Definition of Kidney Disease
Kidney disease, also called renal disease, is fairly common in dogs, especially as they age. The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products from the blood. They also produce a number of important hormones and help regulate the body’s concentrations of hydrogen, sodium, calcium, potassium, phosphate and other key substances. One of the most troubling aspects of kidney disease is that affected dogs don’t show signs until about 75% of their kidneys are irreversibly damaged. Their symptoms appear suddenly, even when the disease has been progressing for some time. Signs stem from the kidneys’ fading ability to flush toxins out of circulation and are extremely varied. They include weakness, lethargy, increased water consumption and urine output, weight loss, abdominal distension and pain, oral ulcers, bad breath, vomiting, diarrhea and a bunch of other things. Dogs with end-stage kidney disease have high blood pressure, stop eating and ultimately collapse, go into a coma and even can die. Unfortunately, owners usually don’t detect kidney disease until the damage has become irreversible.