Renal disease (kidney disease) is fairly common in dogs. Acute renal disease can affect dogs of all ages; the onset of symptoms is very sudden and severe, but the damage to the kidneys is quite often reversible. Chronic renal disease usually affects older dogs; the onset of symptoms is very gradual and kidney damage is irreversible. Whether your dog's renal disease is acute or chronic, knowing what to watch for, how to react and what steps should be taken, could make all the difference for your beloved dog.
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Symptoms can be varied, and include vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy, dull coat, hunched posture, increased thirst, increased/decreased urination, blood in urine and loss of appetite.
Often, renal disease simply occurs due to old age. Other causes include, but are not limited to, genetics, trauma, cancer, parasites, infection, toxins, inflammation or autoimmune disorder.
Your doctor will initially do a series of blood tests and a urinalysis to determine if renal disease is present, if it is acute or chronic, and to determine the underlying cause. He may also opt to do X-rays, an ultrasound and a biopsy.
Treating Acute Renal Disease
The treatment for acute renal disease will depend on the underlying cause, which will need to be treated accordingly. Your vet may also decide to flush toxins from your dog's system by way of IV fluids or temporary dialysis.
Treating Chronic Renal Disease
Chronic renal disease cannot be cured, but it can be managed. Depending on the progression of your dog's condition, your vet may prescribe varied treatments, including specialized diet, medications, vitamins, blood transfusions or IV fluids.
The prognosis for dogs with acute renal disease is good, provided that the underlying cause is successfully treated. The prognosis for dogs with chronic renal disease will depend on how far the disease has progressed.
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