kidney disease is determined by the cause. As for causes, there are many including age, infections (viral, bacterial or fungal), abnormal protein deposits (amyloidosis), trauma, toxicity (through ingestion of medication or toxic substances), and autoimmune diseases etc.General symptoms include an increase in urination and water consumption, along with nocturnal urination, vomiting, weight loss, lethargy and blood in urine etc. There could also be a decrease in or complete lack of urination as well.

Treatment

The only way to deal with kidney disease is by seeking medical treatment. Once your veterinarian is able to confirm the condition, which is achieved by observing symptoms and carrying out several tests, he/she will suggest a change in diet and prescribe medication and therapy.Fluid therapy is one form of treatment. This treatment is provided in direct response to your dog’s need for fluids, which is something that all kidney disease patients suffer from. Their kidneys fail to concentrate urine, resulting in more water being passed out. This affects the body’s fluid balance.So, you will be required to compensate for the fluid loss by giving your dog more water. As the condition progresses, your dog will require subcutaneous fluids. The administering of subcutaneous fluids can be done at home. Most veterinarians will train owners on this.Potassium may also be included in the fluids to maintain electrolyte balance and in some cases, fluids may be administered intravenously.Apart from Fluid Therapy, changes will be made to the dog’s diet. Usually, this included a low quantity-high quality protein diet. The idea is to minimize thee stress on the kidneys. The dietary change is introduced gradually to ensure that the dog gets used to it.The protein content must be optimal – more or less will lead to other complications. For example, low protein leads to protein malnutrition, which isn’t healthy at all.So, make sure your dog is checked on a regular basis by your vet. With the right kind of treatment, your dog is sure to live a better and longer life.

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