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Preventing Kidney Failure in Dogs and Cats

Tips for Avoiding the Things that Cause Kidney Failure in Dogs and Cats


Preventing Kidney Failure in Dogs and Cats

Some simple precautions can help prevent kidney failure from occurring in your dog or or cat.

Lorie Huston

More: Kidney Disease in Dogs and Cats > Preventing Kidney Failure

Kidney failure in dogs and cats has many different potential causes. Though preventing kidney failure may not be possible in all cases, there are a few things that you can do to help avoid the preventable cases.

Keep Your Dog or Cat Away From Poisons that Can Cause Kidney Failure

There is a long list of poisons that can affect your dog or cat's kidneys and cause renal failure. These are some of the most commonly encountered.

  • Antifreeze (ethylene glycol) is a common cause of acute renal failure and even a small amount of antifreeze can be toxic, especially for a small dog or a cat. Some pets are attracted to antifreeze because it has a sweet taste.
  • Grapes and raisins are another potential cause of renal failure in dogs. Avoid feeding your pet raisins and grapes.
  • Lilies (in the species Lilium) are extremely toxic for cats and can cause kidney failure. Lilies are grown in many gardens and are frequent additions to bouquets of flowers, especially around the holidays. Keep these flowers and plants away out of your cat's reach.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, can cause kidney failure when given at high dosages also, especially in cats. When giving your pet medications, follow your veterinarians directions carefully and do not administer "human medications" to your pet without your veterinarian's advice.

Keeping your pet away from these poisons and others can help avoid kidney failure (and other problems) for your dog or cat.

Avoid Infectious Diseases that Can Cause Kidney Failure in Dogs and Cats

There are a number of infectious diseases that can cause kidney failure in both dogs and cats. These are some of the most common.

  • Leptospirosis in dogs can cause both kidney and liver failure. Leptospirosis is spread through contact with infected body fluids, primarily urine. Vaccinations for leptospirosis are available. However, they may not protect your dog from all strains of leptospirosis.
  • Lyme disease is another potential cause of kidney failure in dogs. Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease. Controlling ticks is the best way to prevent Lyme disease. Vaccination is available but is controversial.
  • Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) can cause kidney failure as well as many other problems in infected cats. Vaccination against FIP is controversial and not generally recommended. An abnormal immune response appears to play a part in the development of symptoms of FIP and some cats may be genetically predisposed.

Feed Your Dog or Cat a High Quality Diet to Avoid Kidney Failure

Feeding your dog or cat a high quality, well-balanced diet will help keep your pet's kidneys functioning properly and help avoid health issues, including kidney failure.

Your pet's diet should include a protein source that can be digested and metabolized easily. The amount of protein in the diet is important also and may need to be adjusted depending on your pet's life stage and individual health.

Your pet also needs a constant supply of clean, fresh drinking water. Cats can be encouraged to drink more water, if necessary, by providing drinking fountains, leaving faucets dripping and adding water to the food.

Regular Examinations Can Help Avoid Canine and Feline Kidney Failure

Regular veterinary examinations can help detect early changes in your dog or cat's kidneys which may occur prior to kidney failure. Examination should include a thorough physical examination, a routine blood screen which includes a complete blood count and blood chemistry profile, and a urinalysis.

Abnormalities in the examination may prompt your veterinarian to recommend changes that can help delay the onset of kidney failure. One change your veterinarian may recommend is a change in diet to a protein restricted, salt restricted and phosphorus restricted food to slow the prgress of kidney damage.

More: Kidney Disease in Dogs and Cats - Signs, Treatment, Diagnosis

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