Knowing the symptoms of renal failure in a dog might be the matter of life and death for your pet. Dogs with renal illness can live for years if detected early (and treated properly).
Kidneys are responsible for maintaining the body’s fluid balance, removing waste, and secreting a hormone that causes red blood cells to be produced. They also help to keep blood pressure under control. All organs suffer when the kidneys aren’t working correctly.
But, more significantly, they can’t filter the trash as efficiently as they used to since they aren’t operating to their full ability. Toxins build up in the body as a result, and the dog can become extremely unwell very fast.
So, in this case, how do you know when your dog is about to die from kidney failure? Excessive thirst and a large amount of urine are early signs of renal failure. Lethargy, low appetite, and vomiting are some of the latter signs of acute renal failure.
The amount of urine produced by a pet with severe renal disease may actually decrease, or the creature may cease producing pee entirely.
As previously stated, dogs can survive renal failure and live for several years longer if detected early enough.
What are the symptoms of kidney failure in a dog?
The following are some of the kidney failure symptoms in dogs:
- Weight reduction that’s visible
- Gums that are pale
- Drunkenness or uncontrolled movement, such as stumbling
- Breath that has a chemical odor to it
- Appetite decreases significantly
- Consumption of water increases or decreases
- Urine volume increases or decreases
- Mouth ulcers
- Urine with blood
- Intestinal seizure
The kind of kidney failure your dog is having, as well as the amount of renal function loss, the development of the illness, and the underlying cause, may all help determine if the symptoms are due to kidney problems or something else, such as diabetes mellitus.
What causes kidney failure in dogs?
Any illness that affects the kidneys eventually results in renal failure. Among them are:
- Bacterial diseases, such as leptospirosis, can be spread by drinking or swimming in polluted water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This infection can cause kidney inflammation and, as a result, renal cell loss.
- Toxicosis, often known as kidney poisoning, causes cell destruction in the kidneys. It happens when your dog ingests medicines or toxins (like ibuprofen) (like antifreeze or grapes). These and other common home objects should be kept out of your dog’s reach, according to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center.
- Congenital disease: Kidney dysfunction can be caused by inherited diseases. From cysts to agenesis (being born without one or both kidneys), the Merck Veterinary Manual has a list of various congenital disorders.
- Geriatric disintegration occurs when the cells of the kidneys deteriorate and die as they age. The most prevalent cause of renal disease in dogs is this.
What happens when the dog’s kidney starts shutting down?
Toxins like ammonia and nitrogen can build up in a dog’s body when the kidneys start shutting down or failing to function correctly.
This can result in nausea, vomiting, and/or a loss of appetite. Uremia is the medical term for this disease, which is linked to renal failure.
(Goldstein DA, Chui LA, Massry SG. Effect of parathyroid hormone and uremia on peripheral nerve calcium and motor nerve conduction velocity. J Clin Invest. 1978;62(1):88-93. doi:10.1172/JCI109118)
The early indicators of kidney failure
It might be acute or chronic.
- Acute kidney failure progresses rapidly, generally as a result of the dog ingesting a poisonous chemical like antifreeze or human medicine.
- Chronic renal failure affects elderly canines and is caused by underlying medical problems.
Dental illness, which enters the circulation and attacks the kidneys, is one of the surprising reasons for renal failure in dogs.
You won’t notice any obvious indications at first. However, because the kidneys are having a hard time filtering the toxins, urine output increases in an effort to eliminate much more waste as possible. As a result, they begin to drink water more frequently.
Excessive drinking and increased urine are the first signs of renal disease in dogs. You’ll probably notice that your pet is visiting the water bowl more frequently than usual, or that you’re having to fill the bowl more frequently than usual.
Your dog may also begin to have nighttime accidents or pee inside the house during the day.
Unfortunately, many pet owners fail to notice urine inconvenience. They believe it’s a behavioral issue when it’s actually a medical one.
That is why, if you notice any changes in the dog’s behavior, you should take him to the veterinarian.
Furthermore, renal failure symptoms do not show until a significant percentage of the kidneys have been destroyed. So, if you see these early indications, your dog has most certainly been sick for a long time.
Stage two and three symptoms
- You may observe your dog become sluggish and sad, as the dog progresses to the second/third stage.
- Dehydration occurs as a result of your dog losing too much fluid through urine, as well as vomiting and diarrhea.
- As the toxins pile up, your dog may experience respiratory difficulties.
- He may also develop anemia as a result of his kidneys’ inability to release the hormone required for red blood cell production.
Unfortunately, once the kidneys have been impaired, they can never be fully functioning again. Instead, the veterinarian will do tests to determine how well the kidneys are functioning.
They also take a systolic blood pressure reading. They classify the dog into one of four phases of canine renal failure based on the findings.
The end stage symptoms
Even with the greatest treatment strategy, kidney failure is a progressive illness. You’ll notice that your dog’s breath has a distinct ammonia scent as the kidneys degenerate more and hardly filter the waste.
Your dog’s gums would also be pale and dry, and he may develop mouth ulcers. There may be trembling and twitching, as well as confusion and disorientation.
The end-stage renal disease does not necessarily indicate that your pet will die within the next few hours. So, don’t be alarmed. It is, however, a warning that you will have to make some difficult choices.
Dogs can live anywhere from three months to a year after entering the last stage of kidney disease. However, it is highly unique and is determined by your dog’s general health.
However, dying with renal failure is not a pleasant or painless experience. When your dog’s suffering becomes unbearable, you should consider doing what’s best for him.
Is kidney failure in dogs painful?
Unfortunately, dogs’ suffering is so effectively hidden that humans may miss health warning signals.
Kidney failure does not induce pain by itself. Kidney failure, on the other hand, can result in pain and discomfort in various parts of the body.
Kidney illness may be more inconvenient than painful for many dogs throughout their lifetimes. The key to success is hydration. Freshwater should be accessible at all times, but you may also require hydration supplements, canned dog food, or a specific renal diet at home.
If your dog’s hydration requirements are more significant, your doctor can educate you on how to provide subcutaneous fluids to your dog at home, similar to a doggie IV drip.
Can a dog recover from kidney failure?
Unfortunately, many dogs with acute renal failure do not live for more than a few days. Some dogs, however, can totally recover if detected early and treated aggressively.
Intravenous fluid therapy and supportive medicines are commonly used in treatment. A treatment plan will be established once your veterinarian has a comprehensive picture of your dog’s health.
Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the disease and will change over time as your dog’s condition worsens.
Keep in mind that lab tests must be performed often to track changes in kidney disease severity. Lab testing may be required one or more times each day for dogs being treated for acute renal failure.
Lab tests are generally performed every few weeks to months in dogs with chronic renal failure (more or less depending on how the dog is doing). Treatments are charged based on the findings of the lab tests.
How long does a dog have to live with kidney failure?
The severity of the illness influences the prognosis. Studies have revealed that dogs with higher IRIS stages had shorter median survival periods.
In IRIS Stage 1 dogs had a median survival duration of over 400 days, whereas Stage 2, dogs had a median survival time of 200 to 400 days.
At Stage 3, dogs had a median survival time of 110 to 200 days, and at Stage 4 dogs had a median survival time of 14 to 80 days. The treatment for CKD that works slows down disease progression, increases survival rate and improves patient quality of life.
Dog kidney failure – when to euthanize
When a dog is diagnosed with end-stage renal failure, your veterinarian may suggest an end-of-life home care plan or a hospice program to make your dog’s final days as comfortable as possible while maintaining his or her quality of life.
Dialysis, a stomach tube or intravenous treatments, pain medication, and techniques to care for an incontinent pet may all be part of a treatment approach for end-stage renal failure.
Your dog may not be in pain, depending on their symptoms, but they will be uncomfortable with other symptoms such as regular vomiting and diarrhea, lethargy and despair, and continuous dehydration.
If a dog is suffering, resistant to pain medication, or too weak to tolerate life-sustaining therapy, your veterinarian may prescribe euthanasia.