Pet Kidney Conditions

What is kidney disease?

Kidneys are very important because they remove waste substances from the blood, and maintain the normal balance of fluid and minerals within the body.  Any condition which damages the kidneys is referred to as kidney disease.

In some cases, pets may show early warning signs of disease.  However, signs of serious illness only appears when three-quarters of the kidneys’ function has already been lost.  This is the reason why early detection is so important, especially for pets age 7 and older.  A simple blood test is all that is required to detect the disease.

What causes kidney disease?

The kidneys can be damaged by a wide range of conditions including injury, cancer and infection.  This damage is usually irreversible.

Kidney disease is common in cats and dogs, but with early diagnosis and treatment, progression can be limited and many pets go on to live happily for years after diagnosis.  Factors that can make pets more prone to kidney disease include the following:

Age The chance of developing kidney problems increases after the age of 7.
Food Some foods high in phosphorous and protein can increase the progression of kidney disease.
Breed Some breeds are more likely to develop particular types of kidney disease.
Environment Some chemicals, including certain disinfectants, anti-freeze, lead paint and some human medications can damage the kidneys.

Does my pet have kidney disease?

The signs of kidney disease can be difficult to recognize but if you notice any of the following, it could mean your pet has a kidney problem.

  • Increased thirst and urine production
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Bad breath
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Sore mouth
  • Weakness
  • Lack of energy and increased sleeping

Important note: Early stages of kidney disease will show no signs or symptoms.  An increase in thirst is the first sign of kidney failure – if you recognize any of the above signs contact our office immediately.

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