What do Kidneys Do?
The kidneys are important organs within the abdomen and receive about 20% of the blood supply from the heart. They filter the blood and excrete waste product into the urine. The kidneys also produce hormones that are responsible for the production of red blood cells and are instrumental in helping to maintain blood pressure.
What is Kidney Disease?
Kidney (Renal) Disease is a broad ranging term that describes the existence of kidney damage, but not the cause, the severity or the amount of damage present.
Renal failure describes the state where kidney function is decreased to the extent that toxic by-products are present in the blood. Renal failure occurs when approximately ¾ of kidney function is lost.
Acute Renal Failure occurs when there is an abrupt decrease in renal function, usually caused by a toxic injury or by decreased oxygen and blood supply to the kidneys. In some cases acute renal failure can be reversible, where blood supply can be restored quickly or toxins can be removed from the body.
Chronic Renal Failure occurs over a period of months to years and is non-reversible. Treatments are available for chronic kidney disease and are based on a threefold approach; to reduce the work-load of the remaining renal tissue, reducing the clinical symptoms associated with renal disease and delaying the progression of kidney damage.
What causes Chronic Renal Disease?
Many things have the potential to cause renal damage, including infections, toxins (such as snake-bites, spider bites and household chemicals), urinary obstructions, cancers, inherited and congenital disorders.
How do I know if my dog or cat is affected?
The usual symptoms of renal disease include loss of appetite, weight loss, increased thirst and excessive urination. Older animals may show increased signs of gum disease.
Definitive diagnosis of renal disease usually requires a urine sample and blood tests. Yearly examination of urine can be performed free of charge when a sample is produced at vaccination.