What Pet Owners and Vets Can do for Kidney Disease in Dogs and Cats. Fluid therapy is the single most important factor in the treatment of pet kidney disease. Your pet’s kidneys normally function to maintain fluid levels by concentrating the urine. With pet kidney disease, excess fluids are lost into the urine so dehydration becomes a major problem. Severe fluid losses can lead to shock and ultimately death.
Good pet nutrition is also critical!
The goal is to decrease the workload on your pet’s kidneys by decreasing the amount of waste the kidneys must eliminate. Excess dietary protein, phosphorus, calcium and salt create a lot of waste. Pet diets should therefore contain small amounts of high-quality proteins, low salt (use salt substitute), and minimal phosphorus. Home-made pet kidney diets are ideal and can be tailored specifically for your dog and/or cat.
The most important parameter with respect to pet dietary protein is quality rather than an absolute amount. For example human dialysis patients eat eggs. Why? … Each egg contains 7 grams of pure protein on which the kidneys do not work at all to utilize.
Home-made pet kidney diets can be easily tailored to meet your pets specific needs. Balancing home-made pet kidney meals by adding a comprehensive, natural pet vitamin supplement.
Adding natural, herbal kidney nutrients has also proven beneficial to many pet patients with kidney disease in this veterinarians clinical experience.
Trying to determine protein pet food levels, by reading pet labels can be quite misleading. For example, a chemical called Cyanuric Acid, used as a pool cleaner is approved as a pet food additive to artificially elevate pet food protein levels.
In fact, the reason thousands of pets died during the 2004 and 2007 MENU pet food recall was not just because of the Melamine. The Melamine was present in the contaminated Chinese Gluten. The problem occurred when it combined with the Cyanuric acid which was also present in the pet food.
The Melamine and Cyanuric acid formed an insoluble precipitate in the pet kidney tubules of the dogs and cats that ate the pet food and this is what led to acute kidney failure and death for thousands of pets. The latest pet food reports available indicate that the melamine is no longer an issue but the cyanuric acid is still allowable and present in pet food.
Anemia or a low number of red blood cells is usually present in pet Kidney Disease. Supplementing your dog or cats diet with B-vitamins and iron stimulates red blood cell production, which helps to counteract pet anemia.
Today pet kidney therapy may include Calcitriol, which is a natural form of Vitamin D and is compounded specifically for each pet. Capsules are given by mouth once daily. Calcitriol helps prevent further kidney deterioration, regenerates dog and cat kidneys and helps restore normal pet kidney function. It was given routinely to human dialysis patients.
In pets, Calcitriol is only effective when the value of the blood calcium multiplied by the blood phosphorus level is less than 40. After over 15 years, of successful international clinical trials, Calcitriol is still considered experimental in pets. So far the results have been excellent for both dogs and cats with kidney disease.
Pet kidney transplants are a treatment option in extreme cases, and are available at a few veterinary facilities in the US. The College of Veterinary Medicine in Davis, California has a top notch Kidney Transplant and pet dialysis facility.
Long-term management involves monitoring your pets kidney function with blood and urine tests every three to six months. At home hydration can be monitored by pinching the skin on the back of your dog or cat’s neck. Hold the tented skin together for five seconds, then release. If it takes over five seconds for the skin to return to normal, it is likely that your pet is dehydrated and fluids are indicated.
Checking your pets gum color and texture is another way to evaluate your pet’s hydration levels. Pet gums are normally a lite pink color and their the texture normally is smooth and wet, similar to humans. Dehydration causes the lite pink color to become darker, often reddish in color and gum texture usually becomes sticky or tacky to your touch.
Pet owners may learn to give daily subcutaneous fluids, which are given under the skin at home. Sodium Chloride, rather than Lactated Ringers solution is preferred for pet fluid administration, because the Lactated Ringers solution contains both Phosphorus and Calcium neither of which are beneficial to dogs or cats in kidney failure. Most pets enjoy quality life for several years post diagnosis.