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10 Common Causes of Kidney Disease in Dogs

Posted May 18, 2015 in Dog Diseases & Conditions A-Z

Golden retriever in the grass

Kidney disease is a common problem of older dogs, affecting an estimated 10% of canines in their lifetimes1. There are a number of causes that may affect different age groups and have different consequences, ultimately though, chronic kidney disease (occurs over time) or acute kidney injury (occurs suddenly) will always have the same result—one sick pup. The signs of illness in your dog reflect the failure of the kidneys to do their many jobs well enough.

Learn the basics of chronic kidney disease in dogs.

Below you will find a brief description of ten common causes of kidney disease. These are the targets of your veterinarian’s testing:

1. Damage to the kidney filters (glomerular disease)
The glomerulus of the kidney (kidney filtration mechanism) is commonly involved in canine kidney disease. Early on, we expect no signs of illness, but since glomerular disease may be caused by infections (like Lyme disease) or cancer, amongst other things, time can make the problems worse. Over time, inflammation, in the glomerulus of the kidney, damages the surrounding kidney tissues, creating the chronic kidney disease that makes your dog feel sick.

Learn more about glomerular disease in dogs.

2. Infection of kidney tissues (pyelonephritis)
Infection of kidney tissues with bacteria, or rarely, fungal organisms, is one of the kidney diseases that may have a more favorable outcome, so your veterinarian will be on the lookout for it. Our goal with pyelonephritis is to kill the bacteria that can cause the damaging inflammation. This should limit progression of any chronic kidney disease or assist with recovery from an acute kidney injury. A bacterial urine culture and susceptibility can verify the infection and identify which antibiotic might work the best.

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Celeste has more than 20 years of experience in the veterinary industry and is an Internal Medical Consultant as well as a valued member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team since 2015.