Hi Mandy. First let me tell you how sorry I am to hear that your baby is going through this. I just lost my sweet 15 1/2 year old poodle to this same disease. Late in the game we tried Azodyl, but I think it was too late and by that point she was refusing to eat or drink. Also I was given Epikitin to sprinkle on her food. That didn't work since she wasn't eating. Sadly I had ato make a tough decision I never wanted to make. If your baby is to the point of not eating or drinking and vomiting, it is probably too late for much of anything. My heart goes out to you. This is such a sad diagnosis to get for a beloved pet.
I am glad to help you with your dog.
Azodyl is a product made of "friendly bacteria" called probiotics. Because kidneys are sterile, Azodyl is not helpful for kidney issues despite the fact that it is continually being prescribed. Probiotics are quite useful to promote proper and normal absorption of dietary nutrients once they are digested.
When dogs have had issues of upset stomachs, such as occurs with Pancreatitis for example, suffered episodes of vomiting and/or diarrhea or have been on antibiotics, the normal bacterial flora, which are the bacteria that normally line the intestinal tract, and are responsible to absorb digested nutrients, become "upset."
The "good bacteria" get replaced by "bad" gas forming bacteria which often leads to uncomfortable, bloated-type stomachs and perpetuates diarrhea and excess gas formation. Supplementing dogs with Probiotics helps to replace the "bad" gas forming bacteria with good "friendly" bacteria so nutrients in the diet can be properly absorbed and utilized by the dog. There are many much more cost effective Probiotic supplements available online an at retail.
Fluids given daily at home under the skin (Sub-Q) are vital to flush toxins from the body with kidney disease. The fluid of choice is 0.9% NaCl (sodium chloride) We do not recommend Lactated Ringers solution as it contains calcium and phosphorus, both of which are generally already elevated in dogs with failing kidneys.
A home made diet is quite helpful. Many vets prescribe Hills K/D Diet. Hills K/D Diets are ok however they not very palatable or tasty and many dogs will not eat K/D. We have had much better results with home-made diets. We have also had excellent results with a natural herbal kidney product called Kidney Essentials available at http://www.drcarol.com. This has lowered BUN and Creatinine levels within in 30-60 days in many older dogs with kidney failure.
Epikacin is an outdated calcium based product made by the same company marketing Azodyl.
Epikacin was used to bind excess phosphorus which occurs with failing kidneys. Unfortunately, because it contains calcium, it results in excess blood calcium levels which are also very harmful.
Today Aluminum Hydroxide (ALOH) is the product of choice, recommended and used by veterinarians that are Board Certified Internal Medicine Diplomats. Aluminum hydroxide is used to bind and removing excess phosphorus from the blood. As opposed to Epikacin, it is very effective and does not result in the accumulation of excess blood levels of Calcium.
Once we are able to get the sum of the blood phosphorus multiplied by the blood calcium to less than 40 we can consider Calcitriol.
Calcitriol is a natural form of Vitamin D, human dialysis patients take to regenerate the kidneys. We have it compounded specifically for each dog based on their body weight and Creatinine level. It is a capsule given once a day by mouth.
Many dogs with failing kidneys are also anemic, which means their volume of red blood cells is too low.
The anemia occurs because a substance called Renal Erythropoietic Factor, normally made by the kidneys and responsible to signal red blood cell production is not produced in adequate amounts when the kidneys are not working properly.
We address the anemia with an organic home-made diet, raw or seared livers and hearts and Vitamin B12 given 2-3 times a week by injection with the exact dosage and frequency determined by the dogs body weight and severity of anemia.
Please feel free to contact my office if you would like to discuss this further.
I hope this information is somewhat helpful.
Dr Carol Osborne, DVM
Many thanks for busting the Azodyl and Epikacin myths. I tried both products with my dog who died of renal failure in early 2008 and neither one did squat. They aren't exactly cheap either. All I could do was give calcium, which did actually help, but as you point out calcium levels are already high in these patients. I couldn't find any aluminum hydroxide on the market that didn't also contain some other contraindicated ingredient, so I'm very glad to hear it's now more readily available.