Acute kidney failure in dogs and cats is life threatening and immediate treatment must be sought if the pet is to survive. Delayed treatment for dogs or cats suffering from kidney failure can result in the permanent loss of some of the kidney’s function. Knowing the symptoms of kidney failure in dogs and cats allows for fast action from the pet owner and often a full recovery for the pet.
Symptoms of Kidney Failure in Dogs and Cats
Acute kidney failure in dogs and cats usually presents with one or more of these symptoms – increased thirst, loss of appetite, a marked change in urination habits (either an increase in urine production or lack of urination) vomiting, diarrhea, fowl smelling breath and lethargy.
Time is of the essence if a dog or cat is displaying any of these kidney failure symptoms. From the time a pet begins displaying these symptoms until diagnosis and treatment is rendered will mean the difference between life and death for the pet.
Treatment for Kidney Failure in Pets
The treatment for a dog or cat experiencing kidney failure is the same – massive amounts of fluids are given intravenously to the pet in an attempt to restore the kidneys to their normal function. Antibiotics may be given to the pet to treat an underlying cause of kidney failure and/or the dog or cat may need medication to stop vomiting and diarrhea in addition to the intravenous fluid treatment.
If the intravenous treatment does not work, the toxins that have built up in the pet’s blood stream must be removed another way. More intensive treatment options to remove the blood toxins and (hopefully) restore kidney function can range from drug therapy to dialysis.
If medical intervention is sought in time and the treatment successful, the dog or cat will have enough kidney function left to survive, but may have lasting kidney problems that will require medications for the remainder of the pet’s life.
Causes of Kidney Failure in Dogs and Cats
In older pets, sometimes the kidneys fail due to disease or age, the symptoms will present slowly and steadily as the disease advances. When kidney failure occurs in younger dogs and cats, it is usually due to the ingestion of some type of poison, such as anti-freeze, certain houseplants or certain types of ‘people food’. With either age group of pets, the sudden onset of symptoms indicates a life-threatening situation for the pet and emergency veterinarian care should be sought.