Dog Kidney Failure: Treatment & Recovery

Kidney failure in dogs is a very serious, and often fatal condition. Our Tucson vets discuss kidney failure in dogs including recovery rates as well as available treatment options.

Kidney Failure in Dogs

Healthy kidneys are working to eliminate toxins, regulate hydration, maintain a normal electrolyte balance, and release hormones required to produce red blood cells. In dogs diagnosed with kidney failure, the kidneys are longer performing these essential functions efficiently.

Kidney failure - also referred to as renal failure - can be caused in dogs by several diseases that impact the functioning of your pet's kidneys. There are two different types of kidney failure seen in dogs, chronic kidney failure and acute kidney failure.

In today's post, we look at kidney failure in general including common signs that can be seen in both, as well as treatment options and the prognosis of the condition.

Symptoms of Kidney Failure

Signs of acute kidney failure in dogs will appear quickly, typically within a couple of hours or days of ingesting the toxin. Signs of chronic kidney failure will occur more gradually and may be less noticeable. If your dog is suffering from kidney failure, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Increase or decrease in water consumption
  • Increase or decrease in volume of urine
  • Vomiting
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Breath that smells like chemicals
  • Significant decrease in appetite
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Blood in urine
  • Lethargy

Diagnosing Kidney Failure in Dogs

Your vet will run a series of blood and urine tests to confirm that your pup is suffering from kidney failure and to get a complete picture of the extent of the disease. Radiographs (X-rays), ultrasound, blood tests, and urinalysis are typically used when diagnosing kidney failure. The results of these diagnostic tests will also provide your vet with a more complete picture of the extent of the condition. In some cases, a biopsy of the kidney may also be recommended.

Dog Kidney Failure Treatment

Kidney failure is a very serious health risk for dogs. Hospitalization and intensive care may be required to save your beloved pet's life. Hospital staff will very closely monitor your dog's heart rate, blood pressure, and overall condition while providing appropriate medications and treatments such as:

  • IV fluids to hydrate and flush out the kidneys. Once IV fluids have been administered your veterinary team will monitor your pet's urine production for signs of improvement.
  • Kidney dialysis (Hemodialysis)
  • Peritoneal dialysis (Feeding a tube directly into the pet's stomach to supply fluids which will be removed after some time to help flush out toxins).
  • Antibiotics may be administered if the cause of your dog's kidney failure is an infection.
  • Medications may be given to prevent or treat stomach ulcers (which are common side effects of kidney failure).
  • In some cases, a feeding tube may be required until your dog is feeling better and able to eat on their own.

Survival Rate & Recovery for Kidney Failure in Dogs

This condition is very serious and sadly the prognosis for dogs suffering from kidney failure is poor. Estimates suggest that more than half of pets suffering from kidney failure either die from the condition or are euthanized to prevent suffering.

With that being said, if caught early and treated aggressively some dogs can recover from kidney failure.

Your vet will be able to provide you with a realistic prognosis for your pet's recovery following a complete examination and testing. Your veterinarian will provide you with an estimate of treatment costs and help to guide you through the most appropriate approach to treatment for your pup.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog showing signs of kidney failure? Contact our Tucson vets right away.