Niereninsuffizienz beim Hund - BugBell GmbH

Renal insufficiency in dogs

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Canine renal failure refers to a condition in which the dog's kidney function is impaired. This condition occurs when the kidneys are no longer able to adequately remove waste products and excess fluids from the body.

The dog's kidney

The kidneys perform various functions that are carried out by the smallest functional units called "nephrons" or "nephrenes". These units are responsible for the filtration of the blood, the absorption of vital substances from the blood, and the production of urine as a result of this filtration process.
Nephrons show remarkable adaptability, being able to compensate for the loss of other nephrons by increasing their output by up to 200%. They also have a slow but effective ability to regenerate. However, this ability to regenerate can mean that disorders in kidney functions remain undetected for a long time.


In addition to their filtering function, the kidneys are also responsible for the following tasks:

  1. The excretion of urinary substances.
  2. The regulation of water and electrolyte balance.
  3. The regulation of the acid-base balance.
  4. Participation in tasks in the endocrine (hormonal) system.

Where are the kidneys in dogs?

A dog's kidneys are located in the back of the abdomen, along the spine. They are retroperitoneal, that is, they lie outside the abdominal cavity, behind the peritoneum. Normally, one kidney is located on each side of the spine, near the lower part of the ribcage and the upper part of the abdomen. The exact location can vary depending on dog size and anatomy, but generally the kidneys are located in the back of the dog's abdomen.

kidney dog

Kidney diseases in dogs

The frequency of kidney disease in dogs, both acute and especially chronic, is steadily increasing. Problems associated with urinary crystals, urinary grit and urinary stones are also common and are directly linked to the functioning of the kidneys (renal insufficiency) . The kidneys play a crucial role in the overall metabolism and are therefore particularly vulnerable to stress, especially in the context of errors in feeding, care and husbandry.

Detailed information on the following aspects:

  1. Renal insufficiency (see this article)
  2. Urinary stones

Kidney failure in dogs?

The term “chronic kidney disease” or CKD describes a gradually progressive, incurable disease that only becomes apparent when 66-75% of kidney function is impaired. Subsequently, the term "renal insufficiency" is not used in a strictly medical sense, but rather serves as a general term for inadequate performance of the kidneys, regardless of whether there are functional disorders or an actual loss of kidney cells has occurred.

Symptoms of kidney failure

The symptoms of kidney failure in dogs can be diverse and can vary as the disease progresses. Some of the most common signs include:

  1. Increased drinking and urination: Dogs with kidney failure may drink excessively (polydipsia) and urinate more frequently (polyuria) , or conversely, they may urinate less and appear dehydrated. A decline in house training for no apparent reason can also occur.

  2. Changes in fur: A dull coat, hair breakage and skin problems can indicate impaired kidney function, accompanied by itching.

  3. Urinary problems: The appearance of urinary crystals and grit in the urine and the formation of urinary stones are signs of potential kidney problems.

  4. Pale mucous membranes: Signs of kidney disease can also include pale mucous membranes.

  5. Weight loss and loss of appetite: The dog may lose his appetite, resulting in weight loss. This often happens due to nausea or a bad taste in the mouth due to urea buildup in the blood.

  6. Indigestion : Intermittent indigestion such as vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea may indicate kidney disease.

  7. Fatigue and Weakness: The dog may be lethargic, appear less active, and generally weak.

  8. Bad breath odor: A urine-like smell from the dog's mouth can indicate the buildup of toxins in the blood.

  9. Changes in urine: This may include blood in the urine, increased cloudiness, or a changed color.

  10. Mouth ulcers and dental problems: The buildup of urea in the blood can lead to mouth ulcers and dental problems.

In advanced phases of chronic kidney disease (CKD), serious abnormalities in bone metabolism, heart problems and nervous irritations such as epileptic seizures can occur.

It is important to note that these symptoms are not specific to kidney failure and can also occur with other diseases. If kidney problems are suspected, the dog should be examined by a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

The challenge in detecting chronic kidney failure is that the symptoms of the disease only become apparent when kidney function is already impaired in the range of 66-75%.

Laboratory tests typically only show noticeable abnormalities in advanced stages, which then confirm the clinical diagnosis. Important indicators of kidney disorders include increased creatinine and phosphate levels in the blood and increased protein content in the urine. Recently, the so-called SDMA value has also been considered an estimated indicator. It reacts earlier than conventional parameters and thus improves the prospect of successfully supporting the organism with a specific kidney diet.

Causes of kidney failure

Food-dependent causes

Too much protein
A common cause of diet-related kidney disease in dogs is excessive protein intake. Due to the high amount of nitrogen-containing metabolic breakdown products, the kidneys are overloaded in the long term. This leads to an accumulation of urinary substances in the metabolism that can no longer be properly excreted. That's why we would like to go into more detail about protein intake in dogs.

Protein requirements
Since there was a demand for ever higher proportions of meat, the dry food available for adult dogs had a crude protein content of over 25% to well over 30% of the dry matter over a longer period of time. For puppies and young dogs the proportion was even 30-36% of the dry matter. We see the same thing in the wet food sector. This cannot be utilized by the dog's body at all and results in an oversupply of protein in dogs. Basically, it is important to adapt the amount of protein in the dog's diet to its age and current needs.

Here are our recommendations for protein content in feeding: For growing dogs up to 6-8 months of age, the protein content should be between 24-28% of dry matter. For adult dogs, we recommend a protein content of between 16-23% of dry matter.

Protein-containing supplements to complete food
There are an increasing number of dogs who are fed dry food with an appropriate protein content, but still suffer from a massive oversupply of protein and the corresponding symptoms. This often happens through additions such as meat, canned food, dried meat products, chews, quark, yogurt, etc.

How do I recognize an oversupply of protein in dogs?
The signs of an oversupply of protein are diverse and vary from person to person. In addition to dangerous growth disorders in puppies and young dogs, the following symptoms often occur: flaky, dull coat, skin problems such as licking eczema, hair loss, pustules, crusts, itching, digestive problems such as mushy stool, flatulence, irregular stool consistency and chronic diarrhea, as well as allergic reactions to the skin, stomach/intestines and ears.

High calcium content
An excess of calcium (over approx. 1% in dry food) can lead to lasting disorders in bone metabolism, which are often accompanied by kidney dysfunction.

High phosphorus content
In dogs with kidney failure, the kidneys' ability to filter and eliminate excess phosphorus from the blood is impaired. A high phosphorus content (above about 0.6% in dry food) in the food can lead to an increase in phosphorus levels in the blood, which puts further strain on the kidneys.

Calcium-phosphorus ratio
An imbalance in the calcium to phosphorus ratio can cause problems. High phosphorus levels can increase calcium excretion, which in turn leads to insufficient calcium in the blood. The body compensates by mobilizing calcium from the bones, which can lead to bone problems in the long term. We recommend a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1.2:1 to 1.8:1 . This ratio is important for bone health and other physiological functions in the body.

BARF feeding
When feeding BARF, an oversupply of protein can occur relatively quickly. We therefore recommend FRESH feeding as an alternative, in which a balanced proportion of carbohydrates is added to the meat to ensure an optimal ratio of protein to energy. In addition, the vegetables it contains are ideal for the dog's intestines thanks to a gentle manufacturing process, which ensures a good supply of vitamins and trace elements.

Bad dog food with inferior ingredients

Causes unrelated to food

genetics
Genetic predisposition plays a rather limited role in chronic kidney disease. Although genetic nephropathies (kidney diseases) are known to occur in some dog breeds, these usually only become apparent between the ages of several months and up to 4-5 years. In many cases they can be effectively influenced by dietary measures. Only in rare exceptional cases do inherited kidney abnormalities lead to early death in puppyhood.

Disease of other organs
Various long-term diseases, especially those affecting the internal organs, often have an adverse effect on kidney function. These include, among other things, problems with the cardiovascular system, which often lead to insufficient blood flow to the kidneys. This can lead to restrictions in the kidney filter function, which can cause urinary substances to accumulate in the blood. Leishmaniasis also often causes kidney problems, which can be made worse by the administration of strong medication.

Toxins
Infections or diseases of other organs, such as inflammation of the pancreas, storage diseases, intestinal obstruction or the uterus, can cause overloading of the kidneys. This happens due to the metabolic breakdown products produced by the body that put a strain on the kidneys. Furthermore, even non-toxic substances such as calcium can suddenly develop toxic effects due to a hormonal disorder if they occur in too high concentrations and overload the kidneys.

The effects of exogenous (externally supplied) toxins on the organism particularly affect the kidneys, as they are responsible for the metabolism of these toxins. This includes various externally supplied toxins, including medications such as antibiotics and painkillers, chemical antiparasitic agents, wormers, insecticides and pesticides (especially when exposed to sprayed fields). Many people are not aware that most antibiotics, despite their positive effects on the organism, can also damage kidney cells. Therefore, a moderate and responsible use of medication is essential for every dog.

Likewise, the potentially harmful effects of chemical antiparasitic agents, which are often used carelessly, especially on kidney function, should not be underestimated. Alternatively, you can use natural preparations, which are often just as effective and can have less harmful effects on the kidneys.

Treatment and therapy

The treatment and therapy of kidney failure in dogs aims to slow the progression of the disease, control symptoms and improve the dog's quality of life. Treatment options may vary depending on the stage and severity of kidney disease, but may include:

  1. Diet: A special diet is often an important part of treatment. Veterinarians may recommend diet foods specifically designed for dogs with kidney failure. These diets contain specific proteins, reduced phosphorus and sodium, and complementary nutrients to support kidney function.

  2. Fluid therapy: Administering fluids, either orally or intravenously, can help maintain the dog's fluid balance and support kidney function. In some cases, veterinarians may administer infusions to support kidney function.

  3. Medication: Your veterinarian may prescribe certain medications to relieve symptoms and support kidney function. These include medications to control blood pressure, reduce nausea, and regulate phosphorus and calcium levels.

  4. Monitoring and regular check-ups: Regular check-ups and blood tests are important to monitor the progress of kidney failure and make adjustments to treatment if necessary.

  5. Management of comorbidities: Dogs with renal insufficiency can often develop comorbidities. Treating and controlling these comorbidities, such as high blood pressure or anemia, can help reduce strain on the kidneys.

  6. Lifestyle changes: It may be advisable to adjust the dog's lifestyle, such as ensuring adequate rest, minimizing stress, and creating an environment that is less stressful for the dog.

Which food for kidney failure?

For dogs with kidney failure, a special diet is crucial to support kidney function and slow the progression of the disease. There are several commercial diet foods specifically designed for dogs with kidney disease. These diets are designed to reduce phosphorus and protein excess while still providing adequate amounts of high-quality proteins and other nutrients necessary for the dog's health.

In summary, here are some of the characteristics that should be taken into account when selecting a suitable food for dogs with kidney failure:

  • Low phosphorus content approx. 0.5% in dry food & 0.2% in wet food
  • Low calcium content approx. 1% in dry food & 0.3% in wet food
  • Calcium-phosphorus ratio of 1.4:1 to 2:1 .
  • Reduced, but still high-quality protein content approx. 15-22% in dry food & 5-8% in wet food
  • Controlling sodium levels in the diet can help regulate blood pressure and minimize fluid retention
  • Omega-3 fatty acids can have anti-inflammatory effects and support kidney health
ATTENTION: These are guideline values ​​for standard analytical values ​​for dry and wet food. If you have any more specific questions, please always contact the manufacturer directly.

Which meat if you have kidney failure?

In cases of kidney failure in dogs, the choice of meat for feeding is very important, as an adequate supply of protein is needed, but the phosphorus content in the meat should be low. Some recommendations for choosing meat for dogs with kidney disease include:

Reduced phosphorus meat : To reduce the burden on the kidneys, it is advisable to choose meat with a balanced ratio of phosphorus to protein. The meat should have a moderate protein content to ensure protein requirements while the phosphorus content is reduced. Particularly suitable: skinless poultry breast from chicken, turkey or turkey, beef brisket or beef fillet.

It is advisable to avoid meat extracts such as meat meal, liver meal and offal such as liver or kidney, as these usually have a higher phosphorus content and could therefore put additional strain on the kidneys.

Removal of bones: Bones should be avoided as they contain high levels of phosphorus. A high phosphorus content in the food can put additional strain on the kidneys.

Alternative proteins: Since some alternative protein sources such as insects or purely plant-based protein sources are naturally much lower in protein and phosphorus than conventional types of meat, they are ideal for those with kidney insufficiency.

Portion control and cooking method: Meat should be cooked well to improve digestibility and reduce the risk of bacterial contamination. Portion size should also be kept in mind to control the amount of protein the dog consumes.

Dog protein oversupply

Hence BugBell

Our specially developed light diet is designed to optimally regulate the mineral balance. With a balanced calcium and phosphorus content, we offer a balanced diet that reduces the strain on the kidneys and supports your dog's health. Perfect for kidney failure.

Our food contains high-quality proteins that are carefully reduced to a maximum of 17%. This not only reduces the absorption of toxic protein breakdown products in the blood, but also achieves a healthy balance to cover your dog's daily protein needs - without the risk of protein oversupply.

For light food →

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