Kidney Infection In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

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Kidney infections in dogs can lead to serious symptoms and conditions if left untreated, including kidney failure and death. They’re often caused by bacteria that enter through the urinary tract, including the urethra and bladder, and move into the kidney.

Infections of the kidneys in dogs can also be caused by kidney stones, parasites, or other diseases. The symptoms of kidney stones are often similar to kidney infections, so it’s important to consult your veterinarian if you see the signs of either condition so that you can begin treatment for your dog quickly.

Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for kidney infections in dogs.

Symptoms Of Kidney Infection In Dogs

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Symptoms of kidney infections may not appear in dogs at first, as it often takes time for bacteria to grow and affect organ function. When symptoms do appear, the infection may already be quite advanced and require extra care.

Kidney stones may also have similar symptoms that do not appear at first, but get worse with time. Stones may also cause infection.

Here are a few symptoms that you might see with dogs who have kidney infections:

  • Excessive urination or difficulty urinating
  • Excessive thirst
  • Blood in urine or discolored urine
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Pain in the side or abdomen
  • Hunching over
  • Lethargy or depression
  • Poor appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Fever

If the condition advances enough, a dog may suffer sepsis or renal failure, which can be deadly. This is why it’s important to see a veterinarian at the first sign of infection.

Kidney failure symptoms include all of the above symptoms and might also include the following:

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Bad breath
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Blindness
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Causes Of Kidney Infection In Dogs

Escherichia coli bacteria, coloured scanning electron micrograph. E. coli bacteria are a normal part of the intestinal flora in humans and other animals, where they aid digestion. However, some strains, for instance E. coli O157, can produce a toxin that leads to severe illness or even death. Normal strains can also produce infections in weakened or immunosuppressed people. Magnification: x7000 when printed 10 centimetres wide.

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There are many possible causes of kidney infections in dogs.

Pyelonephritis is a bacterial infection of the kidneys that can develop due to kidney stones, infections from bacteria such as E. Coli or Staph that spread from the lower urinary tract to the upper urinary tract, a weakened immune system, imbalances of water in the urine, kidney dysfunction, or just age.

Infectious diseases, such as leptospirosis, which enters the body through contaminated water or wounds, can result in kidney inflammation. This inflammation is called interstitial nephritis.

Your dog may also be infected by kidney worms, which can be acquired by eating earthworms, infected frogs, or infected raw fish. Capillaria plica and Dioctophyma renale are two types of giant kidney worms that affect canines, though it’s rare for pet dogs to be infected by them.

Treatments For Kidney Infection In Dogs

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The treatment for most bacterial kidney infections in dogs will involve antibiotics.

Your vet will prescribe these in response to the results of a urine test from your dog that should reveal what kind of bacteria is causing the symptoms. Your vet may consider surgery if the bacteria causes a blockage of the urinary tract.

If there are kidney stones present, your vet will likely try to dissolve them with dietary changes or use a shock wave therapy technique that will break them apart and allow them to pass through the urine.

In cases where worms are present, your vet may attempt to surgically remove them; although, if damage to the kidney is too extensive, the whole organ may have to be removed surgically.

In cases where a kidney shows signs of failure, the organ may have to be removed, as well. Your dog can survive and live a normal life with one functioning kidney. You’ll still have to keep an eye on your dog. Once a kidney has been infected, it’s more likely that kidney infection will return at some point in life.

Has your dog ever had a kidney infection? How did you treat it? Let us know in the comments below!