Your pet’s kidneys serve many vital pet functions. They filter and remove toxic wastes from the body via the urine, regulate Calcium and Vitamin D levels, maintain fluid levels, and secrete the hormone responsible for red blood cell production. Anything that interferes with the kidneys’ ability to function properly can cause pet kidney disease, which is the second only to cancer as a leading cause of death in pets. In most cases, progressive age-related deterioration is responsible, with no apparent cause.
Other causes of pet kidney disease in dogs and cats include bacterial and viral infections, nutritional factors, immune system defects, toxins such as excess Vitamin D currently in Blue Buffalo recalled dog food and Antifreeze, as well as inherited pet breed disorders. “Acute” pet kidney disease occurs suddenly, is much less common than chronic kidney disease in pets, and with prompt treatment is generally reversible. Long-term “chronic” kidney disease referred to as chronic pet renal disease is the most common form in dogs and cats. It is usually the result of slow age-related deterioration of the kidneys.
Signs of Pet Kidney Disease
- Initially dogs and cats drink water and urinate excessively. The urine produced is dilute so dogs and cats become dehydrated and drink a lot to try to replace the lost fluids.
- No matter how much pets drink; they are unable to maintain normal hydration.
- Advanced signs of Pet Kidney Disease include weight loss, vomiting, depression and loss of appetite. Signs are not apparent until 80 percent of your pets kidney function is already lost.
- Routine diagnostics for pet kidney disease include blood and urine tests as well as abdominal x-rays.
- A kidney biopsy is generally necessary to confirm the exact cause. In most cases, a biopsy is not obtained and treatment is symptomatic.