Renal (kidney) disease can be divided into two broad categories: acute and chronic. Acute renal disease develops over the course of days and usually has a single cause, such as antifreeze poisoning or a kidney infection. Chronic renal disease comes on much more slowly and is typically diagnosed in older dogs. It is the result of the gradual loss of kidney function. Most often, a cause is never identified. Here are 5 signs of kidney disease in dogs.
1. Changes In Urination
The kidneys play a vital role in keeping water where it is needed—inside the body. Producing large amounts of dilute urine is one of the first signs of renal disease in dogs. This can result in more frequent trips outside and accidents in the house.
On the other hand, dogs with severe acute renal disease often produce less urine than normal and as the condition progresses, may ultimately produce none at all. Their kidneys have completely shut down
2. Increased Thirst
When water is being lost from the body in the form of large amounts of dilute urine, dogs with renal disease become dehydrated and thirsty. Your dog’s excessive thirst is because your dog is unable to keep up with drinking the amount of water needed to flush out the toxins.
As a result, toxin levels elevate within the bloodstream. At the beginning, they can compensate by drinking more water, but eventually they can’t drink enough to replace what is being lost.
Dehydration makes dogs feel bad. They lose energy and may simply want to rest rather than take part in the activities they used to love. Healthy kidneys are also responsible for filtering waste products out of the bloodstream and putting them into urine to be eliminated from the body. Renal disease compromises this important kidney function, which results in increased blood levels of metabolic waste products like blood urea nitrogen and creatinine. This also makes dogs feel sick.
Finally, in cases of chronic renal disease, the kidneys no longer produce enough of the hormone (erythropoietin) that stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. The result is anemia and worsening lethargy
4. Poor Appetite
All of the metabolic changes that produce lethargy in dogs with renal disease can also make them feel bad enough that they lose their appetite. Dogs with chronic renal disease often have had a poor appetite for such a long time that they lose significant amounts of weight.
Dogs with renal disease are also at higher than average risk for developing gastrointestinal irritation and ulcers. These conditions cause nausea and abdominal pain (especially after a meal), making affected dogs even less likely to eat
5. Gastrointestinal Signs
Dogs with advancing renal disease will often start to vomit as a result of the irritation and/or develop ulcers within their gastrointestinal tract, along with other metabolic changes. Some dogs also develop diarrhea, but if dehydration becomes severe enough, constipation may result.
However, kidney failure can happen slowly, and this can make the condition difficult to treat effectively, because by the time the symptoms have become evident, it is too late. Often a dog’s kidneys find ways to compensate for function losses, which makes it all the harder to recognize signs and symptoms early
Faith Courtney is a dog lover who can’t get enough of K9 love. She’s had dogs around her home since she was 8 years old. Many years on, she still keeps dogs around her home. Her family likes nothing more than to take the dogs out to the a dog park where they all can stretch their legs.
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