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Kidney Disease Awareness

Some helpful information on understanding and recognizing kidney disease in dogs.

March is National Kidney Disease Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation. Among dogs, kidney disease is quite common with older and senior dogs, and about 1 in 10 dogs will develop kidney problems.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) means that the kidneys are no longer able to fully and properly filter waste passing through the body, which leads to a build up in a dog's system. This can lead to muscle problems among other damaging effects. Sick kidneys are also unable to perform their balancing function with electrolytes needed for the body to properly function.

There are several factors that can increase a dog's likelihood of developing CKD. Some of these include having had kidney stones or a kidney infection, cancer, or leptospirosis (an infectious disease). CKD can also occur due to ingesting toxic substances that damage the kidneys. According to Pet Health Network, CKD can remain undetected in dogs until their functioning drops to 33 - 25% of capacity. It's important for a dog's long-term prognosis to have a veterinary checkup as soon as you suspect something may be wrong.

Some of the signs to look for, according to the Texas Veterinary Medical Association, are:

  • increased drinking and urinating
  • losing weight
  • lack of muscle tone/loss of muscle
  • lethargic behavior
  • poor appetite and/or frequent vomiting
  • seizures
  • a change in their normal gait


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