Animal Wellness

What are causes of kidney problems in dogs?

Some of the known causes of kidney failure in dogs include hereditary and congenital abnormalities, bacterial invasion, fungal infections, trauma to the kidney, blockage of urine flow, cancer of the kidney, external toxins or poisoning, endotoxins, certain types of medications, and autoimmune diseases.


What are some symptoms of kidney problems in dogs?

Kidney problems in dogs produce many noticeable warning signs which should be handled by a veterinarian:

  • Change in water consumption

  • Change in urine volume

  • Depression and listlessness

  • Loss or decreased appetite

  • Chemical odor in breath

  • Weight loss or vomiting

  • Blood in urine

  • Mouth ulcers and pale gums

  • Stumbling and loss of coordination


What are the common causes of UTIs in dogs?

Urinary tract infections are typically caused by intestinal or environmental bacteria that enter and ascend the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. Other UTI causes include:

  • Stones, crystals or debris accumulation in the bladder or urethra

  • Incontinence from excessive water drinking

  • Weak bladder and hormonal issues

  • Physical Trauma

  • Cancer

  • Stress

  • Spinal cord abnormalities

  • Congenital abnormality

  • Prostate disease


How can I tell if my dog is suffering from a urinary tract infection?

There are several recognizable symptoms that are associated with UTIs in canines:

  • Inability to urinate or only passing a small amount of urine

  • Bloody or cloudy urine

  • Fever

  • Loss of bladder control or dribbling urine

  • Increased volume and frequency of urination

  • Straining and crying in pain when trying to pass urine

  • Soiling in inappropriate places

  • Constant licking or soothing of urinary opening

  • Pungent urine odor

  • Lethargy

  • Changes in appetite or vomiting

  • Weight loss

  • Severe back pain

  • Increased water consumption


How is a urinary tract infection diagnosed in dogs?

In most cases, a veterinarian will order a urinalysis to examine a dog’s urine composition and pH. The urine test also screens for the presence of blood in the urine. A vet may also check the kidneys and bladder, and possibly perform a radiograph or ultrasound.


Is there any test kit I can use at home to check if my dog has a UTI?

Instant UTI home urine testing kits are specially designed to detect indicators of urinary tract pathology in your dog’s urine, such as in blood, leukocytes (white blood cells), and nitrite. This test can be used even if no symptoms are observed. In some cases, affected pets could not show clinical signs, and if the infection is not detected early, it can spread to the kidney and lead to serious health conditions which may require surgery.


How are UTIs treated in dogs?

Treatment for UTI in dogs varies depending on the seriousness of the condition. Veterinarian-recommended treatment methods include:

  • Antibiotics or other medications

  • Dietary changes

  • Increase in water intake

  • Urinary acidifiers

  • Expelling of small stones through the urethra

  • Surgery to remove stones or tumors, or to correct congenital abnormality

  • Urinary catheter or surgery to remove urethral blockage in male cats

  • Fluid therapy


How high is the incidence of urinary tract infection in dogs? Which dogs are most prone to urinary tract infections?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) occur in dogs at a rate of 2-3%. Older female dogs and dogs with diabetes are especially vulnerable to UTIs. In addition to UTIs, different types of bladder stones may form in both male and female older dogs, and in some small-sized dog breeds, i.e. Shih Tzus.


Are canine urinary tract infections life-threatening?

If not diagnosed and treated properly, UTI can lead to kidney failure that may be fatal in the long run. However, with early detection, change of lifestyle, and proper treatment, the disease doesn’t have to be life-threatening.


What kinds of treatments are available for dogs with kidney problems?

Treatment for kidney problems in dogs depends on whether symptoms are acute or chronic. Unfortunately, once a dog has lost 75% of total renal function, the ability to remove metabolic waste products is outweighed by toxic buildup. Important chemicals and nutrients are lost from the body and the animal comes closer to fatal uremic poisoning. In some cases, gradual kidney tissue loss can occur for years until "renal failure" is diagnosed. Diet therapy is another treatment option that may be required for an animal with kidney disease. Although there is no evidence of high-protein diets causing kidney damage or disease, excessively high amounts of protein are not ideal for animals already suffering from kidney issues.


Is there a way to prevent kidney problems in dogs?

Yes. It helps to keep an eye on the potential danger your dog may experience outdoors. Trauma to the kidney, for example, can be caused by sudden physical shock to the kidney tissues from being struck by vehicles, baseball bats, kicking, or falls from a height, etc. This can result in suffusive bleeding into the kidney tissue and permanently impair renal function. As for preventing kidney problems due to poisoning, eliminate access to potentially dangerous substances. Do not give dogs any over-the-counter medications without instruction from a veterinarian. Constantly supply fresh water at all times to prevent canine dehydration, and good oral hygiene can also prevent disease.


What is the role of normal kidney function in cats?

The kidneys play a critical role in a cat’s life. They are responsible for removing toxins from the bloodstream and maintaining water and salt balance in the body. The kidneys also help prevent dehydration by concentrating the urine while returning water to the body. Other roles of the kidneys include maintaining electrolyte balance (potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphate, etc.), regulating blood pH and controlling blood pressure. Furthermore, the kidneys are responsible for producing a hormone called erythropoietin which stimulates red blood cell production in the bone marrow.


What causes acute kidney failure in cats?

Chronic renal failure occurs when there is long-standing, irreversible damage to the kidneys that impairs a cat’s ability to filter and remove waste products from the bloodstream. The exact cause of chronic renal failure in cats is unknown, but likely causes include:

  • Age

  • Nephritis and nephrosis, or renal tubule failure

  • Infectious disease, especially feline peritonitis or leukemia

  • Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), especially during periods of hypotension (low blood pressure)

  • Heavy metals (mercury, lead, thallium, etc.) and antibiotics (polymyxin B, gentamicin, amphotericin B, kanamycin, etc.) become poisonous to the kidneys when administered for prolonged periods

  • Hyperthyroidism can be a precursor for chronic renal failure

  • A blockage in the lower urinary tract associated with feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) or a congenital bladder defect

  • Trauma to the abdomen, especially when accompanied by pelvic fracture and rupture of the bladder or urethra

  • Shock, when due to sudden blood loss or rapid dehydration

  • Arterial thromboembolism (a blood clot blocking the artery), particularly when both renal arteries are obstructed

  • Heart failure, when associated with persistent low blood pressure and reduced blood flow to the kidneys

  • Poisoning, especially from ingesting antifreeze or toxic flowers, i.e. lilies


What are signs and symptoms of kidney failure in cats?

Experts agree that symptoms are not usually recognized until approximately 75% of the kidney tissue becomes non-functional as a result of kidney faul. The most noticeable sign of kidney failure in cats is the increased in water consumption and urination.


How is kidney failure in cats diagnosed and screened?

A regular visit to your veterinarian is helpful for monitoring your pet’s health. Your cat may undergo weight check, physical examination, blood pressure measurement and urine tests. Instant kidney failure home urine test kits can detect protein in a cat’s urine without the need for a veterinarian visit. Urinary protein is an indicator of certain types of kidney disease, so early detection can save a pet’s life.


Is it safe to use a urine home test kit to monitor my cat’s health?

Kidney failure home urine test kits for cats are non-invasive, sanitary and convenient to use. They efficiently help with early detection of kidney disease in cats by screening for protein in urine. So, whether or not your cat is showing symptoms that are associated with kidney failure, you can safely use the instant urine test kit we offer to check your cat’s wellness. You can use the result as basis to discuss your cat’s health to your veterinarian.


How common is chronic renal failure in cats?

Chronic renal failure is most common in older cats, but the condition can also strike middle-aged cats. About 1 in 5 cats 15 years of age or older develop renal failure. Chronic renal failure is detected three times more frequently in cats than in dogs.


What is the importance and purpose of insulin in dogs?

Just like in humans, insulin in dogs enables the cell to absorb glucose and produce energy. In cases of diabetes in dogs, glucose remains in the bloodstream until it is expelled in the urine. Dogs with diabetes must receive immediate care to prevent possibly irreversible health complications. Cells deprived of glucose cannot properly replicate, leaving the animal without energy to grow and thrive. The kidneys carry the load of excess glucose disposal, which can lead to kidney failure over time.


How does diabetes occur in dogs?

Diabetes mellitus or “sugar diabetes” is a very common disease in canines. Existing data reveals approximately 1 in 500 dogs develop the condition. Diabetes is a result of inadequate insulin production by the islet cells in the pancreas. Insulin is responsible for maintaining balanced glucose levels to prevent sugar from accumulating in the blood and spilling into urine. A deficiency in insulin results in hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and glycosuria (high urine sugar). Glucose in the urine causes diabetic canines to excrete large volumes of urine.

What breeds of dogs are more vulnerable to diabetes?

All breeds of dogs can be affected by diabetes. Middle aged to older dogs are believed to be more prone to developing the disease. However, high incidence of diabetes mellitus can occur to the following dog breeds:

  • Keeshond

  • Poodle

  • Samoyed

  • Daschund

  • Alaskan malamute

  • Miniature schnauzer

  • Chow chow

  • Beagle

  • Doberman

  • Labrador retriever

  • Hungarian puli

  • Golden retriever

  • Miniature pinscher

  • Old English sheepdog

  • Springer spaniel

  • Schipperke

  • Finnish spitz

  • West Highland white terrier

  • Cairn terrier


What are the recognizable signs of diabetes in dogs?

The early symptoms of diabetes in dogs include:

  • Frequent urination

  • Drinking lots of water

  • Large appetite

  • Unexplained weight loss

Advanced stage symptoms of canine diabetes include:

  • Lethargy

  • Loss of appetite

  • Vomiting

  • Dehydration

  • Weakness

  • Coma

Enlarged organs, susceptibility to infections and neurological problems can also arise if canine diabetes is left untreated.


At what age is diabetes most likely to occur in dogs?

Clinical studies suggest that diabetes is typically found in dogs between 4 and 14 years of age, with peak incidence occurring from 7 to 9 years. Both males and females can develop diabetes, and unspayed females have a slightly higher risk of disease than male dogs.


What kind of treatment should diabetic dogs receive?

Diabetic canine treatment varies based on the severity of symptoms and a dog’s overall health condition. A veterinarian will likely recommend a specific low-sugar diet regimen and provide a list of foods that exacerbate canine diabetes. Medication may also be necessary depending on the degree of diabetes symptoms. Overweight dogs should also undergo a weight loss program for optimal health. If dogs experience accompanying pancreas inflammation, high-fat canned foods should also be avoided. Insulin therapy may also be suggested for long-term canine health management.


How do I monitor diabetes in dogs?

An immediate visit to a veterinarian helps diagnose the health of a dog, particularly if they demonstrate symptoms of diabetes. However, it is possible to monitor a pet’s health at home with instant test kits that monitor urine glucose levels. Instant Diabetes urine testing kit for dogs can help provide early detection of the disease.


Is it safe to use urine home test kits to monitor my dog’s health?

Dog diabetes urine home test kits are clean, safe, and convenient to use. These tests are non-invasive and provide simple handling. If a dog demonstrates symptoms associated with canine diabetes, instant urine test kits screen glucose levels in a dog’s urine. These results can be presented to a veterinarian for further analysis.


What are the possible health effects of diabetes in dogs when left undetected and untreated?

Kidney failure can arise if a diabetic dog is deprived of treatment for too long. Blindness or cataracts can also occur, since the small blood vessels in the retina are affected by high blood glucose. Diabetic dogs are also more prone to urinary tract infections, pancreas inflammation, Cushing's disease, thyroid disease, heart disease, anemia or cancer.


What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes in cats?

If you suspect your cat may be developing diabetes, it is important to seek treatment from your pet’s veterinarian as soon as possible. Early symptoms of feline diabetes include:

  • Frequent urination

  • Drinking lots of water

  • Increased appetite

  • Unexplained weight loss


Upon full onset of diabetes, cats may experience:

  • Lethargy

  • Loss of appetite

  • Vomiting

  • Dehydration

  • Weakness and lack of motivation

  • Unkempt hair and coat

  • Difficulty climbing and jumping

  • Abnormal walking position


Are all cats vulnerable to diabetes?

Risk factors for feline diabetes include:

  • Aging

  • Gender (male cats are more prone to disease)

  • Obesity

  • Physical inactivity

  • Concurrent illness

  • Interfering medication

Male cats are 1.5 times more likely than females to develop metabolic syndrome, and neutering doubles the risk. Certain medical conditions can also lead to diabetes, as well as medications containing steroids.


How common is diabetes in cats?

Diabetes is one of the most common feline health ailments affecting the endocrine system. An estimated 2-5% of cats develop diabetes. In the last three decades, type 2 diabetes in cats has skyrocketed, and currently affects approximately known 800,000 cats in the United States.


What kind of diet is usually recommended for diabetic cats?

Diet plays a key role in managing feline diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled without insulin in most cats via proper dietary therapy and increased exercise. A veterinarian can determine which diet is most suitable for each cat's situation. Overweight cats can begin a weight loss plan to help reverse symptoms of feline diabetes.


If detected early enough, can my cat be cured of diabetes?

Diabetes in cats is not usually cured, but some cases of feline diabetes enter full or partial remission for many months or years. Diabetes can be controlled in your cat once your veterinarian makes a proper diagnosis and provides a diet and medication plan. Regular monitoring of your cat’s blood sugar level is also necessary to promote optimal health.


What are types of diabetes tests are available?

There are two ways a healthcare professional can monitor blood glucose of a diabetes patient:

  1. Self-monitored blood glucose testing is performed randomly during the day with a blood glucose meter that measures the actual concentration of sugar in the blood. Since blood glucose levels vary widely during the day, a single measurement of blood glucose is a poor indicator of overall diabetes control.

  1. Hemoglobin A1c tests measure the amount of sugar attached to the hemoglobin protein in red blood cells. Once the sugar is attached, it stays there for the life of the red blood cell (about 120 days). The higher the blood sugar level, the more sugar attaches to red blood cells. The hemoglobin A1c test measures the amount of sugar sticking to the hemoglobin in the red blood cells, showing the average blood sugar % for the past several months. Dogs with diabetes should have a hemoglobin A1c of 7% or less. It is important to test hemoglobin A1c routinely for comparative assessments of progress.