Causes of kidney problems in dogs and cats, symptoms and treating it naturally
Kidney problems in pets is a topic that every pet owner needs to be aware of, as kidneys play critical functioning in the body! When the kidneys become damaged or don't properly function, this is known as kidney or renal disease. Kidney disease is also known as a 'silent killer' because, while some animals do display early symptoms, most animals only start showing signs of kidney disease after 75% of the kidneys' functioning is already gone! Early detection of kidney disease is so important because if your pet's kidneys don't function properly, toxins build up in the blood and your pet may become life-threateningly sick!
The most important thing that you can do as a pet owner, is to educate yourself about the causes of kidney disease in pets, common kidney disease symptoms you can look out for, and how to treat kidney problems holistically!
How do kidneys function
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located just behind your pet's rib cage, and perform many crucial functions. Your pet's kidneys function exactly the same way that humans' do!
- Balances certain substances in the blood
- Manufactures hormones to promote red blood cell production
- Filters out the body's wastes as urine
- Helps to maintain normal concentrations of salt and water in the body
- Controls blood pressure
Types of kidney disease in dogs and cats
There are two broad classifications of kidney disease; acute and chronic.
Acute kidney disease occurs when there's sudden damage to the kidneys which, if dealt with correctly, should be a short-term condition. Acute kidney disease develops rapidly, usually in less than a few days, and your pet's blood's chemical makeup may get out of balance. Acute kidney failure can be fatal and requires medical attention, but may be reversible if your pet is in good health and gets appropriate treatment! If your pet's acute kidney disease is not dealt with effectively, it may lead to long-term chronic kidney disease.
Chronic kidney disease is a longstanding disease of the kidneys. Chronic kidney disease is characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time, which may be caused by various reasons. Early detection can save your pet's life, as chronic kidney disease can eventually lead up to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain your pet's life! There's currently no cure for chronic kidney disease, however, there are treatments to help control signs and symptoms, reduce complications, and slow progression of the disease.
What causes ACUTE kidney disease in dogs and cats
- Blockages in the ureters (kidneys' urine drainage tubes) resulting in wastes being unable to leave the body through urine
- Insufficient blood flow to kidneys
- Direct damage to kidneys due to infections, certain medications, poison, blood loss or dehydration
- Physical trauma/impact to the kidneys
- Kidney stones
Symptoms of ACUTE kidney disease in dogs and cats
There are various symptoms of acute kidney disease to look out for in your pets. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should take your pet to the vet immediately where tests will be done to determine the cause! Even if it turns out that your pet is not suffering from acute kidney disease, they may discover that your pet is suffering from another serious illness.
- Increased or decreased thirst
- Increased or decreased urination
- Lack of appetite
- Straining when urinating
- Blood in the urine
What causes CHRONIC kidney disease in dogs and cats
- Diabetes, where too much sugar is in the blood
- High blood pressure
- Inflammation and damage to the kidney's filtering units
- Polycystic kidney disease, which causes large cysts to form in the kidneys that damages the surrounding tissue
- Repeated urinary infections
- Repeated obstructions in the kidneys caused by problems like kidney stones or tumors
- Untreated acute kidney disease
Symptoms of CHRONIC kidney disease in dogs and cats
There are various symptoms of chronic kidney disease to look out for in your pets. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should take your pet to the vet immediately where tests will be done to determine the cause! The earlier you detect chronic kidney disease, the better!
- Urinating and drinking more (this is one of the earliest symptoms)
- Sleeping problems
- Weight loss
- Bad breath
- Reduced appetite
- Oral ulcers
- Blood in the urine
Treating your pet's kidney disease
With early diagnosis and treatment, progression can be limited and many animals go on to live happily for years after diagnosis! While it is important to let a vet assess and treat your pet's kidney disease, kidney problems respond well to complementary medicine and a holistic approach (including diet), which helps improve kidney functioning and ultimately decrease the need for prescription drugs or surgery, which often come with unwanted side effects.
- Kidney Dr. is a 100% herbal remedy containing herbs known for their ability to improve the functioning of both healthy and diseased kidneys and act as a tonic for the entire urinary system.
- AllisOne Pure Synergy Tissue Salts are an excellent tonic for pets with diabetes and subsequent kidney disease. It helps the kidneys and other body organs eliminate waste. Many people are delighted about this remedy because these tissue salts are both lactose-free AND sugar-free!
- Feed your pet a balanced, nutritious diet (view all our pet food and treats here) instead of commercial pet foods, which are full of preservatives, colourants and other harmful chemicals! Having a healthy diet significantly improves the functioning of kidneys, as well as other organs.
- Get a daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplement to add into your pet's food. Certain minerals and vitamins are often missing in many foods we feed our pets. By boosting their overall health and balance, their kidney function will be positively affected!
If you have any queries about your pet's kidney health, contact us for FREE advice, or leave your question in the comments below. We always love hearing from you!