Acute Kidney Injury in Dogs

Image of sick dog with empty pill bottles.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial, worldwide disease that can also affect humans. Dogs are usually exposed by contact with the urine of affected animals, often wildlife, or by drinking contaminated water. There is a vaccine that can protect dogs from four strains of Lepto.

Antifreeze toxicity is another common cause of renal damage. Dogs like the sweet taste, and ingesting even a small amount can affect the kidneys. They are often exposed by licking the garage floor where the car radiator has leaked.

Drugs can cause kidney damage; NSAID's, some antibiotics, and heart medications have been incriminated. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID's) can cause renal damage, especially if over dosed. This most frequently happens when a dog, receiving a chewable form for arthritis, chews up and eats the whole bottle of pills! Be sure these bottles are out of reach of all your pets. A class of antibiotics called aminoglycosides can cause kidney damage if over dosed or if the dog is dehydrated. Heart medications can stress the kidneys, as well as the heart disease itself can stress the kidneys. Heart patients on meds will usually have their kidney function checked regularly.

A bad infection of the kidneys called pyelonephritis will cause renal damage. A variety of bacteria can cause this. Cultures of the urine are important to determine which antibiotics are effective, then to assess if and when the infection resolves.

Foods and treats can even cause kidney damage. Raisins, grapes, and currants can cause kidney damage, although the toxin is unknown. It does seem to be from the flesh of the fruit and not the seed. Even just a handful of grapes has sickened dogs.

The chicken jerky treats from China have sickened, and even killed, hundreds of dogs. The FDA has released warnings, but the treats are still available on the market. There has been a great deal of study, and inspection of facilities in China, but the toxin has still not been identified. There are reports that the duck jerky and veggie jerky treats may also cause kidney disease.

Watch for Symptoms

Symptoms of acute kidney disease are vomiting, lethargy, poor appetite or not eating at all, possible diarrhea, not passing urine, or possibly urinating more volume than normal. Depending on the cause, there may be fever and abdominal pain.

Treatment always includes hospitalization and intravenous fluid therapy. Time is critical as the longer the disease process endures, the more kidney tissue damage may occur and may become permanent. If it is possible that your dog ingested antifreeze, call your emergency hospital right away as there is an antidote but it needs to be administered within a few hours. Other treatments, depending on the cause, may include antibiotics and drugs to control nausea.

If you suspect your dog may have developed kidney damage, an examination, blood tests, and urine tests are in order. Your veterinarian can diagnose and treat your dog. Better yet, discuss with your veterinarian methods to try to prevent kidney damage!

Sources:

"Acute Kidney Injury in Dogs of the Central Coast". Colleen Brady, DVM. DACVECC, Pacific Tide newsletter , Volume 2, issue 1.

"Aminoglycosides: Nephrotoxicity". Mingeot-Leclercq and Tullen, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 1999 May; 43 (5) 1003 - 1012

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

TEMPORARY ADJUSTED COVID-19 VIRUS HOURS AND DAYS

Monday:

9:00 AM-5:00 pm

Tuesday:

9:00 AM-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

9:00 AM-5:00 PM

Thursday:

9:00 AM-7:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 AM-5:00 PM

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Feedback from our clients

  • "Thanks for everything you did for Ready !
    Obviously he loved you all !"
    Bart V.
  • "I will continue to bring my furkids to Buck Road. They are absolutely wonderful with my dog and have been a great resource for my cat who suffers from allergies and kidney problems. They really care about their patients and their humans, and listen to me when I have concerns. They are never, ever overcrowded. Usually there is maybe one other dog in the waiting room. That is a relief and keeps everyone's stress levels down! The facility is clean and staff is always friendly and willing to walk you through, step by step, the treatment plan ahead. I never leave feeling confused. I love this place - and we keep coming back despite moving pretty far away!"
    Courtny S.
  • "Awesome staff ~ great veterinary care ~ Dutch is lucky to have such wonderful professionals looking after him!"
    Beverly B.
  • "A top notch practice. Highly recommend."
    Jason D.
  • "I've been bringing my pets to Buck Road Animal Hospital almost from the time they started and I have never had anything but positive experiences there. The staff feel like friends to me and they always make you feel like they're happy to see you and your pets. The vets take their time with you and your pets and they go out of their way to give you any information you might need about a pet's condition or treatment. I have A LOT of pets and some of my dogs have aggression issues but you'd never know it to see them there. They understand how to make any animal feel at ease and even my most difficult dog is welcomed there. I'd never go anywhere else. Best veterinary practice anywhere."
    Mary K.
  • "I have been a client of Buck Road Animal Hospital for 30 years..and they are the all the greatest caring friendly kind people..I would not go anywhere else..They go out of there way to accommodate you..They are Number 1..Hats off to Caroline Renee Leanne Donna Lindie and to the best vets Dr Steve and Dr Mary Pat."
    Carole M.
  • "Probably the greatest animal hospital of all-time. The staff is superb, and the Doctors are as kind and knowledgeable as they come. Can't wait for our next visit!"
    Andrew S.