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Kidney Disease in Pets

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Kidney Disease in Pets

Just as people rely on their kidneys to perform several important functions, so do animals. Unfortunately this means that similar to how people can develop Kidney Disease, it’s possible for their pets to develop it, too. It’s not guaranteed that it can be totally prevented, but utilizing the right resources and tools can help combat its possible onset. But first, you must understand what the disease is and how it can affect your dog or cat.

What is Kidney Disease?

Kidney failure, also known as renal failure, refers to your dog or cat’s kidneys no longer doing their job. This organ has many main functions, which consist of eliminating waste and toxins through urine, balancing substances like salt, acid, and water, controlling blood pressure, etc. The failure of your companion’s kidneys means they would not be able to carry out these important tasks, leading to further illness.

Kidney disease can be categorized in two ways: Acute Kidney Disease and Chronic Kidney Disease. For your pet’s classification to be acute, that means the disease occurred suddenly and its progression is much quicker, as well. This must be treated quickly and as an emergency in order to prevent further damage from taking place. Chronic kidney disease is long term, irreversible, and may not cause symptoms to appear right from the start. Unfortunately, this means that Chronic Kidney Disease is usually not diagnosed until months or years after kidney failure has begun, meaning the organ will have lost most of its ability to function already. 


Another difference in Acute and Chronic Kidney Disease is that the former’s causes are much easier to pinpoint than the latter’s. 

Acute failure, since it’s sudden, can be attributed to a certain cause more easily. This includes, bacterial infections, ingestion of toxins like medications, blood loss, decreased blood flow, and severe dehydration. On the other hand, Chronic failure develops over a longer period of time, largely in older cats and dogs. It can occur due to the same causes as Acute disease, as well as underlying illnesses, hereditary conditions, breed, nutrition, and overall genetics.


The signs of Acute Kidney Disease show up faster than those of Chronic Kidney Disease, but they show many similar symptoms including:

  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Bad breath
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Lethargy 
  • Diarrhea 

If your canine or feline show any of these symptoms, it can be a warning sign of kidney disease. Bring them to the veterinarian. They may conduct physical examinations, blood tests, or a urinalysis to determine your pet’s condition.


Knowing the warning signs of Kidney Disease is one of the best ways to prevent the illness from worsening or causing more discomfort in your pet. There are also other factors in your pet’s day to day life that you can be mindful of.

First, keep dangerous substances out of sight and out of reach from your pet, such as medications, antifreeze, repellents, or anything else that can be toxic to them. Supply your dog or cat with a bowl of clean, fresh water. And as it can help with prevention and treatment of a number of conditions, provide them with high quality food. Animals with kidney disease especially benefit from food that is lower in protein and salt. A prescription diet may be used to achieve this, though it’s at the discretion of your veterinarian. Also at their discretion is whether or not your pet could benefit from the use of certain vitamins. Maintain a healthy weight for your pet, and of course, be sure that they regularly attend vet visits.

Most importantly, keep a close eye on your dog. Kidney Disease can happen suddenly, or it can creep up on you. Ensure that your dog is not only receiving proper nutrition, exercise, and does not have access to harmful substances, but also be quick to notice any symptoms of the illness, as they can be major indicators that your dog needs to see a veterinarian or that changes in their daily routine must change.

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