Kidney Failure in the Dog

1 06 2011

Kidney Failure in the Dog


A 2005 survey of United States Veterinarians found that 5.2% of dogs brought in for evaluation had Chronic Renal Disease (CRD).  In geriatric dogs that value is over 10%.


Normal Creatinine levels run 0.5 to 1.6 mg/dl in the dog.


Levels showing 1.4 to 2.0 reflect mild renal azotemia.  These levels indicate there is sufficient loss of renal tissue that azotemia is present but at a level were clinical signs of disease are not noticeable.  Progression from this point may be erratic but usually takes only weeks to months to worsen. The most important factor during this period is to slow the progression of the disease.


Creatinine levels of 2.1 to 5.0 indicated moderate renal azotemia.  During this stage there is further decline in the kidneys and an increased likelihood of clinical signs relating to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).


When creatinine levels of greater than 5 occur they are indicative of severe azotemia.  The patients have clinical signs often referred to as the uremic syndrome.  Identifying and alleviating azotemic complications is critical at this stage.


The rate of disease progression through these stages will determine whether the disease is acute or chronic.  Some causes of renal insufficiency will progress rapidly, some slower and others may remain stable for prolonged periods of time.


Goals of therapy should include ensuring adequate caloric intake, limiting the clinical signs of kidney disease and slowing down the disease progression.


Diet affects the magnitude of complications of kidney disease.  Dietary phosphorus must be limited in order to prevent hyperphosphatemia.


Each individual kidney contains approximately 500,000 individual nephrons per kidney.  When kidney tissue is injured individual nephrons are either destroyed or remain intact.

The remaining nephrons will undergo adaptive changes to help cope with the increasing demand for filtration.  These nephrons will increase in size, filtration rate and pressure.


Renal failure occurs when there is a loss of 75% of nephron function.


Clinical signs of renal failure include inappetance, weight loss.







Antech Diagnostics News. August 2007. pp 1-2.




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