Kidney problems can make your dog feel really sick. If kidney disease continues unchecked, then your dog could end up needing a kidney transplant. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if your dog is suffering from kidney disease because the signs can be subtle. Here are some of the more subtle signs of kidney disease as well as information about the reasons why a kidney transplant may be necessary.
What Is the Function of the Kidneys?
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that both regulate the amount of water in your body and filter the blood. The kidneys remove cellular waste and toxins through urine. Kidneys also regulate electrolytes and control blood pressure.
What Is Kidney Failure?
Kidney failure is a condition where your dog's kidneys are not working well enough to keep your dog healthy or they completely fail. Acute kidney failure is when the condition comes on suddenly while chronic kidney failure is often a result of a disease.
What Are the Signs of Kidney Failure?
Dogs with kidney failure tend to have increased thirst and may or may not urinate more. Some dogs act like they need to urinate more often, but expel very little urine. Many dogs often have accidents. Your dog could seem more tired and apathetic than usual and be less hungry. Vomiting is also not unusual.
What Causes Kidney Failure?
Kidney failure is often a result of another health condition. Lyme disease or cardiovascular problems that restrict blood flow to the kidneys are some of the major causes. Older dogs also tend to have more kidney problems, and some dogs have a genetic defect. Ethylene glycol, or antifreeze poisoning, can cause acute kidney failure.
When Is a Kidney Transplant Necessary?
Kidney transplants are usually reserved for when both kidneys fail and after all other treatments stop working. Dogs have a high likelihood of rejecting a donated kidney, so this procedure is done as a last resort. If your dog needs a kidney transplant, then the kidney donor needs to be as closely related to your dog as possible. Your veterinarian will likely try to hold off on a kidney transplant for as long as possible.
Keeping your dog hydrated, protected from poisoning, and on a healthy diet goes a long way to prevent kidney failure. You should also take your dog to the veterinarian for regular checkups. For some dogs, kidney transplant surgery may be necessary to potentially save your dog's life. Your veterinarian will make the final determination as to whether or not your dog is a good surgical candidate.
For more information, contact a veterinary surgical service.