Catch it early, and believe me -there is real hope!
The causes of Chronic Kidney Failure are usually aging, when the kidneys simply do not work as well as they used to, to filter wastes from the bloodstream (as opposed to Acute Kidney Failure which can be caused by poisoning, severe infection, or other diseases.)
Now Chronic Kidney Failure often creeps up unnoticed. Your dog may just "slow down" (you attribute that to the natural aging process) or there may be "accidents" in the house, with a well-trained dog that never happened before. Even things like this can be attributed to the natural aging process.
Or....there can be hardly any signs at all! The dog appears fit and well, eating well, sleeping well, chasing frisbee! (like mine was)
But there are early-stage signs, and the secret of catching this disease early is being very observant for those signs.
What to look out for:
*He/she has suddenly started to drink more. (that's usually the very first sign) That can be missed, particularly if the dog drinks from different places during the day, instead of his usual water-bowl. Or it's an "outside" dog. Or it might be hot weather, so drinking more might make sense....or he/she has been racing about outside. The thing to look out for is drinking more every day. Although drinking more can also be a symptom of other disease, such as Cushing's, or Diabetes.
*"Accidents" or bed-wetting....even a little bit. Urinating in unusual places can mean other things apart from kidney issues, (often a urninary infection) but the fact is that with kidney issues, the dog's thirst increases as the kidneys are put to harder work, and produce more urine. So the dog will most likely have a very full bladder a lot of the time, and after a night's sleep, for example, it may be overwhelmed.
My dog started drinking more. That was all. She appeared totally fit and well. I took her to the vet, he ran a urine test. All normal. He told me she wasn't drinking more than the recommended amount for a dog her weight and to bring her back in a month or two if it carried on. I waited a week, it carried on, PLUS she started to wet the bed. I knew something was wrong. I insisted on a thorough bloodwork for her.
The bloodwork was all good....except the Creatinine and Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) were slightly elevated. Now normally, the vet will wait a few days and repeat the bloodwork, as these can be elevated for other reasons (hard exercise or dehydration for example)
But in her case we decided on immediate treatment. The vet said it was a good thing I had pushed him to do the bloodwork, as he normally may not have thought much was wrong with her.
She was prescribed an ACE inhibitor (Benazecare 5mg) -which increases blood flow to the kidneys.
She was given a course of antibiotics (in case of any possible sub-clinical infection which was not great enough to show in the bloodwork, but enough to stress the kidneys at all)
She was given a Renal Diet.
This was last October.
Her bloodwork was repeated in November, and the Creatinine and BUN had come down markedly, to the borders of "upper normal".
Again her bloodwork was repeated last week. Her BUN and Creatinine is now perfect, well in "normal" parameters. Hopefully they will stay that way for a long time to come.
So act fast if you see that your dog has started to drink more water -no matter how well your dog might appear to be. Caught early there is a LOT that can be done to help.
Thanks for the warnings and information, our dog is almost 13 and not showing any symptoms, but I definately will be looking for them. It would be great to catch a disease early and be able to see improvements instead of watching them go downhill fast.
Yes, it's very easy to miss those early signs, especially if the dog is an outside dog, or a fairly heavy drinker anyway. It does pay to be really observant of our dogs' habits.
I read a lot of posts where the kidney failure has been discovered at a much later stage, by which stage it is hard to handle.
Although kidney failure is actually incurable, it does show that treating it at a very early stage, and continuing to be watchful, and having the regular blood work done CAN turn things around to a certain extent. There IS hope with a disease like this.
Ginger, this is a very nice posting.
It does offer hope to others who are lucky enough to catch this disease early.
Yes, we do need to pay attention to our dogs habits. I realized that TwoBits was having "accidents" once in a while, but seeing how she wasn't "Acting Sick," I just figured it was a weak bladder, due to her old age. That was my first mistake, and one that will never happen again.
The day that she refused to eat, was the day I knew something was wrong.
You can bet, that from now on,when my dogs enter their senior years, I will be sure to have my dogs kidney and liver functions tested yearly.
This is it, sweetheart....you weren't to blame there. When it's an older dog, it's the first thought that maybe they are just aging naturally, and have weaker muscles etc, if they have accidents. You wouldn't necessarily THINK "Kidney Failure" -especially if they seem perfectly well otherwise.
To be honest, in my case it could be that my selfishness saved the day! I like to sleep long and soundly if at all possible, and hated having to put the alarm on once or twice in the middle of the night to take her out to pee! I was beginning to feel like the Walking Dead! And her sleeping with me helped, because I would wake up with a wet bed, or a wet arm or something, and thought "there is only so much of this I can squelch about in" lol!
I thought -surely this can't be forever! Let's get her checked out!
I guess it would had been nice to know what really killed my dog Jack.
I knew it could had been several problems and Kidney's could well have
been one of them. What gives me nightmares was he would sleep in
our bed and would lay his head on my neck, which was a sign of him
hurting. I would try to medicate him during that time with what the
Vet gave me, but he needed major help and I fell asleep at the wheel.
There was no excuse for me to let him slip away so fast. I think it's wonderful you were able to save your dog Ginger. You are such a good
and wonderful person and your dog is very lucky to have you. Jack was sick the day we got him, he lived 5 years and some say that was good for his liver shunt and other problems, but I can't help to think I could had done more.
He was my best friend besides Lynn and we both miss him everyday.
Mark, you have to know that although you couldn't save your Jack in the end, to give him more and more years, it was YOUR LOVE and YOUR HELP that gave him those five years he had. I can't help thinking that if he'd lived with someone else, he may well not have made it to five years.
My 2 yr old female lab/bulldog mix was diagnosed with kidney failure 5 days ago. she was given the lo protein diet and azodyl. The vet thought an ace inhibitor was optional but after reading your posts and replies i will get her the enapril . the fact that you dogs blood values improved was very encouraging..thank you.puppylove179
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