Kidney failure in dogs poses a grave and frequently lethal threat. Our vets in Seattle discuss the details of dog kidney failure, covering recovery rates and presenting available treatment options.

Kidney Failure in Dogs

Healthy kidneys actively eliminate toxins, regulate hydration, maintain a normal electrolyte balance, and release hormones necessary for producing red blood cells. In dogs with kidney failure, these essential functions are no longer performed efficiently.

Several diseases affecting your pet's kidneys can cause kidney failure, also known as renal failure. Dogs may experience two types of kidney failure: chronic and acute.

This post explores kidney failure in-depth, covering common signs present in both types, along with available treatment options and the prognosis of the condition. 

Symptoms of Kidney Failure

Signs of acute kidney failure in dogs will appear quickly, typically within a couple of hours or days of ingesting the toxin. Signs of chronic kidney failure will occur more gradually and may be less noticeable. If your dog is suffering from kidney failure, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Increase or decrease in water consumption
  • Increase or decrease in volume of urine
  • Vomiting
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Breath that smells like chemicals
  • Significant decrease in appetite
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Blood in urine
  • Lethargy

Diagnosing Kidney Failure in Dogs

Your vet will perform blood and urine tests to confirm your pup's kidney failure and assess the full extent of the disease. When diagnosing kidney failure, vets commonly use radiographs (X-rays), ultrasound, blood tests, and urinalysis. These diagnostic tests will also give your vet a comprehensive understanding of the condition's severity. In certain situations, a kidney biopsy may be advised.

Dog Kidney Failure Treatment

Kidney failure is a very serious health risk for dogs. Hospitalization and intensive care may be required to save your beloved pet's life. Hospital staff will very closely monitor your dog's heart rate, blood pressure, and overall condition while providing appropriate veterinary internal medicine and  treatments such as:

  • IV fluids to hydrate and flush out the kidneys. Once IV fluids have been administered, your veterinary team will monitor your pet's urine production for signs of improvement.
  • Kidney dialysis (Hemodialysis)
  • Peritoneal dialysis (Feeding a tube directly into the pet's stomach to supply fluids, which will be removed after some time to help flush out toxins).
  • Antibiotics may be administered if the cause of your dog's kidney failure is an infection.
  • Medications may be given to prevent or treat stomach ulcers (which are common side effects of kidney failure).
  • Sometimes, a feeding tube may be required until your dog feels better and can eat independently.

Survival Rate & Recovery for Kidney Failure in Dogs

This condition poses a serious threat, and unfortunately, dogs with kidney failure often face a grim prognosis. More than half of pets afflicted with this condition either succumb to it or undergo euthanasia to alleviate their suffering.

However, early detection and aggressive treatment can lead to recovery in some dogs. After a thorough examination and testing, your vet can offer a realistic outlook on your pet's chances of recovery.

They'll also provide an estimate of treatment costs and assist you in navigating the most suitable treatment plan for your pup.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog showing signs of kidney failure? Contact our internal medicine veterinary specialist in Seattle immediately.