10 Common Causes of Kidney Disease in Dogs
Kidney disease is a common problem of older dogs, affecting an estimated 10% of canines in their lifetimes1. There are a number of causes that may affect different age groups and have different consequences, ultimately though, chronic kidney disease (occurs over time) or acute kidney injury (occurs suddenly) will always have the same result—one sick pup. The signs of illness in your dog reflect the failure of the kidneys to do their many jobs well enough.
Below you will find a brief description of ten common causes of kidney disease. These are the targets of your veterinarian’s testing:
1. Damage to the kidney filters (glomerular disease)
The glomerulus of the kidney (kidney filtration mechanism) is commonly involved in canine kidney disease.
2. Infection of kidney tissues (pyelonephritis)
Infection of kidney tissues with bacteria, or rarely, fungal organisms, is one of the kidney diseases that may have a more favorable outcome, so your veterinarian will be on the lookout for it.
3. Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis)
Kidney stones can be the product of chronic bacterial infection, genetics or diseases that alter blood or urine characteristics.
4. Kidney blockage (ureteral obstruction with hydronephrosis)
Kidney stones can fragment and be carried along with urine into the ureter, the long narrow tube that connects each kidney to the urinary bladder.
5. Damage to kidney tubules (tubulointerstitial disease)
Inflammation and damage to the kidney tubules and supporting tissues commonly leads to chronic kidney disease.
6. Bacterial infection (leptospirosis)
Bacterial infection with leptospires causes kidney disease and other organ challenges in dogs and people all over the world.
Lots of household items can damage the kidneys, not just antifreeze. Ordinary table foods like grapes and raisins; certain commercial jerky treat products; common OTC medications like aspirin or other nonsteroidals (NSAIDs); or prescribed medications can all cause kidney disease.
Fortunately, kidney cancer is not very common in dogs.
9. Protein issue (amyloidosis)
Patients with amyloidosis lose function in certain organs, including the kidneys, because protein deposits replace the normal tissue.
There are genetic links to various kinds of kidney disease for many purebred dogs.
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