Chronic Kidney Disease (Failure)

What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

CKD is a progressive loss of function of the kidneys.  The kidneys are responsible for maintaining blood salt and water balance, as well as detoxing the body.  As animals age their kidneys, much like the rest of the body start to work less effectively.  There are a variety of factors that can hasten this process, but largely the cause will remain undetectable.  This disease can occur in young animals, but is more common the older an animal gets.  Whilst it occurs commonly in both older cats and dogs, it tends to affect cats at a high frequency.

What are the symptoms of CKD?

By the time symptoms are noticed, cats and dogs have progressed quite far along the disease process, and may have less than 30% of their kidney function remaining.  During earlier stages of the disease the urine is less concentrated.  This can easily be detected with basic urine testing.  Later on as the disease progresses this increased urination may present as loss of house training.  Animals have accidents around the house when this has previously not been an issue.  Severe end stage disease leads to weight loss, vomiting, lethargy and inappetence.

How do we test for CKD?

Dilute urine is a non-specific sign and can be associated with a number of other common problems.  If dilute urine is detected, we perform blood tests to determine the cause, and if kidney disease is present, to stage the severity.  Some other tests may be recommended, depending on these results.

Can CKD be treated?

CKD cannot be cured.  We can however treat to slow the progression, and to improve your pet’s quality of life, as well as increasing life expectancy.  Treatment will vary depending on disease stage and specific urine changes.  Initially treatment consists of a diet change, and later medications may be added into the treatment.

For more information on CKD see this website produced by the Washington State University

If you have any queries about your pets renal function, please call to arrange an appointment.


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