The silent disease
We often refer to kidney disease as the silent killer as it can sneak up on your pet and signs may be subtle and hard to notice. This type of kidney disease is referred to as chronic kidney disease and is something we may detect in an older cat.
In other cases, kidney disease can come on quickly following an insult from a toxin, a certain drug or a disease. This is referred to as acute kidney disease and might for example occur in a dog who has eaten grapes or sultanas that contain a kidney toxin.
The kidneys contain thousands of little factories called nephrons and their job is to work out how much water should be conserved in the body. Once damaged or destroyed, nephrons do not function properly and can’t regenerate. As a result, the body doesn’t conserve enough water so your pet will urinate more and will drink more to stay hydrated. Surprisingly, your pet may not show any changes on blood tests until 75% of these nephrons are damaged.
Signs to watch out for:
Measuring your pet’s water intake over 24 hours and bringing us a morning urine sample are two things you can do to get the investigation process started. A blood test, urine testing and a measure of your pet’s blood pressure may then be necessary. If we detect the kidneys are not working properly, the earlier we initiate treatment with diet modification the better.
There is also now a new medication available that can help reduce protein loss through the kidneys and can help slow the progress of this insidious disease. Ask us if your pet requires this medication.
If you are worried about your pet you should phone us for advice.