Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is a common disease in both dogs and cats, especially those reaching their senior years.

What do the kidneys do?

The kidneys act as a filter, removing wastes from the blood that are generated from the metabolism of food, as well as regulating fluid and mineral balance in the body.

Acute kidney disease (AKD)

Acute kidney disease is sudden and severe. It involves sudden or acute onset deterioration in kidney function, leading to rapid accumulation of toxins. Some causes of AKD are the ingestion of poisons and certain prescribed medications. Also, any time where blood flow to the kidney is badly decreased this can lead to acute kidney disease. Dehydration, severe vomiting, diarrhoea and heatstroke are leading causes.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD)

CKD can be present for months to years before any symptoms are noticed. There is no cure for CKD and often when it is detected, the kidneys have suffered advanced damage. The cause of CKD varies but some possible causes include:

  • Congenital birth defects
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Immune diseases
  • Bacterial infections
  • Kidney stones
  • Poison toxicity
  • Long term use of certain medications

What can you do to identify kidney disease in your pet?

  1. Regular check ups with the Veterinarian
  2. Annual blood & urine tests to monitor any changes in the function of the kidneys

What can you do to prevent kidney disease in your pet?

  1. Always have a good amount of water available
  2. Feed a good quality commercial pet food
  3. Do not allow excessive protein intake, especially if your pet has a problem
  4. Annual blood & urine tests: the sooner it is identified, changes can be made to slow the progression of the disease

Management of Kidney Disease – Diet

The Veterinarian has just told you that your pet has kidney disease, what do you do now?

Whether your pet is old or young there are management paths you can now consider to still give your pet quality of life whilst dealing with this disease.

Dietary Modifications

Making specific dietary changes for your pet can dramatically slow the progression of the disease. Restricting protein and phosphorus intake in the diet will improve the wellbeing of your pet by ensuring that toxin production (which gives the kidneys work to do in filtering it out) is minimized. I bet you’re wondering “How do I do that?” Read on and we will explain further.

We recommend a commercial pet food specifically designed for kidney disease, it’s produced by Royal Canin and is named Renal diet. It contains a bare minimum of protein – still plenty to provide your pet with what it needs to be healthy, but much lower than ordinary diets, so that the kidneys have far less work to do and toxin levels in the bloodstream can decrease. It also contains restricted phosphorus levels and a high level of fish oil to improve filtration by the kidneys.

This diet is highly palatable so your pets will love it! Royal Canin knew that reducing protein in this diet can make it less tasty, so was important for them to find a way around this. It comes in both a wet form and dry biscuits, depending on what your pet prefers. The reason why this diet is highly recommended is because it’s a balanced diet and there is enough scientific evidence to show that it actually helps!

Sometimes it seems easier and less costly to make your pet a home cooked diet, but what you are making is not necessarily a balanced diet. How do you know that your pet is getting all the minerals and vitamins it needs and in the right balance? Home cooked diets can be a contributing factor to many medical issues associated with our pets such as mineral deficiencies, obesity, joint disorders and much more.

Royal Canin offer a 100% money back guarantee, so if your pet does not like it you can return the food.

Transitioning to a new diet

Make sure you do not transition your pet onto the new diet too quickly. This can cause stomach upsets and palatability issues. It’s best to introduce the diet over a 7 day period. If you need help in doing this please contact us, as we would be glad to help.

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