Pet Care Articles...

At Village Veterinary Practice, we care about your pet's well being and home care as much as their medical health. Below you will find some articles that we have written to help you take care of your pet.

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Renal Disease 
Renal disease is a general term that refers to damage of the kidneys. The kidney is responsible for filtering the normal metabolic wastes the body creates and maintaining hydration and normal electrolyte balance. The kidney is also the source of a hormone called erythropoietin, which stimulates new red blood cell formation. The kidney can undergo organ failure, organ insufficiency, congenital and genetic diseases, cancer, damage from toxins and many other conditions. The most commonly seen conditions in dogs and cats are acute renal failure and chronic renal failure. Pets with these conditions often don’t feel like eating, become lethargic and can develop vomiting, and loose weight.

Acute renal failure is often caused by exposure to a toxin that forms a compound that blocks the filtering units of the kidney. These pets become very sick extremely quickly after exposure. Some bacterial diseases like Leptospirosis can cause acute failure.

Chronic renal failure is caused by a gradual condition that slowly destroys the filtering units of the kidney. Once 66% of the filtering units are lost, your pet is no longer able to adequately filter out the body’s normal metabolic wastes. As the metabolic wastes build up the kidney’s ability to stimulate new red blood cell production is decreased. Pets with chronic renal failure often begin to drink more water, become lethargic, loose their appetite and in later stages develop vomiting and oral ulcers.

Immediate treatment of either acute renal failure or chronic renal failure entails trying to get the metabolic waste levels back down to a normal state. This is usually accomplished by giving intravenous fluids for approximately 48-72 hours, in a process called diuresis. It is important to monitor the patient with lab work and testing to assess the progress towards recovery. Long-term management is usually focused on diet change, blood pressure management and preserving the remaining filtering units of the kidney. Annual or semi-annual blood and urine testing can help your veterinarian recognize early kidney disease and start appropriate therapy before it progresses to kidney failure. Ask us at Village Veterinary Practice for help and advice if you have any questions.

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