Much like in humans, the kidneys serve many important functions in the bodies of pets. They filter out waste, maintain nutritional balance, and release the hormones needed to create red blood cells.
That’s why issues related to kidneys can be so damaging to the overall health of your furry friend. It might be a scary diagnosis, but educating yourself about the problem can help you be more prepared.
Here is everything you need to know about kidney problems in pets.
What Causes Kidney Issues in Pets
Kidneys consist of microscopic structures called nephrons, which are responsible for carrying out all the functions of this important organ. Kidney disease or failure will occur when a certain percent of these nephrons are no longer functioning adequately.
There are many potential causes of kidney dysfunction, such as:
- Toxin ingestion
- Bacterial infection
- Old age
- Dental disease
- Congenital disease
- Snake bite
- Cushing’s disease or Addison’s disease
The best way to prevent kidney disease in pets is to maintain regular check-ups with the vet. Monitor your pet’s behaviors, especially as they enter their senior years, and bring them in if you notice anything troubling.
Symptoms & Diagnosis of Kidney Problems
If your pet is suffering from kidney issues, the first symptom you will likely notice is excessive thirst and urination. You may also notice a change in the animal’s behavior, such as acting lethargic and moving clumsily. Finally, you may notice your pet has severe bad breath or even ulcers in his mouth. In advanced cases, seizures and collapse may occur.
Call your vet immediately if you notice any of these symptoms. They will perform a physical exam and full blood-analysis panel to measure the concentration of certain chemicals and proteins.
How Kidney Problems in Pets Are Treated
There are two main types of kidney problems in pets. The treatment prescribed by your vet will depend on what the source of the issue is.
Acute kidney failure occurs suddenly, within a few hours or days. It is most commonly the result of an ingested toxin, snakebite, or contaminated water.
In these cases, time is of the essence, and the pet will need intensive treatment immediately. This may include antibiotic fluids or a stomach pumping to remove the toxin. With an early diagnosis and accurate treatment plan, many acute kidney diseases are survivable.
On the other hand, chronic kidney disease occurs slowly, over the course of many years. It is most commonly the result of old age, or caused some other disease associated with elderly pets.
While there is no cure to chronic kidney failure, there are treatments available to slow the progression of the disease. This will likely include medication and a change of diet, as well as more frequent check-ups. Unfortunately, your pet will not likely survive longer than a year after diagnosis.
Trusted Veterinary Hospital in Frederick, MD
If you suspect something is wrong with your cat or dog, don’t wait any longer. The trusted experts at Old Farm Veterinary Hospital can help!
We offer the most reliable diagnostic testing and disease treatment for pets in Frederick, Maryland, and beyond. We treat your animals like our very own, guaranteeing their comfort and safety throughout the process.