Loss of kidney function
Kidney failure can cause a variety of symptoms in pets. Signs may include:
- Excessive thirst and/or frequent urination
- Frequent or persistent episodes of vomiting or intermittent “on and off” episodes of vomiting
- Loss of appetite or decreased food intake
- Unexplained weight loss
- Lethargy or weakness
- Bad breath with an ammonia-like odor
- Dull, dry, or unkempt coat
If you notice any of these signs or have concerns about your pet's health, consult with your veterinarian. Early detection and intervention can improve the chances of successful management and prevent complications.
When you visit your veterinarian for concerns related to kidney failure, the following may occur:
- Medical history: Discussion of your pet's medical history, including observed symptoms and their duration.
- Physical examination: The veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination of your pet, checking for any abnormalities and assessing their overall condition.
- Diagnostic testing: Diagnostic testing such as blood tests, urinalysis, and imaging (e.g., X-rays or ultrasound) may be recommended to evaluate for causes of kidney disease and assess the severity of the condition.
- Treatment options: Treatment options for kidney failure vary depending on the underlying cause and the stage of the disease. It may involve dietary changes, medications to manage symptoms, and supportive care to maintain hydration and balance electrolytes. In some cases, hospitalization with supportive care, including intravenous fluids and further medical management may be recommended, especially when first diagnosed.
- Palliative care: In severe or chronic cases, palliative care focuses on improving your pet's quality of life, managing symptoms, and providing comfort.
- Follow-up care: Your veterinarian will discuss a follow-up plan, which may involve regular monitoring of your pet's kidney function, additional tests, or adjustments to the treatment regimen. Maintain open communication with your veterinary care team throughout the process.
Your veterinary healthcare team will partner with you to decide which treatment option is best for your pet's and your family’s specific condition and situation.
Most cases of kidney disease cannot be prevented. The two main causes of kidney disease which we can reduce risk for are toxic and infectious causes. The following can help reduce the risk:
- Provide fresh water: Make sure your pet has access to clean and fresh water at all times to promote proper hydration.
- Feed a balanced diet: Provide your pet with a high-quality, balanced diet recommended by your veterinarian.
- Routine prevention: Follow your veterinarian's recommendations for preventive care, such as vaccinations and parasite control to help reduce the chance for Lyme disease and Leptospirosis, two infectious causes of kidney disease.
Consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice and guidance on preventing kidney failure, especially for infectious causes, in your pet. They can provide tailored recommendations based on your pet's specific needs, geographic location, and medical history.
Please note that the information provided here is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If you suspect your pet has kidney failure or any other health concerns, consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.