Uremia In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

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Uremia in dogs happens when waste products and toxins that are normally filtered by the kidneys build up in the bloodstream where they can spread throughout the body. This can happen when the kidneys are damaged or when the urinary tract is obstructed. Uremia in dogs is more common in the winter because dogs can ingest antifreeze, which is toxic and damages the kidneys, though there are many other chemicals that can cause kidney damage. When toxins in the blood aren’t properly filtered, they flow through the body via the bloodstream and can affect any of the body’s systems, including the urinary, digestive, respiratory, nervous, and immune systems among others. If your dog suffers from kidney disease or damage, has a urinary tract blockage, or ingests toxic chemicals and you see the signs of uremia, consult your veterinarian right away for a proper diagnosis and treatment, as the condition can be fatal if it is left untreated. Here is what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for uremia in dogs.

Symptoms Of Uremia In Dogs

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The symptoms of uremia in dogs can vary, as the condition can affect any of the body’s essential systems and functions. In the early stages, dogs may appear to be in mostly normal healthy, but they may seem depressed or lethargic. Gradually, they may begin to feel worse and present visible symptoms. If you see any of the following signs of uremia in your dog, consult your veterinarian immediately.

  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in stool
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Decreased or increased urination
  • Listlessness
  • Dry coat
  • Brownish colored or inflamed tongue
  • Foul breath (smells of ammonia)
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Fever
  • Abnormal pulse (rapid or slow)
  • Enlarged kidneys that are firm and sensitive to palpitation
  • Pneumonia
  • Digestive tract bleeding
  • Multiple organ failure
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Causes Of Uremia In Dogs

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There are several possible causes of uremia in dogs. Any condition that causes the kidneys to function poorly or blocks waste from being removed from the body can lead to the condition. If you see signs of kidney failure or urinary tract blockage in your dog, it is important to also watch for the signs of uremia. Here are several factors that can cause uremia in dogs.

  • Ingestion of toxic substances or chemicals (antifreeze, mercury, pain killers, etc.)
  • Kidney inflammation, disease, damage, or failure
  • Kidney or urinary tract stones
  • Foreign objects in the urinary tract
  • Heat stroke
  • Dehydration
  • Heart failure
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Excessive meat consumption

Treatments For Uremia In Dogs

MUMBAI, INDIA - JUNE 3, 2010: Six year old dog Rocky at the Renal Dialysis Unit for the dialysis treament at Mumbain Veterinary College at Parel on Tuesday. Rocky is the first dog who was given this treatment at the Unit which was inaugurated on Tuesday on the occassion of the veterinary college entering its 125th year on August 2. (Photo by Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

(Picture Credit: Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Treatment for uremia in dogs depends on the cause of the condition. If a toxic substance has been ingested, it must be removed or neutralized. This can be done with gastric lavage, which cleans the stomach, or by giving the affected dog activated charcoal. Sometimes a specific antidote can be used depending on which substance has been ingested. Other treatments may be used to treat various causes. For example, urinary tract or kidney stones may be treated with medications that break down the stones or with a technique that breaks stones apart with sonic vibrations. Blockages may have to be removed surgically.

Fluid therapy and dietary changes may be needed to restore fluid balance in the body, reduce the workload of the kidneys, and reduce toxin buildup in the blood. Diuretics can help restore normal urination and remove waste from the body. Antiemetics can treat severe vomiting. Dialysis or surgery may be needed in cases where the kidneys have suffered severe damage.

Even with treatment, the mortality rate for dogs that suffer from uremia is as high as 50 percent. If your dog suffers from uremia, it is important that you follow veterinary instructions and monitor your dog’s condition closely.

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