Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is defined as kidney disease that has been present for months to years. CKD is also known as chronic renal disease (CRD), chronic renal failure (CRF) and chronic renal insufficiency, though all refer to the same condition. CKD may have many different causes and may include: congenital malformation (birth defects), chronic infection, high blood pressure, toxin exposure resulting in acute kidney disease (such as antifreeze), various immune system diseases (such as glomerulonephritis), or an unknown cause.


Symptoms of CKD include increased water intake, increased urination, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, weight loss, depression, pale gums (due to anemia), and weakness.


Diagnosis of CKD includes bloodwork and urinalysis, though abdominal ultrasound and kidney biopsies may be beneficial.


Treatment of CKD vary depending on the stage of kidney disease. It is usually recommended that your pet be placed on a kidney specific diet, these diets typically contain a lower percentage of protein and lower amounts of phosphorus. Many patients may also require water supplementation either with water added to food, offering of low sodium broths, or subcutaneous fluid administration. Oral medications such as supplementation of potassium, appetite stimulators and antibiotics may also be recommended depending on diagnostic results.


It is important to frequently monitor renal values with your veterinarian and adjust treatment plans as indicated.