Dogs Community
10.3k Members
Avatar universal

Can poor kidney function cause shivering in dogs?

My dog, a 10 year old female bichon frise, Daisy, was diagnosed with a kidney problem about 8 weeks ago. After having blood tests and a urine protein screen my vet explained that the kidneys were functioning, but that too much protein was passing thru holes in the kidneys. The vet put her on a low protein diet (Hill's Prescription Diet U/D, canned), prescribed 1/2 tablet of 5 mg. Enalapril twice daily and instructed me not to give her anything high in protein. The explanation was that more protein would make the holes in the kidneys larger, therefore they would lose more protein.  

The first check-up 4 weeks later revealed that things were going fairly well, the levels of protein in the blood and urine were midway between what may be expected and there was nothing alarming.

The next check-up was 3 weeks later, last week. Daisy was already looking poor at times, low energy, drinking more water, stopped eating her favorite treats (marrow treats) or milk bones, etc.  And she goes through shaking spells, like she's cold, sort of shivering.  Her tests now showed more of a decline in kidney functions.

I just saw the vet on Thursday, Sept. 25.  Daisy was still doing well physically and had still been eating her dinners.  Now, only 3 days later, she is not eating much of anything, shivering off and on, she threw up once yesterday and once today.  She doesn't seem to be in pain, but the shivering is obviously uncomfortable.  

I called the vet's office: the answering service for the vet has paged twice today, but no return call.

The vet had also prescribed  Remadyl for pain during the 8 weeks, switching to prednisone for a week because the shivering was felt to be due to a previously treated ailment - pain due to a pinched nerve or strain of the spinal cord.  

Anyway, now the vet and I wonder if the kidney problem could cause the off and on shivering?  Sometimes the shaking is worse just before a meal and would seem to fade after she ate.

Is there any relief available for the shaking?  

Any advice regarding the treatment?  

Anything at all to make her more comfortable or more likely to eat?

I would appreciate any information on this.  Thank you.
10 Responses
82861 tn?1333457511
Oh no.  I am so sorry, but it appears your dog is now in definite kidney failure.  Once those tissues are damaged, they cannot regenerate.  The liver is capable of that, but not kidneys.  

Your vet appears to be of an old-fashioned school regarding kidney failure.  It's not so much the protein that is the problem.  Protein does not cause kidney failure, and many studies show that protein doesn't really make things worse.  You do want to use more digestible forms of protein like scrambled eggs (use about 1/2 of the yolk), yogurt, or dark poultry meat.  These proteins are higher in fats, but at this point the most important thing is to get your dog to eat something.  Anything!

What really DOES help failing kidneys is calcium.  You can get plain old Tums at any pharmacy or grocery store and pill your dog.  It's phosphorus in lean meats (proteins like white poultry) that really damage sick kidneys.  Calcium binds to phosphorus and helps to get it out of the body.  Read the label on any cheap Tums bottle: it should be only calcium.  In addition to getting rid of phosphorus, it might help with the nausea associated with kidney failure.

Because so many prescription and homemade dog foods are made for a specific health issue, they don't always meet a dog's entire nutritional needs.  You'll need to add a daily multivitamin that has no, or low phosphorous.  After a whole lot of label reading, I found Nutri-vet Senior Vitality has no phosphorus and I gave it to my dog who eventually died of kidney failure.  

Ask your vet for something to help with the nausea and lack of appetite.  If he prescribes reglan, keep an eye out for an extra pyramidal reaction (basically an allergic reaction) involving shakes and nervousness to the point that the dog can't lay down and rest.  Reglan (metoclopromadine) is processed in the kidneys.  If the kidneys can't metabolize the medication, it can build up to levels that cause mental and physical problems.  Benadry (diphenhydramine) can get rid of those symptoms.  It was our personal experience toward the end that reglan worked well as an injection in the skin of the neck.  Somehow bypassing the GI tract altogether kept the side effects to nearly nil.  There are plenty of other meds to try for nausea, but they're very expensive.

82861 tn?1333457511
I exceeded the 8,000 character limit, so here's the rest!  :-)


Again, the best thing you can do is give calcium.  Ask your vet for correct dosing amounts.  As an example, our dog was about 70 pounds when she got sick with kidney failure.  We gave her one Tums twice a day - morning and evening.  The last couple of weeks we were up to three a day, but by then nothing was helping.

Hopefully this post will give you some ideas to discuss with your vet.  If you aren't getting solid and understandable answers from him, then go see another one.  Honestly, there isn't much you can do beyond calcium to slow damage to kidneys once they're solidly failing, but you can make your dog's life better in the meantime.
Avatar universal
my dog purdy a labrador 8 1/2 years old became poorly over a week ago, we had not had any understanding of kidney disease and if i knew more about i would have understood the signs. unfortunatly it was too late for my girl. we took her to the vet on the saturday after she started throwing up then becoming wobbly on her legs. they did all her bloods and they came back off the scale she was in kidney failure her breath had started to smell which is a sign of the disease. we were told there was no hope but she looked so well so they decided to give her some medication anti sickness drugs antibiotics and we took her home till monday. she perked up so much we thought we had a chance and when we took her back to the vet he was so pleased with her. i wish she had turned a corner but it was not meant to be as tuesday evening came she started to become quiet again and by wed we could get her meds to stay down, we knew that she would be up and down but we were quite worried as she was no longer eating too. however we did manage then to get her take the meds and some pork scraps as it was the only thing she would take by now. we thought she was going to come round but she suddenly went down hill again. she went down and never really got back up, she became shivery listless it was so sad to see her like that. by friday we decided there was no hope and we called the vet who came to our house to put her to sleep. it was the worst week of my life and heartbreaking to see. ive lost my georgeous dog and will miss her so much. its not quite a week but i hope that no one goes through what i did and just to say if your dog is the same dont prolong the agony. it was hard to let her go but the best decision all around rip purdy xxx
I appreciate your post. Even now in 2017. I'm laying here in bed with my basset hound next to me and she is shivering. I've been putting water and food in a syringe and giving it to her every 4 hours for days because she won't eat. She was diagnosed with kidney fzilure. I've been trying to decide when to put her down and it's killing me because she still is up, walking, focused and coherent, even going outside and down the stairs to pee and poop. She seems so fine. But I hear her whimpering in pain. I'm going to do it very soon. I don't want to see mine like yours and go through what you want through. So I appreciate your story. Thank you and I'm sorry you had to go through this too. - Kelly
675347 tn?1365464245
I really feel for you and what you have been through. You gave your Purdy the very best, and she knew how much she was loved.
Rest in peace beautiful Purdy.
All dogs go to Heaven.
Avatar universal
My dog is also in kidney failure. He will be 14 this Friday and he is a yorkie. HIs name is Zack. We pulled him out from deaths door this spring when he suddenly started drinking like crazy, peeing like crazy, not eating, vomiting because he drank too much etc. The vet dx with advanced kidney disease and said the only think we could try is fluids under his skin every day as he explained he could not drink enough to replace what he is peeing out, He also put him on blood pressure meds and a Maalox type liquid med that I put in milk for him to drink (tiny amount). After about 3 weeks everything kicked in and he was much much much better. I was giving him the fluids (they were in an IV Bag) myself and it became torturous for him as he was feeling better so we stopped the fluids and he remained stable.

Now we are 6 months out and he is now starting randomly not eating again, shivering, he is totally blind (that came on kind of suddenly over the summer) and I fear we are going to have to make a decision soon. He does not seem to be in any pain, unless the teeth chattering is his way of showing pain? If that is the case there will be no decision, I will not have him suffer. Any suggestions?
1916673 tn?1420236870
Hi. Kidney disease, as you probably know, is progressive. There are good days and bad days and when the bad days outweigh the good ones, then it may be time to consider helping our best friends out of pain and suffering. BUT ... Zack may not be at that stage, just yet. Restarting the fluids will help, as will an assessment of his diet and other meds. Check in at the Chronic Kidney Failure in Dogs User Group - you will find it if you search for it (use the search bar top of page). Become a member then post some details about Zack and his current state of health. You will get responses from owners that have been through or are going through what you are currently experiencing with Zack.

I am the administrator of this User Group - and there's so much info on the Group's pages that will be useful to you. For starters, have a read of my article on diet: http://www.infobarrel.com/How_Diet_Affects_Dogs_with_Chronic_Kidney_Disease

Has Zack been prescribed anti-nausea medication? If not, get some for him now, as this will encourage him to eat. Also, is he on KD specific food? If not, start it now. When were his last blood tests done? Do you have the results? If yes, post them in the User Group forum.

You are not alone - hope we can help you and Zack gain some time and quality of life.

may I post my 13yr old min poodle poopies lab. I have to much to say so I. will be as brief as POS. labs in nov2016 for dental cleaning under anesthesia labs normal. 2 day after she was put on methocarbanol&meloxicam to feel better she starting spiraling down hill health wise I won't say the rest but they did labs again jan2017 and Dr said kidney disease just told me to get science diet and sent us home. I been giving broiled chkn rice still waiting for appt and what to do I have no idea what to do
Have an Answer?
Top Dogs Answerers
675347 tn?1365464245
United Kingdom
974371 tn?1424656729
Central Valley, CA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Members of our Pet Communities share their Halloween pet photos.
Like to travel but hate to leave your pooch at home? Dr. Carol Osborne talks tips on how (and where!) to take a trip with your pampered pet
Ooh and aah your way through these too-cute photos of MedHelp members' best friends
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.
These common ADD/ADHD myths could already be hurting your child