Just as in humans, your canine uses his kidneys to balance substances and filter waste. Because of the crucial role they play in your dog’s health, it is important to be aware of kidney problems and how to prevent, identify, and deal with them.
Canine Kidney disease can be the result of many different factors, including age, cancer, trauma, or toxicity. Although it is difficult to prevent, kidney disease can at lease be postponed if you take the right precautions. First, make sure your dog does not have access to toxic substances and never give your dog over-the-counter medications without consulting your veterinarian. Good oral hygiene also promotes overall health, so ensure your furry friend gets regular cleanings and has access to fresh water at all times. Again, there is no guarantee for prevention, but taking measures to ensure good overall health is the best way to avoid kidney problems in your pet.
As a dog owner, it is also important to be able to identify signs of kidney problems before they as soon as they start. Some of the most common signs include:
- Increase in water consumption
- Change in urine production
- Lost or decreased appetite
- Depression or lethargy
- Weight loss
Although these are common indicators, there are many ways that your dog can react to kidney problems. The best strategy is to be aware of your dog’s habits and if they begin changing them, consider contacting your veterinarian and scheduling a checkup.
Treating & Coping
If your dog is exhibiting any of the above signs and you decide to have him looked at, your veterinarian will conduct a series of tests to determine the root of the problem. If it is determined that your dog has kidney problems, you’ll either be informed that it is a form of Acute Renal Failure (ARF) or Chronic Renal Failure (CRF).
ARF onsets much faster, but is generally treatable, such as an infection or parasite. If this is the case in your dog, the main treatment is rehydration. Once your dog is able to maintain normal hydration levels, then it is just a matter of sustaining nutrition through the preventative measures we discussed earlier.
If your dog is diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure, then the damage in their kidneys is most likely irreversible. Treatment, at this point, is usually targeted at minimizing symptomatic problems and allowing your dog to remain content and comfortable. After the CRF diagnosis, continue to promote hydration by giving your dog constant access to clean drinking water. However, as the disease progresses, other fluids, usually prescribed by your veterinarian, can also be used to maintain proper levels of electrolytes in the body.
When dealing with canine kidney disease, just continue to love and nurture your companion. While their kidney health may not improve, continue to maintain other healthy habits and keep them as comfortable as possible. Try showing them the love that they have always shown you! After all, “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
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