Kidney Failure: the Hows, Whys, and the Treatments

Jan 16, 2018 | Care & Wellness, Cats, Diagnosis, Dogs, Emergency Situations, Uncategorized

Just like us, our pet’s kidneys perform vital functions. They remove toxic wastes the body, help conserve water, regulate blood pressure, and are involved in red blood cell production. Unlike many other organs in the body, kidneys do not have the ability to regenerate well once they have suffered an injury. Because of this, treating kidney disease early is important.

Kidney disease can be divided into two broad categories, acute or chronic. Acute means that the kidney abruptly stops working—this is obviously very bad. Chronic means this has been a slow ongoing process. Acute flare ups can lead to chronic disease, and chronic disease will likely become acute in time.

Acute kidney failure

Let’s talk about acute kidney disease first. This usually happens as the result of some other trigger. For instance, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause acute kidney failure. If your dog licks up some anti-freeze, kidney failure could occur. Lilies are known to cause kidney failure in cats. Diseases like kidney infections, auto-immune diseases, and cancer all also impact the kidneys. The good news is that if treated early with aggressive fluid therapy before clinical signs begin, many of these animals can be restored to full or close kidney function. The idea is to flush the kidneys of the infection, proteins, or toxin. Depending on the cause of failure, various other treatments will be utilized. If kidney failure can be prevented, many animals go on to have normal lives. If the animal shows up to the emergency room already in kidney failure, this means that damage has already been done to the organs. Since kidneys have a set number of filter cells that do not regenerate well, these animals are predisposed to developing chronic kidney failure.

Chronic kidney failure

Chronic kidney failure is much harder to treat. It involves a progressive loss of function, and it can only be detected when 2/3 of the filter cells in the kidney (nephrons) have died.

It can be caused by acute kidney failure, toxins, cancer, infectious disease, or autoimmune disease.

In many cases, by the time chronic kidney failure is diagnosed, the cause has already resolved and cannot be identified. Fluids are, again, the best treatment. Just like humans with chronic kidney failure, animals will need subcutaneous fluids every day for the rest of their lives. These patients are predisposed to anemia, electrolyte imbalances, and trouble maintaining a good appetite as toxins buildup in the blood. With aggressive care and vigilant monitoring, chronic kidney failure patients can live many months to many years.

Diagnosing Kidney Trouble

Your veterinarian has several tools at their disposal for diagnosing kidney trouble. First, biochemistry panels can reveal increasing blood urea nitrogen and creatine—telltale signs of kidney malfunction. A urinalysis can show protein in the urine and a low specific gravity. Electrolytes should be monitored. A urine/protein ratio should be considered also. These tests allow your veterinarian to stage the disease and decide the best way to initiate treatment.

This is one of the many reasons that veterinarians recommend yearly bloodwork  and visits as patients grow older. If caught early, there is a much greater chance of your pet remaining healthy longer.

As mentioned above, chronic kidney failure is tough to detect until most of the kidney’s cells are dead. Many pets develop excessive drinking and urination. One of the most common signs is accidents in the house where a pet never had an accident before. Other signs include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, and even constipation.

Some of the causes of kidney disease can be prevented with education. Do not have lilies in a feline household, clean up spills of antifreeze immediately, and proper storage of hazardous chemicals are just a few. The other causes may or may not be preventable, but early diagnosis is key to a good outcome.

For more information, contact our team at VETSS!

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There was Jack Russell found by the old firehouse in Ruckersville. Suspected hit by car. Call VETSS 434-973-3519 if you think this is your animal or if you have any information as to who the owner might be. ... See MoreSee Less

There was Jack Russell found by the old firehouse in Ruckersville. Suspected hit by car. Call VETSS 434-973-3519 if you think this is your animal or if you have any information as to who the owner might be.Image attachment

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This is the post: MY NAME IS EMMA PEARL, I’M A JACK RUSSELL TERRIER, 13 YEARS OLD AND WEIGH APPROX. 13 PDS. I’M VERY SWEET AND FRIENDLY. I HAVE HAD ALL MY VACCINES, SO I’M SAFE TO PUT IN YOUR CAR FOR A RIDE BACK TO MY DAD IN MADISON, VA. I HAVE A SORE SPOT ON THE END OF MY CROPPED TAIL. I ALSO ESCAPE MY COLLAR AND TAGS REGULARLY. IF YOU HAVE SEEN ME AROUND OR PICKED ME UP, PLEASE CALL HIM… ANTHONY MORRIS 540-948-6174. ORIGINALLY LOST IN THE GRAVES MILL/MADISON, VA AREA.

Appreciate the thought Eileen Molloy Norris, but it is NOT Forrest. Hope it's his or her family is found and quickly!!

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Hope she finds her family and she’s ok! 💜

This may be Emma Pearl. Her owner lives in Madison, and she's been missing for a few weeks.

Is he being treated??

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Culpeper County Animal Shelter

I've tried calling the number we received for Anthony Morris and left a voicemail. Will try again

Anybody!! If no one found to claim him/her please contact me !!!!!!! Love them!!!! Name Blanca, I live in Orange 703-606-3094😪❤️

Emma Pearl is a tri color and has not been found.

I will try to find the owner's number. Emma Pearl is about 13 years old.

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If someone is missing a golden retriever in the Earlysville area please call us at 434-973-3519 for information!Image attachmentImage attachment

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My last Golden was found in that area, we had 16 years together 💕🐾

Shared that dog looks well taken care of. Someone is definitely missing their fur baby. Can you post on pawboost.com Va, nextdoor.com- helps reunite lost pets

Carolyn Foreman Betts in case you know anyone missing their baby!

Oh man I think maybe this dog came looking for me

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Such a cute name and the description of what she did to hurt her leg had me giggling but i feel bad for her..you guys are great and i know will fix her up!

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