What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?
CKD is the persistent loss of kidney function over time, for usually more than 3 months. It can affect both cats and dogs of all ages, although more commonly presented in older pets. Healthy kidneys mainly filter the blood and make urine, so a damaged kidney can cause many health problems for pets.
- Urinating in greater volumes
- Drinking more water
- Bad breath
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of weight
While this list is not exhaustive, these signs are a cause for concern and medical attention should be sought as soon as possible.
A urinalysis and blood tests are needed to assess the current function of the kidneys to accurately determine the onset of CKD.
A urinalysis is the analysis of the pet’s urine to observe the protein levels and evaluate the concentrations of waste products and other components that kidneys regulate.
The blood tests used usually test for blood urea nitrogen, creatinine and SDMA. Blood urea nitrogen and creatinine are two important waste products processed by the kidneys so they are used as indicators of kidney function. SDMA (symmetric dimethyl arginine) is another waste product that is used to detect CKD earlier, in the hopes of obtaining treatment earlier to give pets a longer and better life.
Treatment for CKD is aimed to slow down the progression of CKD, to give pets a longer and happier life. It usually helps to minimise the buildup of toxic products in the bloodstream, maintain hydration, support appropriate nutrition and reduce blood pressure.
These usually include but are not limited to:
- Changing of diet to one that is more kidney-friendly
- Fluid therapy using subcutaneous fluids
- Ensuring enough water is available at all times
- Regular checks of blood pressure and medication if needed
As every pet is different, so is their response to the treatment course and eventual outcomes. It is important to monitor pets closely and consult your veterinarian should there be signs of concern so that the diagnosis and treatment plan can be carried out effectively and as soon as possible.
Done by: Nurse Yuna