I also shy away from writing about health issues in pets, especially those that involve the difficult decision to end a pet’s life. As a dog trainer, and a blogger, I find great joy in hanging out with healthy pets but that’s not always the case for everyone.
What is kidney failure in dogs?
The kidneys play an important role in keeping our dogs healthy and they are responsible for filtering the blood and removing waste products from the body. When the kidneys are not functioning properly, waste builds up in the blood and can make your dog very sick.
Dogs that are suffering from kidney failure may drink and urinate more than usual, have a decrease in appetite, and seem lethargic. As the disease progresses, they may suffer from weight loss, vomiting, and diarrhea. Kidney failure can be very serious and is often fatal.
Kidney failure progression in dogs:
In Stage 1, the Creatine test will reveal that it is less than 1.4 mg/dl and SDMA is greater than 14 in µg/dL
Dogs in the early stages of kidney failure may drink and urinate more than usual. They may also seem lethargic and have a decrease in appetite. Kidneys at this stage are still able to filter waste from the blood, so dogs may not show any other signs of illness.
If you get your dog to the vet at this stage, there is a good chance that treatment can improve their quality of life and extend their life expectancy.
In Stage 2, the Creatine test will reveal that it is between 1.4 and 2 mg/dl and SDMA is greater than 14 in µg/dL
Dogs in the middle stages of kidney failure may begin to lose weight, vomit, and have diarrhea. They will also drink and urinate more than usual. As the disease progresses, the kidneys will become less able to filter waste from the blood and dogs will begin to show more signs of illness.
In Stage 3, the Creatine test will reveal that it is between 2.1 and 5.0 mg/dl and SDMA is more than in stage 2.
At this stage, dogs will generally feel very ill. They may suffer from seizures, become comatose, and experience respiratory distress. Kidney failure is often fatal at this stage.
In Stage 4, the Creatine test will reveal that it is more than 5.0 mg/dl and SDMA is more than in stage 2.
Dogs in the late stages of kidney failure will generally feel very ill. They may be too weak to stand, have difficulty breathing, and may experience seizures. Kidney failure at this stage is often fatal.
How is kidney failure treated in dogs?
There is no cure for kidney failure, but there are treatments that can help to improve your dog’s quality of life and extend their life expectancy. Treatment will generally involve some combination of medication, a special diet, and fluid therapy.
Can dogs get kidneys transplant?
Unlike humans who can get a kidney transplant, this is not an option for dogs. This is because there are not enough donor kidneys available and the surgery is very expensive.
In some cases, the kidneys may be able to repair themselves. This is more likely to happen if the cause of kidney failure is something that can be treated, such as dehydration or an infection. However, if the damage to the kidneys is severe, they will not be able to repair themselves and will need to be removed.
When should I euthanize my dog? Dog kidney failure when to euthanize?
Making the decision to euthanize a pet is never easy, but it is sometimes the kindest thing that you can do.
You can euthanize your dog with a failing kidney if;
- Their quality of life has declined to the point where they are no longer enjoying life. You can know if your dog is in pain if they whimper, can’t sleep, can’t stand up, or has a loss of appetite. If they are repeatedly hospitalized and their condition is not improving.
- They are in pain and there is no way to alleviate
- You have consulted with your veterinarian and you both believe that euthanasia is the best course of action.
Steps to euthanize a dog with kidney failure;
Euthanasia is generally considered when a dog is suffering and there is no hope for improvement. If your dog is experiencing kidney failure, talk to your veterinarian about all of your options and what may be best for your dog.
Below are the steps you will follow to euthanize your dog with failing kidneys
1. Make an appointment with your veterinarian.
2. Take some time to say goodbye to your dog. Spend some extra time petting them, playing with them, and telling them how much you love them.
3. When it is time for the appointment, bring your dog to the vet in a carrier or on a leash.
4. The veterinarian will give your dog a sedative to help them relax.
5. Once your dog is sedated, the vet will give them an injection of euthanasia solution. This solution will cause their heart to stop and they will die peacefully.
6. You can stay with your dog during the procedure if you wish.
7. After your dog has passed away, the vet will likely offer to cremate or bury them for you. You can also take your dog home with you if you prefer.
what toxins cause kidney failure in dogs?
There are many different toxins that can cause kidney failure in dogs. Some common examples include:
- Certain medications
- Household cleaners
- Rat poison
Food that will cause dog kidney failure;
There are certain foods that can cause kidney failure in dogs. Some of these include:
Last days of a dog with kidney failure
In the last days of your dog with advanced kidney failure, below are symtoms you’ll see;
- Uremia: When the kidneys are no longer able to filter toxins from the blood, these toxins build up in the bloodstream and cause uremia. Symptoms of uremia include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and coma.
- Mouth ulcers
- Anemia: As kidney failure progresses, it can cause anemia (a low red blood cell count). Anemic dogs may appear pale, lethargic, and short of breath.
- Azotemia: Azotemia is a condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of nitrogen-containing compounds in the blood. This can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and coma.
- Changes in mental status: As the toxins build up in the blood, they can cause changes in mental status, such as depression, lethargy, and confusion.
- Decreased appetite: As kidney failure progresses, your dog may lose their appetite.
- Weight loss: As the appetite decreases, weight loss will occur.
- Increased thirst and urination: As the kidneys fail, they are not able to remove excess water from the blood.
- Pale, dry gums: As the kidney failure progresses, your dog’s gums may become pale and dry.
- Difficulty breathing
- Bruising: As the kidney failure progresses, your dog may start to bruise easily.
- Nosebleeds: As the kidney failure progresses, your dog may experience nosebleeds.
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Hi there! My name is Ben Domb, an owner of two pets and I am one of the co-founders of OurPets HQ. I have several years of experience as a pet care professional in the New England region having spent time in various roles including a stint at a veterinary hospital in Upstate New York, Syracuse area. I am a certified pet care professional and mostly spend my time researching pet nutrition and sharing my thoughts in various blogs and columns. With quarantine and COVID restrictions, I have been spending a lot of time a lot with my dogs and cat and loving it! I also run a small consulting business providing advice to parents on pet nutrition, and especially safe homemade options to try. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org