What Is Kidney Disease In Dogs

Dogs’ renal failure (kidney failure) can have a variety of causes. Our Flat Rock veterinarians provide some information regarding the causes, signs, and treatments of canine renal failure in this article.

What is renal failure in dogs?

Numerous illnesses and disorders that have a detrimental impact on the health and functionality of the kidneys and its connected organs can result in renal failure, also known as kidney failure.

The kidneys of a healthy dog function to control fluid balance, release hormones necessary for the production of red blood cells, eliminate toxins, and preserve a normal electrolyte balance. When a dog has kidney failure, the kidneys can no longer carry out these tasks effectively.

Don’t give up hope if your dog has a kidney condition that could result in kidney failure, even though kidney problems can be worrying for any pet owner. There might be steps you and your veterinarian can take to extend your pet’s life, depending on the situation. What you need to know is as follows.

In dogs, there are two forms of renal failure:

Chronic Renal Failure

The decrease of kidney function in this type of renal failure occurs more gradually (over weeks, months or years). The primary culprit is frequently geriatric degeneration. Although every kidney has a natural lifespan, some dogs’ kidneys will regrettably age more rapidly than others.

Congenital Disease

There are many hereditary diseases that can result in poor kidney function, ranging from improper development and cysts to agenesis (being born without one or both kidneys).

Bacterial Infections

These can be spread by ingesting polluted water or swimming in contaminated water. The kidneys may become inflamed and lose their renal cells as a result of this sort of illness.


When your dog consumes poisons or medications, such as chocolate or antifreeze, toxicosis, also known as kidney poisoning, can harm the kidneys’ cells (such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen). These are just a few of the numerous everyday objects that should be out of your dog’s reach because of his curious nature.

Kidney or renal disease in dogs refers to any ailment that impairs the function of the kidneys and can range greatly in severity. Although there is still functional tissue intact, there is ongoing deterioration. Renal failure is far more serious because the kidneys have completely stopped functioning.

Stages of Renal Failure in Dogs

The degree of chronic kidney disease can be determined by the rise of blood waste products and anomalies in urine, including the presence of protein.

The International Renal Interest Society (IRIS) assigns a number from 1 to 4 to each stage of chronic renal illness (with four being the most severe). You’ll frequently notice additional symptoms in your pet as the stage number rises. When the pet is in a certain stage of chronic renal illness, it is essential to begin some treatments.

Dogs in Stage 1 have a median survival time of more than 400 days, compared to 110 to 200 days in Stage 3, 200 to 400 days in Stage 2, and 200 to 400 days in Stage 3.

End-Stage Renal Disease in Dogs

There is no cure for the increasing chronic renal disease. When an animal exhibits disease symptoms, extensive damage has already occurred. The remaining nephrons, which are tiny units in the kidneys, are working extremely hard to replace the nephrons that have been lost due to disease or ageing. These surviving nephrons will eventually stop functioning.

With each stage of the disease, the prognosis gets worse and the survival period is shorter. According to IRIS, the median survival period for stage 4 renal illness ranges from 14 to 80 days.

Symptoms of Renal Disease & Renal Failure in Dogs

As previously stated, kidney disease that has persisted for months or years is referred to as chronic kidney disease. Canine chronic disease symptoms might range from mild and gradually progressing to severe. They frequently consist of, and occasionally manifest quickly as:

  • excessive hydration results in significant amounts of urine production
  • general despondency accompanied by an increase in blood waste products
  • general weakness brought on by low blood potassium levels
  • more pee in the bladder, in general

The illness has advanced by the time a dog encounters renal failure, and you may see symptoms like:

  • urethral blood
  • Lethargy
  • White gums
  • Infections in the mouth
  • Intestinal seizures
  • significant decrease of weight
  • drunken conduct or clumsy motions like tripping
  • severe loss of appetite
  • breath that has a chemical odour
  • Vomiting

When a dog develops renal failure, the illness has already progressed, and you might observe Your dog can be examined by your veterinarian to ascertain whether renal issues or other concerns like diabetes mellitus are the source of the symptoms. The sort of renal failure your dog may be suffering, the extent of kidney function loss, the development of the ailment, and its underlying causes are all things to keep in mind.

Treatment & Prognosis for Renal Failure in Dogs

To check for any anomalies, your veterinarian will do diagnostic urine and blood tests. While, in addition to the blood and urine tests, a diagnosis of renal illness or failure can typically be obtained based on physical examination. In order to rule out underlying causes of renal illness and/or to determine the stage of renal disease your dog is suffering, additional tests may also be carried out.

However, if the disease is exceedingly severe, your dog may not respond to therapy. Appropriate treatments, which may include IV fluids, are determined by the severity of symptoms. A kidney transplant, dialysis, or hospitalisation for fluid therapy are examples of aggressive treatments.

Remember that there is no treatment for chronic renal illness. The severity of the condition is correlated with the prognosis. The amount of time your dog will likely survive is likely to decrease as the severity of their renal condition increases.

The treatments are meant to lessen the amount of work the kidneys need to do, to replace things like potassium, and to lessen waste that builds up. Your dog may first respond to conservative therapy slowly; it could take weeks or months to observe improvement. In order to enhance your pet’s quality of life and maybe slow the progression of disease and lengthen their longevity, your veterinarian may also recommend dietary adjustments.

Can a dog recover from renal failure?

The two types of renal failure—acute and chronic—have some key distinctions. While many cases of acute renal failure can be restored with prompt and intensive veterinary care, chronic kidney failure can only be controlled in this way.

Please take note that the information in this page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice for animals. Please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a precise diagnosis of your pet’s illness.

What signs are there in canine renal disease?

What Canine Kidney Disease Symptoms Look Like?

  • more or less water consumption
  • alteration in the frequency and volume of urine.
  • loss of enthusiasm for interaction or play.
  • reduced appetite
  • nausea or diarrhoea
  • Unaccounted-for weight loss
  • pee with blood.
  • signs of dental illness include sore mouth, pale gums, and bad breath.

Canines with kidney illness recover?

Unfortunately, many dogs with acute renal failure won’t make it past a few days. But some dogs can make a full recovery if the condition is identified quickly and vigorously treated. Intravenous fluid therapy and supportive medicines are frequently used in treatment. In order to treat renal failure effectively, veterinarians will also attempt to identify the underlying cause of the condition.

Despite greatest efforts, keep in mind that acute renal failure cannot always be reversed. Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of various therapies with your pet’s veterinarian. So that you can be as prepared as possible, ask about anticipated results. Although your veterinarian will make every effort to preserve your dog, treatment may not be effective.

Canine chronic renal disease is incurable. However, there are treatments that can control the condition, enhancing the dog’s quality of life and lengthening their time on earth. With proper care, some dogs with chronic renal illness can live for years, while others only have a few months to live (even with the best treatment available). Keep in touch with your vet regarding your dog’s symptoms at home.

Attend every suggested checkup without fail. Be adaptable, upbeat, and practical at the same time. The majority of dogs eventually stop responding to medication and are very ill. Many owners now opt for humane euthanasia to put an end to misery.

What causes canine kidney issues?

As it turns out, there are numerous ways for dogs to develop renal issues. One of them is acute, or sudden, and it typically happens after a pet consumes a poison like antifreeze or a particular prescription drug.

Severe urinary tract infections and decreased blood and oxygen supply to the kidneys are two additional factors that contribute to acute renal failure. Why would the flow of blood and oxygen be reduced or blocked? These essential compounds can be decreased or blocked by trauma, dehydration, and heat stroke.

It is more difficult to diagnose chronic kidney disease (CKD). It typically affects older dogs and can be brought on by autoimmune disorders, cancer, diabetes, or genetic reasons. It’s crucial to remember that CKD can also be brought on by a dental infection.

Veterinarians frequently tell pet owners that oral health influences general health, with kidney illness being one example of how this happens. Since swollen gums operate as a “access point,” bacteria from oral illness can actually enter a dog’s bloodstream. The heart and liver can also be impacted by this bacteria, in addition to the kidneys. In this approach, a dog’s renal ailment may really have advanced dental disease as a contributing component. This is one more reason to ensure that you take care of your dog’s oral health!

Some veterinary professionals describe CKD as basically the kidneys “going out.” Although there is no treatment for CKD, it can assist to preserve your dog’s quality of life.

The idea is to keep an eye on your dog and take note of any strange behaviours in both acute and chronic renal illness in dogs.

Do dogs with kidney illness die?

Acute renal failure is fatal if untreated. On an outpatient basis, fluid therapy, dietary adjustments, and various drugs are the main forms of treatment for chronic kidney failure. Although chronic renal failure is devastating, it is not always lethal. Chronic renal failure in dogs typically worsens over months or years.

What are the initial indications of renal issues?

Early phases are typically referred to as 1 to 3. In addition, you can experience the following symptoms as kidney disease worsens. Symptoms of motion sickness and nausea include cramps in the muscles, lack of appetite, swelling in the feet and ankles, dry, itchy skin, shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping, and over- or under-urinating.