675347 tn?1365460645

Kidney failure, how can it be prevented?

I'm reading about so many dogs that get kidney failure. It almost seems like an epidemic!, and it's such a devastating thing to happen.
Does anyone know if it possible to prevent it? I suppose if blood tests are run every few months, then of course it is possible to monitor the condition of the kidneys, but does anyone have any ideas about what on earth can be causing so many dogs to develop kidney failure?
Also does anyone have any ideas about prevention?
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675347 tn?1365460645
Thanks Ghilly, that has really clarified a lot that I was concerned about. I remember when I was a kid, we had a dog who kept getting sick days, and my parents said 'her kidneys aren't so good'  That's as far as it went in those days. Not much was said or known about the whys and wherefores. Nowadays we are more educated.
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441382 tn?1452810569
Besides helping pets to fight off disease, vaccines have been found to be the cause of quite a few problems in recent years.  That's why some vets are no longer advocating for yearly boosters, but instead recommend running titers to see if the immune response is sufficient to allow for not vaccinating.  It has been discovered that in normal, healthy adult animals, immunity levels were sufficient even YEARS after being vaccinated.

As far as kidney disease goes, the kidneys are made up of thoussands of little things called nephrons.  The nephrons are what filter out toxins and poisons.  The very thing that the nephrons filter, toxins, can irreparably damage them.  So can cancer, auto-immune diseases, genetically-passed-on kidney problems, vaccines, and even just the normal aging process.   Kidneys can continue to function almost normally unless the nephron count drops to below 25%.  Once that happens, the animal is diagnosed as being in kidney failure.

Acute kidney failure is what happens if the animal ingests, say, antifreeze.  If an antidote is given quickly enough, the damage is reversible.  Chronic kidney failure that happens over years due to aging or autoimmune disease or cancer is usually not reversible.

The nephrons filter out urea, which is a by-product of protein.  They also filter out creatinine, which is a by-product of muscle exertion.  When the kidneys fail, these toxins remain in the body and the patient becomes ill.  When the kidneys fail, blood components like calcium, phosphorus, sodium, etc., become abnormal because the blood is not being filtered adequately, so that's what the doctor is looking for when using blood work for diagnosing kidney disease.

Indiscriminate breeding is responsible for kidney disease, with some people being more interested in simply producing puppies for sale than in testing for genetic predisposition to disease and not breeding animals that have it.  Some ingredients in foods can be responsible for nephron damage.  Propylene glycol, the ingredient that keeps soft-moist foods and treats soft and moist, has been determined to cause kidney damage in quantity.  As little as a teaspoon of antifreeze can cause death from kidney failure.  Sometimes our pets are prescribed drugs for other health conditions that adversely affect the kidneys and the result is kidney failure.  Even some antibiotics can cause it.  Cancer treatment drugs can cause it.  The normal aging process can cause it.

I don't know if it's so much a case of more animals being diagnosed with it as it is a case of more people becoming acutely aware of their animals' health and vets having better diagnostic tools these days than 20 or 30 years ago.  Also, with the advent of the internet, more people are able to converse with more people than ever before.  Twenty years ago, it wasn't possible for the average person in, say, Texas to sit and have a conversation with the average person in, say, London about their pets' health, but now it is.  The internet has made the world a MUCH smaller place, so I think it SEEMS like more things are becoming more common, when it's really just a case of now we have the ability to hear about those things.

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675347 tn?1365460645
Thank you so much for all this information. I wondered about vaccinations stressing dogs' immune systems, but not really knowing what else to do, and being scared if I didn't take my dog for her annual boosters she wouldn't be protected, I do keep taking her every year. (In the UK because we have no rabies, it is not law to have your dog innoculated) But thanks for that tip. I will ask my vet about that.
I often give my dog raw lean steak mince with her dry food, which is a natural recipe made by Healthy Paws, a company in the UK.

And, like you said, there may be many occasions when we might not need to expose our dogs to so many drugs or chemicals, but rather, do it because we think we ought to, or can't think of any alternative (obviously I'm not talking here about serious illness which needs drug support, but those occasions when a natural solution would be best) The trouble is, most people need to trust the vet, and trust that the meds prescribed will actually help their pet, not harm it! And most people (including me) when faced with their dog's mysterious symptom have to 'play safe' and go to the vet.
On that note I am inclined to trust my intuition. Sometimes she doesn't need it and sometimes she does.....

Also, scarily, I have just watched a TV documentary tonight (on ITV, here in UK) -which exposed a number of unscrupulous vets prescribing treatments which were not necessary in order to make money. Obviously, that is not the rule, rather the exception, but it does highlight that taking your dog for a second opinion, can very often be a good idea.
I go for second opinions about all sorts of things! (After being seriously over-charged by a dentist once, and treatment being recommended which was unnecessary!)
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Avatar universal
I think pet meds and vaccinations cause a lot of problems.  I've learned that cancer is the # 1 killer of dogs in America, (not old age, not car accidents...cancer).  Why is that? Dogs, such stout animals, are great natural healers.  So why all of a sudden all this cancer and kidney trouble in the wealthiest country of the world?  We're bombarded with commercials on TV, at the Vets office, etc... trying to convince pet owners that unless their pets are on flea/tick, heartworm, or other meds 24/7 that we're not doing our job as pet parents- quite the opposite.  These things are toxic/poisons.  Instead of automatically getting a combo shot for your dog every year, ask your vet to do a titer test, (a blood test to determine if the dog still has immunity from last years vaccine) - or just skip a year, especially with older pets who don't need to get vaccinations every single year.  (There is a high incidence of recently vaccinated dogs and cancer diagnosis).  Also, get grain-free dog food, or raw frozen, or dehydrated raw, or google to  find a homemade raw dog food recipe..   Even the supposed "good" or expensive brands (that the Vets carry) are full of grain, which dogs have difficulty digesting- and it stresses the kidneys over time, (corn is especially difficult on a dog).  Dogs are built to eat raw meat, (not cooked foods) - the enzymes in the raw meat are important for overall health- so even if you go with a high-quality dry, (such as EVO, or Call of the Wild) supplement with some raw meat- Walmart has frozen bison burgers which my dog loves, (and no hormones or anti-biotics in the meat)  or "Nature's Variety" or  "Steve's Real Food" are excellent raw frozen dog foods.  If your pet has some kind of illness/ condition that requires them to be on some kind of pharmaceutical or anti-biotic, also give them a pro-biotic, and something like SAM-E or Gluta-DMG LS to support liver function, (to help their system process that stuff).  
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