The kidneys play an essential role in the body’s metabolism. They filter up to 170 liters of blood every day, eliminating toxic wastes from the body through the urine. If these filters, called nephrons, do not work properly, it is referred to as renal insufficiency. If the failure occurs suddenly, it is acute kidney disease. If it is not treated quickly, it can be fatal.
The causes of acute renal disease are numerous: strong bleeding, heart failure, massive vomiting, severe diarrhea, intestinal obstruction, abdominal inflammation, birth complications, kidney infection, nephrogenic drugs, poisons, or urinary tract infections.
Possible symptoms are painful kidneys, emaciation, and reduced urine excretion. Often apathy, weakness, vomiting, and diarrhea can be observed in acute renal cases. Common symptoms of urinary poisoning include increased thirst, increased urine output, and dehydration of the dog. These symptoms are not necessarily the focus of the disease and, therefore, can be overlooked.
Diagnosis is made through blood and urine examination. An X-ray and ultrasound examination can be used to help determine the cause.
- Acute kidney disease is an emergency and requires referral to a clinic that can provide intensive medical care for the animal.
- The triggers must be promptly eliminated or treated.
- In the case of poisoning, detoxification measures must be taken immediately and, where available, an antidote must be applied.
- It is necessary to provide fresh water to the pet at all times. If your pet does not drink enough, it may help to put some milk into the water to encourage them to drink.
- Administer medication according to the doctor’s instructions.
- Optimally, the aim is to provide support to keep the pet alive long enough for the kidneys to recover and being to excrete urine again.
- In the diet, the supply of phosphorus must be reduced. On the other hand, the protein requirement must be considered. Vegetables with a high content of carotenoids (yellow, red, and green vegetables), as well as foods rich in sulfur (egg yolk, liver, fish, and cheese), should be added to the pet’s diet. Vegetable oils should be avoided.
- Other important dietary measures for renal insufficiencies, in addition to phosphorus reduction, are the supplementation of potassium, trace elements, coenzyme Q10, and B vitamins since their use is limited by the impaired renal function. A little extra vitamin C can be helpful.
- Avoid dry food in dogs with renal disease.
- It is better to feed a pet with more frequent, smaller meals during the day than one abundant meal.
- Light exercise is good, but anything strenuous should be avoided.
If you notice any of the symptoms listed below or if your pet drinks more than usual, consult a veterinarian as soon as possible:
- Increased thirst and frequent urination
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Heavy, labored breathing or panting
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Dry mouth
- Apathy and weakness
Acute kidney disease requires intensive care of the pet and long-term therapy!