Dog Renal Failure, Dog Allergies, and Other Pet Health Advice

Our resident vet offers pet health advice on dog renal failure, dog allergies, and assorted other topics.

| August/September 1994

The following pet health  questions were submitted by readers. 

Dog Renal Failure

Dear Andrea:  

Our 12-year-old Gordon setter was recently diagnosed with renal failure. How long will he flve and what does this mean? 

—Carol Newell

Helena, Montana 

Dear Carol:

Kidneys filter and remove from the blood- stream waste materials acquired from the body's metabolism. Kidney disease refers to any destructive process within the kidney. Kidney failure is the end result of kidney disease. Failure may have many different causes, including inherited defects, infections, ingestion of toxic substances, and nutritional factors. It is one of the most common medical problems in geriatric dogs and cats and often occurs secondary to heart failure and hypertension. In kidney (renal) failure, the kidney fails to filter blood adequately, so some of the waste materials remain in the blood and become toxic to cells.

If it is detected early on, a change in diet may be all that is required to treat kidney disease. Kidney failure, however, may make it necessary for an ill pet to be hospitalized for proper fluid therapy and medications. Dietary management is an important part of therapy. By feeding your pet a well-balanced diet with reduced amounts of phosphorus and sodium and including high- quality protein, the quantity of waste materials filtered by the diseased kidneys is also reduced. Frequently, supplementing with a multiple vitamin (one a day) may be beneficial. You may slow the progression of chronic renal failure by providing such sound nutrition and free access to plenty of clean, fresh water and protecting your pet from stress, such as excitement, extreme exertion, or hot and cold temperature extremes.

Dog Allergies

Dear Andrea:  

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