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Dogs suffering from long-term kidney failure will often undergo fluid therapy to assist with depleted body fluid levels (dehydration). Dietary protein is sometimes restricted, since it can further compound the problem.
Although there is no cure for chronic renal failure, there are numerous steps that can be taken to minimize the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. For instance, feeding your dog a specially formulated kidney diet, or other diet low in protein, phosphorus, calcium, and sodium, is usually very helpful. These specially formulated foods will usually have a higher level of potassium and polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids), both have shown to be beneficial to the kidneys. The downside is that these foods are not flavorful.
If your dog is resistant to its new diet, small amounts of tuna juice, chicken stock, or other flavor enhancers can be used with guidance from your veterinarian.
Maintaining hydration is critical. You will need to ensure your dog always has an adequate amount of clean water to drink. If your dog has been diagnosed with dehydration, supplemental fluids may be given intravenously or under the skin (subcutaneously).
Phosphorus binders and vitamin D supplements are often given to dogs with chronic renal failure in an attempt to improve calcium and phosphorus balance, and to reduce some of the secondary effects of renal failure. H-2 receptor blockers, or other medications to treat the secondary gastric ulcers and gastritis that develops, can be helpful in increasing a dog's appetite. Depending on the symptoms and conditions, other medications that may be considered include:
Anti-hypertensives to decrease blood pressure
Enalapril to block angiotensin, a natural blood pressure elevator
Erythropoietin to stimulate the production of red blood cells, thus increasing oxygen in the tissues
Living and Management
Chronic renal failure is a progressive disease. Dogs experiencing this disease should be monitored on an ongoing basis, with frequent check-ups to ensure that it is not necessary to make changes to medications or diet.
Your dog's prognosis will depend on the severity of the disease and its stages of progression, but a few months, or a few years of stability may be expected, with the proper treatment. The best way to manage this disease is to follow through with the treatments your veterinarian prescribes.
Pet owners are advised not to breed dogs that have developed chronic kidney disease.
There are currently no known methods for preventing kidney disease.