How Renal Dysplasia Affects Dogs
Renal dysplasia is one of several congenital kidney disorders that can be seen in domestic dogs, which means that the disorder is present at birth. However, the actual symptoms of renal dysplasia may not become apparent for weeks to many months, despite the fact that the abnormality exists when the affected dog is born. Sometimes, symptoms of renal dysplasia never are noticed by the owners of affected dogs.
The signs of renal dysplasia depend upon the severity and types of kidney disorders that are present in the particular dog. Symptoms can include abnormalities in urine production, concentration or excretion. They also can include excretion of nutrients or substances in urine that normally should be retained in circulating blood.
Symptoms of Renal Dysplasia
Dogs whose kidneys have developed abnormally can manifest a number of symptoms, most of which usually are tied to chronic renal insufficiency or failure. They typically include one or more of the following:
- Increased formation and excretion of a large volume of urine (polyuria; PU; usually evident by 6 to 24 months of age)
- Increased thirst or excessive water intake (polydypsia; PD; usually evident by 6 to 24 months of age)
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Failure to have normal heat cycles (anestrus)
- Lack of appetite (inappetence; anorexia)
- Poor growth (stunted growth)
- Poor weight gain (body wasting)
- Poor wound healing
- Pale mucous membranes (pallor)
- Poor hair coat
- Poor body condition
- Oral sores (oral ulceration)
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Bone pain
Dogs at Increased Risk
Renal dysplasia has been reported in more than 20 breeds of companion dogs, including the Alaskan Malamute, Bedlington Terrier, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Doberman Pinscher, Golden Retriever, Keeshond, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Norwegian Elkhound, Samoyed, Shih Tzu, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and Standard Poodle. It appears that certain family lines of dogs are more commonly affected. Dogs with unilateral renal dysplasia (where only one kidney is developmentally abnormal) may or may not ever show signs of kidney disease or failure, depending upon the functional health of the other kidney.