As pet parents, we always want to keep our furbabies healthy and happy. We must pay close attention to any unusual changes in them. One of the most common health conditions in dogs and cats is kidney disease, which can develop into kidney failure if not treated immediately. In this blog, we’ll look at the most common signs of kidney failure in dogs and cats.
What is Kidney Failure?
Kidney failure, also known as renal failure, is a serious condition affecting dogs and cats of all ages. It occurs when the kidneys cannot efficiently filter waste products from the bloodstream, leading to toxins buildup in the body.
Two Types of Kidney Failure
- Acute Kidney Failure (sudden onset)
- Causes: Toxin ingestion, viral or bacterial infections, urinary blockage, dehydration
- Chronic Kidney Failure (progressed slowly)
- Causes: Age (older) and genetics (some breeds), congenital or hereditary kidney abnormalities, inflammatory and chronic conditions, autoimmune system disorders (e.g. lupus)
Kidney failure can result in various health problems in dogs and cats, such as anaemia, bone diseases, high blood pressure and diabetes. Also known as end-stage kidney disease, prompt veterinary care is essential to manage symptoms to improve the quality of life for affected dogs and cats.
Signs of Kidney Failure in Dogs and Cats: What Pet Parents Should Watch Out For
Change in Urination
Dogs and cats with kidney failure may urinate more frequently, or their urine may become more concentrated and have a more pungent odour. On the other hand, some pets may experience difficulty urinating or stop urinating altogether, which can be fatal if not addressed immediately.
Is your pet losing interest in food or refusing to eat? It may be a sign of kidney failure. At the onset of kidney disease, uremic toxins and acidic compounds build in the blood due to the kidney’s inability to excrete them. Foods start to taste metallic, thus, affecting the pet’s appetite, which can lead to malnutrition and dehydration.
Lethargy and Weakness
One of the most common signs of kidney failure in dogs and cats is their lack of energy. As their kidneys fail, pets may become weaker and more fatigued than usual. They may sleep more than expected or show little interest in going for walks or playing.
Vomiting and Diarrhoea
Dogs and cats with kidney failure may experience bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea as their bodies try to eliminate toxins and waste. Their stool may be loose or watery. In severe cases, these symptoms can lead to dehydration, which can be life-threatening if not treated immediately.
Bad Breath and Poor Coat Condition
As a result of the toxins buildup in the body, pets suffering from kidney failure may exhibit a distinct and noticeable breath odour, commonly described as “uremic” or “ammonia-like”. Additionally, the coats of dogs and cats may become dry, dull, and flaky. For cats, in particular, sometimes their hair appears to be matted or clumpy.
If You See Signs of Kidney Failure in Dogs and Cats, Don’t Lose Hope
Kidney failure is a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention. While it cannot be cured or reversed and can eventually lead to a pet’s passing, there are at-home and in-vet treatments that can help manage the symptoms and extend your pet’s life for as long as possible.
If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, consult a veterinarian immediately. It’s vital to stay informed about your pet’s health and be on the lookout for signs or any unusual changes in behaviour and appearance. By being proactive, you can keep your furbaby in a caring and comfortable environment for years to come.