Chronic Kidney Failure in Dogs Community
327 Members
17588597 tn?1459057246

Emotional Support

Hi everyone,
I found this group while researching my dog, Joshua, was diagnosed with acute kidney failure yesterday. We found out a few weeks ago that he has congestive heart failure, and apparently his meds has caused the kidney failure. He has had some kidney issues for a while that we were not aware of...
I am looking for ways to cope. I have been taking Joshua from the pet hospital to the emergency room the past two days. Tonight, his primary doctor told me that the only options are to wait and see how he responds to the IV treatments he's been receiving over a course of a week, but if he does not respond, we can either put him down or have him at home until he passes away. Hearing these things have been extremely hard the past few hours. I feel very guilty, like I failed him and I feel like I already lost him...
How have you dealt with this news? How are you coping now? I'd love suggestions...
15 Responses
1916673 tn?1420236870
Hello and welcome to our User Group.

I have sent out a general message asking group members to offer you some help and support. You will receive an automated copy of it, as it is sent out to all current members. Over the next day or two, the message will hopefully encourage others to leave you some responses.

In the meantime, I'm pleased you have found us here, although saddened that you have found the need to. Please stick with the IV fluids ... they are the key to improving blood numbers. After IV fluids, you will need to continue with SubQ fluids at home (your vet can show you how to do it) and that should continue for a further two to four weeks. Talk to your vet about it as soon as you can.

After that, if your dog rallies, we can offer lots more advice and support.

Avatar universal
Hi I'm so sorry to hear about Joshua but so glad you have found this group. They are a bunch of extremely supportive and knowledgeable people. I found this group when my Scooby was diagnosed with kidney failure in December 2014 and know exactly how you feel and what you are going through. We love our pets so much and want to do the best for them. The guilt was the main thing for me but please be reassured you are a fantastic owner and have given Joshua a loving and caring home. As Tony says keep with the IV fluids and hopefully he will rally. Try not to beat yourself up, enjoy your boy. Take each day one at a time
Sending my best wishes
Avatar universal
I know how you feel. It's very hard. I'm in the exact situation you are emotionally so I don't have the best words for you right now but I can say that I was told the same as you a few weeks ago (my options were euthanasia or palliative care at home), but I didn't give up and my dog's kidneys have improved. Even the internal medicine specialists said it was unlikely my dog would recover, but her creatinine came down from 850 to 260 (Australian numbers). It's been a LOT of hard work, but so worth it to save her life. My advice is to skip the local vets and go straight to an internal medicine specialist ASAP, my dog wouldn't be alive if I didn't take her to a specialist. My dog had 3 hospital stays. Her kidneys improved on fluids on the first 2 visits, but she crashed as soon as we bought her home - it was very bad at that point, I nearly had to put her to sleep, she was so sick but I decided to hospitalise her 1 more time and somehow the 3rd hospital stay worked (it's a miracle from God - I haven't stopped praying), her creatinine numbers lowered and we have been able to maintain those low numbers at home with SubQ fluids, medication and diet.  But it's only been 2 weeks, so I'm hoping the numbers stay low. Feel free to ask any questions if you think I can help you
17588597 tn?1459057246
Thank you so much for sending that out! I am glad to have found this group as well... The only thing I worry about the IV treatments is that he has an enlarged heart/ congestive heart failure and I worry it will make his heart condition worse. Do you think that could happen?
17588597 tn?1459057246
Thank you for your reassuring words. Please tell me more about Scooby. You're right, I am living in the future, mourning his death that hasn't even come yet. I will focus on taking it day by day... I haven't slept since :(
17588597 tn?1459057246
Wow thanks for sharing your story! I have a lot more hope now. How did you find a specialist? I'm looking now and I only can seem to find vets..I guess I do not know what to look for.. What food and meds are you giving your pup? I really appreciate your help...
Hi jm0203! lease know that you are not alone even though it feels like your the only person in the world going through this emotional diagnosis of kidney failure. My almost 16 year old Bella became very ill very quickly this past October and was also struggling with some congestive heart failure. In our situation we decided that it was time to let her rest as she was very ill and we didn't want to subject her to anymore suffering. I can't tell you how hard this decision was but it was about her-not us! We stayed up all night the first night after she was gone and talk about her every day-its been 5 months. I miss her as she was my girl for so long and really feel her absence but this group, writing to others, sharing our stories, reading pet stories through blogs, remembering how fortunate we were to have her for so long etc..etc.. has helped. But, this diagnosis is definitely a process. You have some expert help here and lots of positive guides to what may work for you and your Joshua. Trust yourself and know that Joshua trusts you to make the best decisions based on love and knowing that you 'have him'..he can relax. :) Sending positive thoughts your way and am always available to help in any way I can.
Avatar universal
Hello, I read your message and know exactly how you feel, I started mourning on the day mine was diagnosed, that was 9 months ago, after being told he had 3-12 months, How old is your boy? did you see an internal medicine specialist?  This group helped educate me on CKD although your circumstances are more involved by the sounds of it, you have not failed him, and for as long as he is alive try and spend every minute you can with him, I know its hard with work and stuff, but let us know how he is tomorrow, wishing for a good result for you both X
Avatar universal
I'm really sorry to hear about Joshua.  First, even though you will feel guilty for a long time, know that you have not failed him.  You are giving him all the love and care that you possibly can.  There are so many variables when it comes to medical treatment, you can't control it all.  You can just do your best for Joshua, and he knows that's what you are doing.  
I sure hope he rallies, and that some of the suggestions you find here give you and Joshua more time together.  As long as he is with you, enjoy him.  Dogs seem to continue to enjoy life no matter how sick they are.
When the time comes, you will make the best decision for him.  It won't be easy; I had to have my dog put to sleep for kidney failure in December, and that day is still the first thing I think of every morning when I wake up.  But I know it was better than letting him suffer.
Best wishes for you both,
1916673 tn?1420236870
First, a big thank you to members for offering their kind words and support. That's exactly what this group is about.

There is a huge complication with congestive heart conditions and chronic kidney disease. It is a risk giving fluids, as it helps the kd but can adversely affect the heart condition. Sadly, the only answer here is caution and good supervision and monitoring by the vet administering the fluids. It's a real Catch-22 for owners. Giving fluids will get the kd numbers down - but may cause the heart condition to deteriorate. Not giving the fluids will almost certainly cause the kd to worsen quickly, but won't affect the heart.

My opinion, for what it's worth, is to give the fluids - but make sure you have a good vet, and one that will guarantee full supervision and monitoring during the process and afterwards, so the treatment can be amended or intervention made quickly if it becomes necessary.

17588597 tn?1459057246
TonyB, Thank you for reaching out to everyone. I was at such a low point and everyone stepped in so quickly. I am glad to have found this group. Should I get his numbers for you?

Cheryl, thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry to hear that, but you're extremely strong and selfless to do that for your baby. I know you're so right, I have him now and I am trying to just focus on day by day now.

Katster, thank you for responding! I'm glad I'm not alone in mourning on the same day of the diagnosis. He is 10-12. We're not sure because he's a rescue. I am so glad to hear your baby is still with you. I know that I bought some time with him and I haven't left his side... You're right, it is hard with obligations, but it would be much harder for me to be at work and think about him!

RynB, I am so so sorry to hear about Bella. I know she's in a better place. I honestly know myself, and you are much stronger than I to go through that with her. I'm glad that we are both on this group because I can see how helpful and how much peace it can bring. You're in my thoughts, I really appreciate you responding.
17588597 tn?1459057246
The night I posted here, I couldn't sleep. I had to pick up Joshua from the overnight ER and bring him to his vet. I sat with the vet tech about my different options (his creatinine did not budge much from 4.2), and I thought about the posts I received here, and I asked about an internal medicine vet. The tech brought up a specialist that I had researched about, and he called the specialist and set up an appointment within 30 mins. As soon as I saw Joshua, I gave him a fish oil supplement that has CoQ10, then I drove him to the specialist.
The specialist said his enalapril prescription needs to be stopped immediately. He did not receive his kidney numbers from my vet so he advised we needed to get the numbers ASAP. He took my baby into the back to run numbers, and he told me Joshua would be there all day and overnight.
The next day, the specialist had said Joshua improved quickly. He believes that this kidney issue is not chronic, but was worsened by the Enalapril. He also said that Joshua needs to eat no matter what... Joshua wouldn't accept any of the KD wet foods they tried to give him (they said he practically gave them the middle finger) but he did eat Purina Pro. The doctor advised that eating and fluids were very important. Joshua is now on an antibiotic, as he developed diarrhea. No SubQ fluids. The dr doesn't want to do them unless his number are begging for it...
What do you guys think? It's been so nice to have Joshua again, but he has less energy than normal. He's walking around more and he's very responsive. But I'm worried about how much he's sleeping and he doesn't really eat until I spoon feed him, and only eats maybe half of the amount he used to (Idk if this is because of his issues or if he's being his normal spoiled pom self). Should i walk him? Force him to eat more? I really appreciate everyone's feedback.
17588597 tn?1459057246
Joshua has a follow up next week, and if you have any good questions to ask the dr, I'd love to hear it. Thank you everyone so much.
1916673 tn?1420236870
Hi. I'm pleased you have found this group to be supportive and helpful. That was always my intention when I began it so long ago. Sometimes, owners can feel very lost when they receive the diagnosis about their best friend and those of us that have been in that position truly need others we can talk to, ask questions and receive some useful information and feedback.

I'm delighted you have the internist onboard for Joshua. It sounds like he knows the right things to do, so I think you can be confident he will advise the best management protocols. Taking him off the Enapranil is an interesting course of action and I can certainly understand why it may have caused issues, but it would be very interesting to ask about why the internist thinks it had to be stopped immediately. His info and opinion may help others in a similar situation. CHF and CKD can often go together and they are a complicated double whammy for dogs, as helping one can often adversely affect the other.

Creatinine at 4.2 is not alarming. I've seen much worse. Yes, it needs to be brought down, but cautious nutrition with the right ingredients should achieve it over time. I wouldn't walk him too much. Bear in mind he needs what little energy he has in his body (from nourishment) to fight the disease, but very short walks should be okay and may motivate him, give him something to dream about, and so on. I wouldn't take him out on walks for more than about 10-15 minutes. This period of short exercise will also help his muscles stay active (muscle wasting is common).

The idea with feeding is to stick to a stage 3 or stage 4 diet, until the internist says any different. This means restricted protein, low phosphorus, low sodium. Is Purina Pro a canned or dry food? Is it designed for renal disease? If not specially for renal disease, then switch to one that is.

Feed small amounts more often. So maybe just a couple of desertspoons every 2hrs. This regime will help protect the kidneys from the stress of a larger meal and then having to deal with the toxins and metabolic processing a larger meal requires.

Hi jm,
Really sorry to hear about Joshua.
Sounds like he is rallying after taking on board the Specialist's advice for treatment. So good you were able to see a Specialist  who would obviously have a more comprehensive knowledge of this terrible disease.
Hopefully Joshua is with you for quite a while longer, and his quality of life stays reasonable.
My beautiful 7 year  old cattle dog was diagnosed with end stage Chronic Kidney disease last May and sadly deteriorated very quickly.
The vets said that her creatinine and phosphorous levels were catastrophic and there was nothing further they could do for her.
There came a time when she was clearly starting to suffer and just didn't want to be here anymore so we did the kindest thing and had her put to sleep in late June.
I feel that perhaps we should have put her down several weeks earlier so that she didn't go through any suffering at all.
Really, she was there in body but her lovely soul and spirit had already gone.
So , my advice is that if Joshua does get to the stage where he is beginning to suffer, please don't leave let him linger on in that state for too long.
Hopefully though, because he isn't as far advanced as my dog was, you will have your beautiful boy for quite a while to come.
Hi TonyB,

Thank you so much for the response! The internist felt that the Enalapril may have stressed Joshua's kidneys too much. He said that at times, the side effects can outweigh the positives that it can bring. We are now stopping the furosemide as well because now Joshua's numbers have gone up. He is now on 1 heart pill and 1 anti-nausea med.

I will limit his walks, you're right he needs his rest. I haven't been able to get him to eat the kidney diet and the doctor has advised that it is important for him to eat whatever wet food he can right now, which is why we are giving him the purina pro food (non KD). I hope that this is something you'd agree with....

I will take the tips you have given me. It seems you know exactly what Joshua needs because he only eats a small spoonful or so every few hours :)
Hi Indy,

I am sorry to hear about your loss :( I can only imagine the pain you had gone through. I know you felt that you should've done it sooner, but we are all learning in this and you did what you thought was best at the time it was done. And now you have experience to share with others like you have with me.
I really appreciate you sharing your wisdom with me. It means a lot to me, and I definitely will keep your words in mind when the time comes. I hope that I have more time with Joshua too. Thank you!
Avatar universal
Yes jm,
It really is a cruel and unpredictable disease.
I think the constant demoralising ,losing battle with trying to get your precious pet to eat and seeing them continually refusing all the foods they used to love, as they slowly waste away, is one of the hardest aspects.
I still miss my beautiful girl greatly and think of her often.

My best wishes to you and Joshua and I will keep my fingers crossed that he will improve and he will be happy and comfortable for quite a while to come.
1916673 tn?1420236870
Hi. My concern about Purina Pro is a) it is a dry food (I can't find any other wet variety you may be feeding and this is really not good for kd dogs); and b) it contains about 30% dry matter protein, which really will stress the kidneys a huge amount. The more you can encourage the canned (wet) kd food the better, using a few tricks to get him to eat it.

I do agree, there are times during the course of this dreadful illness when anything is better than nothing, but it's also very easy for us as owners to fall back on that caveat more often than we should. It's a constant struggle, packed with emotional stress, and although we always want to see our best friends eat, we do need to remember that eating the wrong things will only make matters worse - and that can cause a cycle of bad blood readings - followed by nausea and a refusal to eat the right things - and more bad blood readings because the food we are giving is stressing the kidneys.

It's a tough call, and only you can truly decide what is right - at the right time. I totally empathise with you and hope that some of what I have said makes some sense.

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