Kidney Awareness and Pets

Photo: Missy M.

In honor of National Kidney Month, Braxton’s Animal Works wants to remind pet owners to be aware of the signs and causes of kidney disease.

Did you know that the most common cause of kidney failure in pets is the ingestion of toxic materials? According to Penn Vet, antifreeze, lily plants, grapes, raisins, and certain types of human medications are some of the biggest culprits. If your pet has ingested a toxic substance, the reaction is usually severe and sudden.

  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • extreme lethargy
  • fever

If any of these signs are present after consumption of a known toxic, contact your veterinarian immediately. While in acute cases, the signs occur suddenly and can be very severe prompting immediate attention, in chronic kidney disease, the onset may be very slow and the signs not as obvious.

Chronic Kidney Failure presents itself in slow changes over time. Often the earliest signs, an increase in thirst and urination with a need to urinate at night, are missed by owners. Other subtle signs that there may be a problem include variable weight loss, poor hair coat, lethargy, and selective appetite. As the condition progresses, more signs appear. Many times, the condition is found in older pets and is due to age.

It is often caused by underlying illness, congenital, or hereditary conditions. But surprisingly, a main cause of chronic kidney failure in dogs is dental disease. Bacteria associated with advanced dental disease enter the blood stream and invade multiple organs, causing irreversible damage to the heart, liver and kidneys. For information on how to keep your pet’s mouth healthy, check out Braxton’s February blog, “Does Your Pet Have Bad Breath?”

With early treatment, pets with kidney disease can go on to live happy lives, so that is why it is important to keep those regular veterinary appointments. Keeping track of your pet’s weight as well as his eating and drinking habits is essential to helping him remain healthy.

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