Just like humans, our pets have kidneys too.
The role of the kidneys is to filter out waste from the blood which in turn produces urine, together with playing an important role in maintaining the balance of fluids and electrolytes within the body, the kidneys produce hormones and enzymes that help regulate various metabolic functions throughout the body.
When there is a problem with any aspect of the kidneys function, this is referred to as kidney disease or renal failure.
Because the kidneys play such a vital role in filtering waste products from the blood, if this process is not working correctly
your pet can become sick due to the build-up of toxic waste products in the blood which would normally have been excreted out of the body via the urine.
Kidney disease can be caused by infections, traumatic injuries, exposure to toxins, dehydration and heatstroke. Kidney disease can also occur more commonly in older pets.
The signs of kidney disease can include:
Diagnosis and treatment
If we suspect that your pet may be suffering from kidney disease, then it is common to performing a urine test and a blood test which can measure different enzymes and substances in the blood and urine to determine if the kidneys are functioning normally.
Further diagnostic tests may often also be indicated, including imaging (x-rays or ultrasound), blood pressure measurement and further blood tests.
Treatment for kidney disease will vary depending on the cause and severity of the illness.
What is important to be aware of, is that when ever the kidney levels are abnormally high, it indicates that at least 75% of the kidney has been damaged, and the remaining 25% is doing all the work.
Whilst treatment can help the kidneys function better, and reduce the workload, it sadly does not cure the problem.
Most pets however can be very well managed with appropriate treatment, and in particular a therapeutic Kidney diet.