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Thread: Canine kidney failure?

  1. #1
    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    Unhappy Canine kidney failure?

    I've just gotten some heartbreaking, absolutely sucky awful news.

    My sweet, angelic 4-yr old doggie was born with renal dysplasia. In lay terms, that means she was born with the most screwed up, non-functional kidneys imaginable.

    I did not know this until just this week, and apparently that is pretty common for dogs of breeds that it doesn't genetically run in. We've had lots of random health scares, and despite searching for an answer, I couldn't find one. Now I have it. And now she's in acute renal failure, with less than 10% of her kidney function.

    I'm seeing a world-class vet specialist. At this point, sadly, finally, her medical care isn't the problem. There isn't anything left to be done- not even a kidney transplant- but to try to preserve what is left of her kidney function. And preserve some quality of life as her life winds down.

    At the start of this week, the vet gave her 1 month to live. Now they are saying probably 1 year, 2-3 max.

    Anyone else here dealt with kidney disease in a doggie? This is just such a severe diagnosis to get in a week and I"m trying to learn as fast as I can. She's now on a renal diet, super low-protein. Pretty much all carbs, veggies, fruits.

    I'm not usually so candid here, but my heart is breaking. She is SUCH a happy, sweet, spirited dog. It is just heartbreaking. Even hooked up to all the IVs and such at the vet clinic this weekend, she was giving all the staff her paw and just charming everyone. They all knew her by name when I came to pick her up- and this is a large teaching hospital!

    UHG. This is just happening to the wrong doggie. She works as a therapy dog even! She is just The. Best. Dog. Brings so many people happiness on a daily basis.

    I can't find a 'why'. It just 'is.' This is one of those sad genetic disorders that sleeps and then takes a life. And sadly it is going to get my doggie. I just want to make her last year, or few, as comfortable and happy as possible.

    Was just wondering if any members here have dealt with canine kidney disease- or any other fatal disease where you knew it was coming. And if you have any tips or hints to make things easier. And just interested in your experiences and input.
    Last edited by Cali; November 11th, 2011 at 02:33 AM.

  2. #2
    Elite Member Kat Scorp's Avatar
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    Cali, I am so very sorry for the grief you're now going through. I have no experience with renal dysplasia - I've been "waiting" in regards to my current dog; he has thyroid adenoma (tumour) and three years ago the vet gave him 3 months to live.

    When my dog was 9, his first thyroid tumour became pronounced (no coughing or trouble swallowing; it simply grew large enough to feel one day) and that thyroid gland was removed. When my furbaby was 11 I realised the other gland was growing too; that was when the vet gave him 3 months and suggested chemotherapy. I didn't have the money for doggie chemo so I had to take my dog home and wait for him to either die, or show signs of being in pain (meaning that it was time to let him go).

    I wish I could offer words of wisdom for dealing with the pain. It's not fair; you have every right to yell, scream, curse at the world and cry till you're depleted of strength. You know what is coming and you can't stop it; it's so unfair to have that grief and pain coming straight toward you and be helpless to save your furbaby.

    Every morning I woke up and prepared myself to find him cold and lifeless. Whenever he coughed I'd freak, assuming the worst-case scenario - that he was choking to death. Somehow the three months have turned into three years... and the spoilt mutt is 14.5 yrs old, the tumour is huge but stopped growing two years ago and he still eats everything in reach and runs around the house like a madhatter after every bath.

    So I suppose the only learning experience I got from these last few years is a) vets aren't Gods, nor clairvoyant; and b) your love for your pet (and your pet's joy for life) count perhaps as much as any expensive medical procedure. Enjoy every moment you have - I wasted the first year after the final diagnosis by fearing each day was my dog's last. I'm happy to say that I've since spent around 100 hours walking him at the shorefront. The image of a tired, happy dog drooling on my arm on the drive home from walkies is the one I'll keep when he's no longer around.

    Sincerely,
    Stacy.
    What do we want?
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    Elite Member CornFlakegrl's Avatar
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    Aw Cali, I'm sorry to hear about this. I've never dealt with this disease so I can't offer any advice but I've dealt with sick dogs and/or losing them and it is very tough. I hope you get to enjoy each other for whatever time he has left.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Cali, I am so sorry this has happened to your sweet doggie. This is very scary to me. Like Kat says, dogs don't read medical books so don't cumple yet.
    What breed is she? And what did you mean by that is pretty common for dogs of breeds that it doesn't genetically run in? Does it just spring up in any dog, any time?
    How did you know there was a problem?
    I am scared for you . Take this year or 3 and just love her every day. Don't let her see you grieve, we will face that later. Just enjoy every single minute and keep to her regular schedule as much as you can.
    Maybe this is a gift, to know. My Ginger gave no warning, I had no time to brace.
    My heart hurts for you and I feel weepy. Many hugs.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    fgg
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    oh, cali! i'm so sorry for you and your sweet doggy! i'm a new to puppy momdom and i don't know how i'd handle the situation you're in. give her extra hugs and kisses just in case the doctor can't find a way to help. she for sure knows she's loved.
    can't post pics because my computer's broken and i'm stupid

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    Elite Member ConstanceSpry's Avatar
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    I am so sorry to read this. Haven't had experience with renal dysplasia, but our Beagle Boy came down with chronic renal failure when he was 13. I started making his food (lean hamburger or chicken, rice, egg, plus specific vitamins and calcium). The vet had given him maybe a year, but he made it to almost 17, and stayed in pretty good health and was very active up til the end. Here's a website with interesting information and a few recipes:

    Treatments for the symptoms of JRD (juvenile renal disease) have long included a low protein prescription diet. It seems clear, however, from the research done by Kenneth C. Bovee, DVM, MMedSc, "Mythology of Protein Restriction for Dogs with Reduced Renal Function", and Delmar R. Finco, DVM, Ph.D., "Effects of Dietary Protein Intake on Renal Functions", that low protein diets do not extend the life of dogs with renal disease. The predominant effect of the low protein diet is to minimize production of uremic toxins so that the patient feels better. Phosphorus is more important in extending the life and well being of a dog with renal disease, since high phosphorus accelerates renal failure, and restricted phosphorus slows it down. Prescription diets for dogs with renal failure are low in phosphorus, so they remain a good foods for dogs in this condition. Low phosphorus diets allow management of secondary hyperparathyroidism by restricting phosphorus intake and reducing phosphorus absorption from the gastrointestinal tract.

    Kidney Disease in Dogs
    'I had to get rid of the kid. The cat was allergic.'

  7. #7
    Elite Member C_is_for_Cookie's Avatar
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    I'm so so sorry to read this. Reading it with tears in my eyes. We had to put down a kitten this summer because of a birthdefect that had to do with his kidneys. It was the hardest thing I've done in my life, our poor baby never stood a chance. Enjoy every minute you have with her and give her all the love possible, at least you probably have more time with her than they originally thought.

    Many hugs for you and your furbaby.
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    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, for all the replies. Want to reply individually but this would be a phonebook if I did bc of the new updates! thank you all.

    This has all just gotten so much worse. When I wrote this, I knew she had an active kidney infection, but we were working on it with antibiotics, and waiting on a culture of the bacteria. I thought that the infection was the least of our problems.

    But then she got so sick- shivering all night long, and totally disoriented and really sick.

    Then the culture came back yesterday and it is just horrible. She has a horrible gram negative bacteria that is only killed with ONE antibiotic that won't harm her kidneys. She's got an extremely aggressive, awful infection.

    She's gotten so much worse. She's back in the vet ICU. Not eating or drinking, and she's in horrible shape. She's septic now.

    I may not even get to deal with the kidney disease- it is looking like this bacteria may take her. god I hope not.

    She is so young and special, this is all just happening to the wrong dog. I'm lucky in that my mom is helping me to pay for all reasonable vet treatments. It is ridiculously expensive. She had a plasma infusion tonight and it is pretty much the last hope. Now I'm in this awful 'wait and see' place.

    If this doesn't work, tomorrow I'm going to have some horrible decisions to make. Including euthanasia. oh gawd i cannot even deal with that.

    I'm just praying and hoping with everything that the plasma helps her lil body fight this nasty bacteria. We can get through the kidney probs, I'll bake her special food, I'll do anything. I just need her to make it.

    Lots of people need her to make it. God I cannot bear going into work and telling patients that she has passed.

    I visited with her tonight, took her pillow from the couch that she always climbs on. Poor girl could barely walk but she still climbed right up on it. Hugged her and talked to her for awhile. I think she perked up a bit seeing me. I hope it gave her some reserves to fight this off.

    Thanks for all the support and love. Really, sincerely. Sometimes this week I've felt stupid for being so upset and such a wreck because 'its just a dog.' But she's such a special dog- she's my lil roomie, she's just the best dog, and still so young. I still can't quite get my brain around how fast this all has happened. A week ago, she was a happy perky dog and now I'm praying that she makes it through the night.

  9. #9
    Elite Member Kat Scorp's Avatar
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    Cali, I'm so sorry. I don't know what to say - except you don't have to defend yourself for feeling so upset and wrecked. Our pets are more than "just a dog" to us all. This is awful and I know vet bills can pull us under too. Praying for the plasma infusion to work, and that you'll get a good nights rest tonight.
    What do we want?
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    AFTER PEER REVIEW

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Cali, this is just awful. Don't think twice about being upset. We have all walked that lonesome road and if need be we will walk it with you. I just pray that it works.
    If not, I know you will not let her suffer and those patients will have a right to grieve with you,too.
    Please let us know- I am still hopeful she will outwit this dreadful infection. She seems a very strong dog. Many,many hugs.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    Cali, my heart goes out to you and your sweet girl. I'm hoping she pulls through and you have many years of love ahead. She sounds strong and like a fighter. I'm sending many positive thoughts your way.

    I think all of us that post in here know what it's like to have a special pet. None of us see them as just a dog or just a cat. They are as special and individual as our human companions. I lost my Josie girl almost two years ago and I still tear up when I think of her.

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    Elite Member CornFlakegrl's Avatar
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    Cali I'm pulling for you and your furbaby. Like every has already said, don't think for one minute you have to explain your sadness / fear to us. Our pets are family and in some cases, even better. God I hope this turns out ok for you.

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    Elite Member ConstanceSpry's Avatar
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    Geez, that sounds awful. Fingers and toes and everything crossed that she makes it. Always remember, where there is life, there is hope!!
    And no, she's not "just a dog". None of them are, all of our critters are so very special and important to us, whether they are dogs or cats or bunnies or any of the other furries and reptiles we love.
    'I had to get rid of the kid. The cat was allergic.'

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    Gold Member Polyester Pam's Avatar
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    Aw man, really really sorry to hear this. Hang in there, I know how hard it is.

    My first dog (bichon frise/cocker spaniel cross) made it to 12 years before she suddenly started peeing everywhere and would just hang her head, like she was waiting to be punished. We knew something was up and took her in and they told us that it was kidney failure. I was devastated. The vet bills were becoming astronomical and Maddie wouldn't eat the special dog food we had and getting her to take her pills was a nightmare. So i said screw it, I suspected it wouldn't be able to be cured and didn't want her to have to eat shit or starve on top of all this. I remember sitting on the couch, having a slurpee and she suddenly wanted some (after having ate maybe 3 bites in the past 2 days) so I let her have it.

    I was also terrified she wouldn't make the nights. I was heartbroken when I had to bring her to the vet and she had a cone on her head and was squinting at the sunlight. I just had this feeling that this would be it. We received a call that most likely, she'd have a seizure if we brought her home and the humane thing would be to put her down. I couldn't make myself go and my mom and sister went instead to say goodbye. Apparently she just looked at them like she was ready (I saw pictures later and balled) and that was that. I was in hysterics and it took a long time before I could look at getting another dog. (As it was, I got the same breed and she was hit by a car and killedat 9 months old. Cue devastation again. A month after her I was looking online for dogs and found a little poodle cross who was being flewn in from LA as part of a bid to place dogs from high-kill shelters. I drove 3 hours to meet him, fell in love and as I write this, he's curled up on an old chair, sleeping.)

    I actually just finally threw out the last of Maddie's toys this weekend but kept her collar. It sucks.

    let out what you need to let out. It is so tough, it's never "just a dog". I joined an online group for people who's animals had kidney failure and it helped. You're already giving your dog the best possible life you can and that's what matters most.

  15. #15
    fgg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polyester Pam View Post
    My first dog (bichon frise/cocker spaniel cross) made it to 12 years before she suddenly started peeing everywhere and would just hang her head, like she was waiting to be punished. We knew something was up and took her in and they told us that it was kidney failure. I was devastated. The vet bills were becoming astronomical and Maddie wouldn't eat the special dog food we had and getting her to take her pills was a nightmare. So i said screw it, I suspected it wouldn't be able to be cured and didn't want her to have to eat shit or starve on top of all this. I remember sitting on the couch, having a slurpee and she suddenly wanted some (after having ate maybe 3 bites in the past 2 days) so I let her have it.

    I was also terrified she wouldn't make the nights. I was heartbroken when I had to bring her to the vet and she had a cone on her head and was squinting at the sunlight. I just had this feeling that this would be it. We received a call that most likely, she'd have a seizure if we brought her home and the humane thing would be to put her down. I couldn't make myself go and my mom and sister went instead to say goodbye. Apparently she just looked at them like she was ready (I saw pictures later and balled) and that was that. I was in hysterics and it took a long time before I could look at getting another dog. (As it was, I got the same breed and she was hit by a car and killedat 9 months old. Cue devastation again. A month after her I was looking online for dogs and found a little poodle cross who was being flewn in from LA as part of a bid to place dogs from high-kill shelters. I drove 3 hours to meet him, fell in love and as I write this, he's curled up on an old chair, sleeping.)
    this brought tears to my eyes.
    can't post pics because my computer's broken and i'm stupid

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