What is Kidney Disease?
Kidney disease, also known as renal disease frequently affects both cats and dogs. The kidneys have a very important function within the body which is to filter the blood and remove waste products. If these organs do not function properly, waste products accumulate in the body causing your pet to become very ill.
There are two forms of kidney disease, acute renal disease and chronic renal disease. In acute renal disease, symptoms occur suddenly and are often a result of toxicity, infections and changes in the body that restrict the blood supply to the kidneys. Acute renal disease is sudden and severe.
Chronic renal disease (CRD) occurs gradually and over a longer period and there may not be any observable signs of illness. If left untreated, kidney failure can occur and result in serious health complications for your pet.
The common symptoms and signs of kidney disease include:
- An increase in water consumption
- Increase in volume of urination
- Lack of urination
- Decrease in urination
- Voiding urination during the night
- Blood in the urine
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Hunched over posture accompanied with a reluctance to walk
- Poor skin and hair condition
What Causes Kidney Disease?
The causes of renal failure and include:
- Fungal, viral, and bacterial infections
- Autoimmune diseases
- Congenital diseases
- Amyloidosis (a disease caused by the abnormal deposits of certain types of protein in the kidney)
- Inherited disorders
- Toxic reaction to certain medications
Diagnosing Kidney Disease
The diagnosis of kidney disease is based on the symptoms, thorough physical examination and review of your pet’s medical history. Certain diagnostic tests such as blood tests, urinalysis, x-rays and ultrasonography may be performed to determine the cause of kidney disease.
Help for Kidney Disease
Your vet will prescribe various medications to reduce the workload on the kidneys. Certain dietary changes such as a low protein, sodium and phosphorus diet including drinking plenty of fresh, clean water will be recommended.
In more severe cases, hospitalization may be required where intravenous fluids, medications and nutritional support will be administered. Kidney dialysis and kidney transplants may also be performed on cats and dogs, but keep in mind that these treatments are extremely costly.
Natural remedies have also proven to be highly effective in improving kidney functioning and providing support to the urinary system in both humans and animals. Herbal and homeopathic remedies are gentle enough to use of the body’s system without any harsh side effects while also providing overall health and wellbeing.
Well known herbs such as Arctium lappa (Burdock), Taraxacum officinalis (Dandelion) and Galium aperine (Cleavers) help the kidneys act as blood purifier and systemic cleanser, maintain a healthy pressure and provide support to the urinary tract system.