Kidney diseases in dogs

The kidneys are the organs responsible for the filtration of blood and the excretion of waste substances through the urine, among other vital functions. Therefore, kidney diseases in dogs pose a significant risk to their health; Diet is critical in its prevention.

The kidneys are essential in the regulation of the body by maintaining body hydration, blood pressure, and electrolyte balance. Also, they secrete hormones that, among other things, stimulate the production of red blood cells. The so-called renal failure is one of the most common kidney diseases in dogs, and they can become chronic.

To diagnose this condition, at least one of the aforementioned renal functions must be compromised. However, detection usually occurs when these organs have lost around 70% of their fullness, hence the complexity of the treatment.

Causes and symptoms of canine kidney diseases

According to the International Renal Interest Society (IRIS), a group of veterinarians dedicated to the investigation of renal failure in dogs and cats, the main risk factors are:

  • Glomerulonephritis or inflammation of the glomeruli that act as small filters in the kidneys.
  • Pyelonephritis or kidney infections.
  • Nephrolithiasis or kidney stones.
  • Leptospirosis, zoonotic disease caused by the bacteria  Leptospira interrogans.
  • Cancer.
  • Amyloidosis, a disease in which a substance of a protein nature known as ‘amyloid’ accumulates in tissues or organs.

The possibility of developing any of these diseases is more excellent in dogs that are of advanced age. Therefore, it is essential to lead a life with preventive care from the early stages.

The most apparent symptoms of the disease are polyuria and polydipsia, consisting of urinating and drinking more than usual. Other possible signs are urinary incontinence, lethargy, loss of appetite and weight, bad breath, and oral ulcers.

Treatment and importance of food

Therapy to address kidney diseases in dogs depends on the durability and severity of it. On the one hand, the acute syndrome can occur as a reaction to the accidental intake of toxins or rejection of previous drug treatment.

Also, the intake of grapes and raisins causes the appearance of this type of injury. Since the symptomatology appears promptly, hospitalization with fluid therapy and renal diet is the most advisable in its cure.

As for the chronic disease, it can extend to months, years, or even throughout life in congenital infections. In this case, early detection is essential, for which the observation and attention of the owner come into play.

Once notified, it is difficult to determine the exact cause responsible for renal failure, but it will allow the prescription of palliative treatment. The medication stipulated, fluid therapy, and renal therapeutic diet is the cornerstones to tackling the disease.

Although, as far as food is concerned, there are specialized feedingstuffs, you can also opt for homemade alternatives. In both cases, the following nutritional aspects should be met :

  • Restriction of phosphorus-rich foods to slow the progression of nephropathy.
  • Alkaline supplementation to combat frequent metabolic acidosis.
  • Moderate protein restriction of the order of 40 grams of protein per 1000 kilocalories to reduce the magnitude of uremia.
  • High intake of omega-3 fatty acids to help limit the reduction of glomerular filtration.

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