Kidney Disease In Dogs

By Aleah Smith
Elementary Category (Grades 4-6)
Study | Biology

I chose this project because my dog Willow had Kidney disease and I wanted to learn about how the kidneys work and help my dog live a healthier and longer life. To do this I researched the different causes and stages of kidney disease. I also learned about the importance of a kidney friendly diet and made my own dog food.

Some of the symptoms of kidney failure in dogs are…

Increased Thirst
Lack Of Appetite
Weight Loss

It is important to recognize the symptoms of kidney disease. With early detection you can slow the progression of it.

The Parts of a Kidney

The purpose of a dog’s kidneys

  1. Waste removal
    Kidneys act like a filter to remove extra fluids and waste from the body
  2. Blood pressure
    Kidneys need pressure to function. They can regulate blood pressure by controlling fluid levels and making the hormone that causes blood vessels to constrict.
  3. Making red blood cells
    Your kidneys create a hormone called erythropoietin. It tells bone marrow to make red blood cells. Red blood cells take oxygen from your lungs to supply your body’s needs. Red blood cells provide you with energy to do daily activities.
  4. Keeping bones healthy
    The kidneys make an active form of vitamin D. You need vitamin D to absorb calcium and phosphorus. They are important minerals for keeping bones strong. The kidneys balance the amount of minerals so your body has the right amount.
  5. Controlling pH Levels
    pH is a measure of acid and base. When cells break down they create acids. Your kidneys maintain a proper balance of the chemicals that control acid levels. Different foods can either increase or decrease the amount of acid in your body.
The Functions of a Kidney

Did you know that it is estimated that more than 1 in 10 dogs will develop kidney disease over their life?

The ten main causes of kidney disease

  1. Damage to the kidney filters (glomerular disease)
  2. Infection of the kidney tissues (pyelonephritis)
  3. Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis)
  4. Kidney blockage (ureteral obstruction with hydronephrosis)
  5. Damage to the kidney tubules (tubulointerstitial disease)
  6. Bacterial infection (leptospirosis)
  7. Toxins
  8. Cancer
  9. Protein Issue (amyloidosis)
  10. Hereditary

The stages of kidney disease

  1. Normal or higher kidney function
  2. Mildly decreased kidney function
  3. a. Mildly to moderately decreased kidney function
    b. Moderately decreased kidney function
  4. Severely decreased kidney function
  5. Kidney failure

Did you know that some dog breeds are more likely to get certain types of kidney disease?

Treating Kidney disease

To treat kidney disease it is important to give your dog lots of clean water and high quality protein. Reducing phosphorus and sodium in your dog’s diet as well as increasing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is important in managing kidney disease. Adding calcium to your dogs food using crushed egg shells can also be beneficial.

My recipe for kidney friendly dog food

2 cups rice
⅓ cup lean red meat
¼ cup green beans
¼ cup sweet potato puree
3 egg whites
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon fish oil
1 crushed egg shell

This project shows the importance of recognizing the symptoms of kidney disease and treating it as early as possible. My dog was in stage 4 kidney disease when I started this project and was not interested in food. If I continued this project I would learn about the different tests veterinarians use to diagnose kidney disease.

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