by Maddie Smith MRCVS, Ryedale Vets
The most common form of kidney disease in dogs and cats is known as chronic kidney disease (CKD) as it develops over time. It affects around 1% of all dogs and around 3% of all cats but is much more common in older animals. CKD can have several different causes, but is irreversible and in most cases progressive.
Ordinarily, the kidneys have an important role in getting rid of waste products from the blood and maintaining the balance of water and other compounds in the blood. In kidney disease these functions are disturbed and can lead to build up of certain toxins in the blood, as well as often affecting the blood pressure.
As vets, our best chance of slowing the progression of kidney disease is if we can detect it early. Early signs can be very subtle, but some of the most common things to look out for are increases in thirst and urine volume, weight loss and a reduced appetite.
Kidney disease is usually diagnosed using a combination of your history, a physical examination of your pet, blood testing and urine testing. Sometimes it may be necessary to measure blood pressure and perform an ultrasound scan of the kidneys.
If your pet is diagnosed in the early stages of CKD then our aim with treatment is to improve their symptoms and day-to-day quality of life whilst hoping to slow progression of the disease. The most significant difference we can make to patients with CKD is to modify their diet. Kidney diets are usually moderately protein-restricted and low in phosphate compared to standard diets. In some cases medication is also indicated and will vary depending on the symptoms your pet has and the results of further testing.
We can offer an initial urine analysis for kidney disease during our nurse lead healthy Senior Pet Clinics. Please contact us for details.
Station Road, Helmsley, YO62 5BZ Tel: 01439 771166
133 Eastgate, Pickering YO18 7DW Tel: 01751 472204