Helpline Advice: Kidney Disease
What is kidney disease?
There are two forms of kidney disease, acute or chronic.
Acute kidney disease occurs when there is a sudden onset of the kidney's inability to function properly. The causes of acute kidney disease include infection or ingestion of a toxin. Dogs and cats are able to recover from acute kidney infections.
Chronic kidney disease is a long term disorder and can take many months and years to develop. By the time the condition has been diagnosed, significant damage to the kidneys may have taken place. Chronic kidney disease is a progressive disease and can lead to kidney failure in some pets.
Symptoms of kidney disease:
- Change to water and food intake
- Change in toileting patterns
- Litter tray avoidance (cats)
- Difficultly urinating
- Vomiting / diarrhoea
- Weight loss
- Change in mood – depression / lethargy
- Cloudy urine
- Blood in urine
- Abdominal pain
If your dog or cat displays any of the symptoms associated with kidney disease, it is important to take your pet to the vet for a health check.
Why do dogs and cats develop kidney disease?
Kidney disease is commonly seen in dogs and cats at any time of life. However, it tends to be seen more in a pet's senior years. There are many different causes of kidney disease. Here are some examples:
- Age – Senior animals can develop Chronic Kidney Disease
- Autoimmune disease
- Ingested toxins
- Congenital disorder
- Inherited disorder
How can OSCAR help?
Kidney disease in dogs and cats is a serious condition and requires close medical attention from your vet. Here is a little bit of advice from our OSCAR Veterinary Expert.
''The most effective treatment for kidney disease is nutritional management using specifically formulated prescription diets, and following your vet's advice. Always discuss with your vet before making any dietary changes as it could make the condition worse. For chronic kidney disease, which is the more common form, patients will need to stay on the prescription food for the rest of their lives. Sometimes dogs and cats don't find the prescription food very palatable, and you will need to find a new diet. Look for a high quality, low protein diet, with a phosphate binder such as Renalzin on top, but again this needs to be under the direction of a vet.''
Dogs and cats diagnosed with inadequate kidney function may require a specific veterinary diet that is moderate in protein and low in phosphorus ad designed to support the damaged kidneys.
In the early stages a senior food such as Pinnacle + may be suitable for your dog. We would recommend speaking with your vet or our helpline for further advice.