Kidney disease affects both dogs and cats and is typically divided into two main forms: acute and chronic.
Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) is a sudden insult to the kidneys that causes accumulation of toxins in the blood (those toxins that would normally be discarded by the kidneys). This results in very emergent illness that might manifest in vomiting, diarrhea, inappetance, and either excessive urination or decreased urination.
The most common cause of acute kidney disease in animals is the ingestion of toxins such as antifreeze, grapes/raisins/currants, certain drugs, lilies, etc. Other causes may be an ascending urinary tract infection or congenital disease. Acute kidney disease is treated according to the underlying cause but often involves removal of the toxin, decontamination, and aggressive fluid therapy. This form of kidney disease is often reversible with early and aggressive treatment.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD/CRF) is a slow and ongoing loss of kidney function that may or may not have a known cause. This is more common in our feline patients. Most patients are not sick initially but will develop symptoms as the disease progresses. Most commonly, CKD is picked up on screening bloodwork and urinalysis, but you may also notice your pet drinking and urinating more than usual. This disease is not reversible, but treatment is aimed at maintaining the patient’s hydration and slowing the progression of the kidney disease with nutrition/alterations in diet, supplements/holistic treatments, and normalizing electrolyte imbalances. Well managed CKD patients can live months to years longer with a good quality of life, but as with most diseases, early diagnosis is key!
Please call us at 843-795-5295 immediately if you know of any toxins your pet could have been exposed to or notice any of the following: increased urination/drinking, vomiting, diarrhea, or inappetence.