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Chronic Dog kidney disease – Symptoms Treatment stages & Causes

Chronic Dog kidney disease occurs due to the inadequacy of the renal function of the dog kidneys. It affects the most critical role of the kidney that is filtration. There are different stages in which dog kidney diseases occur. The most common type of kidney disease in dogs is the chronic type.

Azotemia is the condition in which there is an abnormally high level of nitrogen-containing compounds in the blood. These can be urea, creatinine, various body waste compounds, and other nitrogen-rich compounds. It is mainly due to the insufficient filtering of the blood by the kidneys and can lead to uremia. There are three types of azotemia: Prerenal azotemia, primary renal azotemia, and postrenal azotemia. They are well known by glomerular filtration rate (GFR), increase in blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and serum creatinine concentrations.

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The Prerenal azotemia is mainly due to the decrease in blood flow to the kidneys. Also, this has many causes like hemorrhage, narrowed renal artery, etc. The primary renal azotemia usually leads to uremia. This is due to parenchymal damage caused by renal failure, glomerulonephritis, acute tubular necrosis, etc. Postrenal azotemia is mainly caused due to blockage of urine flow in an area below the kidneys. Besides, it can also be caused by congenital abnormalities, kidney stones, etc.

Chronic dog kidney disease

In the chronic dog kidney disease, the symptoms of this stage include low urine output, fatigue, tremor, low alertness, confusion, pale skin, rapid pulse, dry mouth, thirst, swelling, blood pressure, uremic frost, etc. In such cases, immediate treatments should be given to restore the functions of the kidneys. If delayed it can result in complete loss of the renal function. It may lead to dialysis and use of other medications.

Different stages of diseases

Stage 1: Nonazotemic chronic dog kidney disease.

In this stage of dog kidney disease, there are no observable clinical signs of azotemia.

Stage 2: Mild renal azotemia

In this stage of dog kidney disease, azotemia is usually present already but without any clinical signs, but there may be sufficient loss of the renal tissue. When in this stage, sometimes the symptoms begin to appear rapidly towards the end, and there are ways of delaying this.

Stage 3: Moderate renal azotemia

In this stage of dog kidney disease, there is a further delay of the glomerular filter rate, and the symptoms appear pointedly. This is a sign of advancing chronic dog kidney disease.

Stage 4: Severe renal azotemia

When the dog kidney disease reaches this stage, there is a uremic syndrome, and all the complications of the kidney disease start presenting themselves harmfully. It is a critical stage and identifying and curing the kidney disease has to be in progression.

In the early stages of the chronic dog kidney disease, it is essential to establish the kidney disease, and this requires renal evaluation. As the dog kidney disease progresses into the third and final stages, there are structural and functional changes in the body.

Chronic Dog Kidney Disease Causes

Chronic Dog kidneys function just like human kidneys. And just like in humans, dog kidneys are prone to kidney diseases. Dog kidney diseases are not untreatable. To understand what happens to our canine friends undergoing a kidney disease, we need first to learn how their kidneys function.

A dog urinary tract is made up of kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder and urethra. All these organs work in a team to produce, store, transport and excrete urine. Dogs have two bean-shaped kidneys that are located in the abdominal cavity where the last rib meets the spine. The ureters are tubes that connect the dog kidneys to the bladder from either side. The bladder is a collapsible muscular organ that store urine till it is time to excrete it through the urethra which is the tube that passes urine from the body to the outside.

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Dog Kidney

The most important part of the dog kidney is the nephron. The nephron has a cluster of small blood vessels that act as a filter and also a long tube called the renal tube. Each nephron is capable of producing urine, and they are responsible for removing urea combined with water and other wastes from the kidneys. The chronic dog kidneys have an indentation into which enter the blood vessels and nerves. This part, hilus, is also where the ureters exit. The urine, after being produced in the dog kidney is stored in a place near the hilus. When all these organs function properly, the dog is undergoing a normal life of ingesting food and excreting waste.

Chronic Dog kidney failure occurs due to the inability of the kidneys to remove waste products from the blood. There are toxic build-ups that cause signs of urenic poisoning. Dog kidney diseases can be acute or chronic (which is gradual). The gradual onset of dog kidney diseases is usually nephritis and nephrosis.

Chronic kidney disease in dogs

Various other reasons can also cause this chronic dog kidney diseases. There can be a complete obstruction of the urinary tract due to a kidney stone, rupture of the bladder or the urethra, trauma, etc. This will lead to insufficient blood flow to the kidneys. Also, it will lead to congestive heart failure with low blood pressure and reduced blood flow to the kidneys, a poisoning that is caused by antifreeze, Lyme disease, leptospirosis, ingestion of certain medications, or tinted food, inadequate blood flow to the dog kidney.

Occurs over a period and are hard to detect before the final stages. This can be caused in older dogs by underlying illness and congenital and hereditary conditions. One of the leading causes of chronic dog kidney disease is a dental problem. It occurs when the bacteria are causing the dental disease to step into the bloodstream of the dogs and invade multiple organs and thus causing irreversible damage to the heart, liver and the dog kidneys.

It is important to note the symptoms of dog kidney diseases. So help can be given before the condition is beyond control. It is best to have regular check-ups to avoid the risks of dog kidney disease.

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Dog Chronic kidney disease is gradually occurring, and they have many symptoms. The trouble here is, they do not show up before the dog has lost about 70% of its kidney functions. Keep an eye out for the symptoms of chronic dog kidney diseases. Find out what the symptoms are. Many times, these symptoms go unnoticed if your dog is of advanced age or if you have multiple dogs. Besides weight loss and increased urination are some of the other signs of advanced age in dogs. It is best to start a checkup for chronic dog kidney disease when your dog if 7 or above and your vet can do some routine tests.

Chronic renal kidney disease can be verified by checking for CRF by taking a medical history of your dog. There will also be check for the levels of water, food intake and excretions. Specific routine tests like blood count, urinalysis, biochemistry tests, blood urea nitrogen levels, blood pressure tests, anemia, ultrasound, and X-rays can reveal the size and shape of the dog’s kidneys.

Some of the primary ways of avoiding chronic dog kidney disease is reducing the salt intake, reducing phosphorus intake and providing fresh water to compensate for increased output.

Fluid therapy

One of the standard treatments for chronic dog kidney disease to prevent dehydration. Even subcutaneous or below the skin fluid may be required with added potassium to prevent muscle weakness. Besides, drugs that encourage urine production might be required in later stages of chronic dog kidney disease. Management of blood electrolyte abnormalities, monitoring urinary outputs and control of vomiting is necessary. Medications for gastrointestinal problems have to be taken, dietary management, correction of anemia should also be done. There may be other underlying causes that have to be specifically treated.


It is one of the final stage cures for chronic dog kidney disease. Dialysis includes two therapies that try to duplicate the filtering done by the kidneys. One therapy for chronic dog kidney disease is the peritoneal dialysis. In this method, the special fluid is injected into the abdomen using a catheter. This fluid then hydrates tissues and absorbs toxins from across the body from tissue barriers. Then after a certain period, the fluid is removed from the body by the same catheter where it removes the collected toxins with it. This is usually used for short time kidney troubles from problems like antifreeze poisoning.

Hemodialysis is another technique of dialysis for chronic dog kidney disease and is rather expensive. The dog’s blood is circulated through a machine with filters (it copies the filtering actions done by a healthy kidney). Kidney transplants are yet another option for chronic dog kidney disease. This is done in a few veterinary centers and is becoming more common. It is essential that drugs must be given after the transplant to prevent organ rejection. Moreover, they are quite expensive and have to be properly calibrated.

Balanced, species-appropriate diets should be given to your dog. It will prevent long-term dog kidney disorder and will ensure the health of the dog’s body including the kidneys. Also, proper exercise without overexertion should be done to maintain a healthy body and kidney. Keep track of your dog’s behavior to notice symptoms of chronic dog kidney disease.

Chronic dog kidney disease Symptoms

Chronic dog kidney disease or the chronic renal failure cause a gradual loss of function of the kidneys or the renal tube of the nephrons which make the main part of the kidney. The kidneys excrete waste, so, when they fail, these waste products can build up in the body. The substances that build up are blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, phosphorus, etc. the Chronic dog kidney disease symptoms are many though they do not manifest themselves in the beginning stages of kidney failure. It is good to have routine check-ups to make sure that your dog is not affected by kidney disease. The symptoms are as follows.

  • Build up of the waste materials in the blood or the body can make your dog ill. They begin to develop oral and gastric ulcers.
  • Hypertension is also caused by chronic kidney disease in dogs. This can result in increased blood pressure.
  • The kidneys produce a hormone called erythropoietin which communicates with the bone marrow to make new red blood cells. When there is chronic kidney disease in dogs, the production of the hormone decreases causing the reduction of red blood cells in the body and make the dog anemic.
  • In the early stage of chronic dog kidney disease, the symptoms include increased urination and increased drinking. Also, there can be increased drinking of water at night and other conditions like uncontrolled nocturnal urination.

Other symptoms include

  • Weight loss and dehydration are some of the other symptoms of CKD in dogs
  • There will be a notable decrease in grooming behavior, bad breath and changes in hair coat. The hair and skin may become dry and flaky.
  • In the later stages of chronic dog kidney disease, you begin to see persistent early stages
  • there is also oral ulcerations in this stage. The dog starts refusing food at this stage.
  • Some other recurring symptoms of a chronic dog kidney disease are: reclusive behavior, low water intake and low urination, vomiting, anorexia, severe weight loss, sunken eyes, staggering, stiff gait, continued incontinence, vocalization, dementia, inability to stand, less tendency to play and increased lethargy and sleeping, etc.
  • The chronic dog kidney disease has reached its critical stage when your dog has difficulty breathing, prolonged seizures, uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhea, sudden collapse, profuse bleeding internally or externally and he or she begins to cry and whine from pain.


The symptoms of chronic dog kidney disease are usually ignored in the beginning and considered as sporadic behavior that will pass. This should not be the case, especially as the dog ages. You might as well watch out for hereditary chances and other intakes of medications that can lead to chronic dog kidney diseases.

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