Renal (kidney) failure in dogs - VeggieBoards - A Vegetarian Community
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#1 Old 10-01-2009, 09:27 AM
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Hey everyone, I've been browsing around the forums and it seems we have a lot of educated pet owners here. Have any of you been through chronic renal failure with your dog?



My baby is a 13-year-old sheppard mix, about 40lbs, and was diagnosed with kidney failure back in August. She had taken a turn for the worse shortly after diagnosis and it was extremely difficult to get her to eat, her body was very stiff, breath smelled like urine, incontinence, digestive problems, etc. I thought she was getting close to knocking on death's door. And then, miraculously, her body rallied. She was eating fairly normally, her joints had loosened and she was digesting better. Overall, she seemed like an older but happy dog again.



This rally lasted about 3-4 weeks and now I am back to her being rather feeble and disinterested in much food. I'm just wondering what others' experiences have been like with chronic renal failure in their dogs. I asked the vet to give me a bottom line when she was diagnosed and he told me, "weeks to months" was her life expectancy. Well, we're going on two months and I know my girl is old and feeble at times, but she doesn't seem ready to go yet. Obviously I will never be ready to tell her good-bye but the emotional rollercoaster of seeing her ups and downs can be very tough.



Thanks for reading!



(My girl is in the foreground)

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#2 Old 10-01-2009, 09:29 AM
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I don't have experience, but my heart goes out to you and that beautiful little girl.
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#3 Old 10-01-2009, 09:33 AM
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I've never been through this personally but I would like to say that I'm sorry you and your baby have to deal with this. I know it must be difficult to watch her suffer. Hopefully someone else here has more knowledge on the subject and can offer you some advise.
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#4 Old 10-01-2009, 08:07 PM
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I don't have any advice, just big hugs to you both. She's beautiful.
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#5 Old 10-01-2009, 08:52 PM
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What a sweet girl.



I've only been through renal failure with cats; with them, I've given subcu fluid daily, sometimes for years. I don't know whether that's possible with a dog, since they would need a correspondingly much larger amount of subcu fluid to flush their systems. Have you talked with your vet about what can be done? With cats, another option is to periodically spend a day or more at the vet's, so that their systems can be flushed by using IV fluids.



ETA: I just googled canine renal failure. This site seems pretty inforative: http://www.vetinfo.com/drenal.html

If you read down a little on the page, there's a discussion about the importance of aggressive fluid therapy. You should discuss some of these options with your vet.
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#6 Old 10-02-2009, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlp View Post

What a sweet girl.



I've only been through renal failure with cats; with them, I've given subcu fluid daily, sometimes for years. I don't know whether that's possible with a dog, since they would need a correspondingly much larger amount of subcu fluid to flush their systems. Have you talked with your vet about what can be done? With cats, another option is to periodically spend a day or more at the vet's, so that their systems can be flushed by using IV fluids.



ETA: I just googled canine renal failure. This site seems pretty inforative: http://www.vetinfo.com/drenal.html

If you read down a little on the page, there's a discussion about the importance of aggressive fluid therapy. You should discuss some of these options with your vet.





Thanks to all for the responses and well wishes.



mlp, I am aware of the subcu fluids and the quasi-dialysis/system flush that they can perform, and I've discussed it with several vets. At her age and with her demeanor (shy/anxious), I decided that putting her in a clinic for 2-3 days hooked up to an IV wasn't what she'd want. It's not what I would want for myself if I were her either so I decided not to pursue treatment as it may not be of any benefit and to me the risk outweighs the benefit here, given her particular case.



I was just looking for other's who had been through the difficulty getting their pet to eat and if anyone else had experienced this up-and-down nature to it. The reality is that my baby is 13.5 and isn't going to get any younger but I just want to do all that I can to keep her happy and with me as long as I can.



She's been a bit better the last day or two and eating a little more so it's just going to be a "one day at a time" scenario.



DS
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#7 Old 10-02-2009, 12:26 PM
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That's perfectly understandable - what one person (of the furry or huan variety) wouldn't mind at all, would be very stressful for another.



At this point, I would just feed her whatever she might enjoy. When my kids have been in the end stages of life, whether because of age or illness, I've made them pizza, mashed potatoes, cookies, and bought them roast beef sandwiches, shrimp, etc. - whatever they will eat. Whether it's "healthy" or not isn't really an issue, since it's a lot less "healthy" not to eat. Also, I've found that what they might find appetizing one day won't appeal to them the next. I've gone through a year or ore of constantly mixing it up, foodwise, for some of my old people.
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#8 Old 10-02-2009, 12:58 PM
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^^This is what we did w/ our "Jamie" too. Pizza and turkey sandwiches were a few of his favorites. I would break them up and feed him tiny bites...
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#9 Old 10-02-2009, 07:39 PM
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I've helped many people take their pets through terminal issues. Things that you can do without leaving her at the vet: kidney friendly diet (but don't deny treats if they make her happy I tend to prefer quality of life over quantity), lactulose and/or amikasin to pull amonia out of the body, supplemental fluids at home (you can buy fluid bags online fairly cheap). The biggest thing is to make sure she's happy. When she's having a bad day, you can take her into the vet and have some fluids given, you could even do that periodically if you don't want to do them at home. It doesn't take long to give a decent amount of subq fluids (5-10 min), you can have them do it while you hold her. Special foods and treats (like pizza) are great moral builders, but you don't want her miserable with stomach trouble either. The main message: enjoy her while you can, keep her happy, but use some common sense as well. Also, have a plan for when the time actually comes, where you can take her and at what times, plans for her remains, etc.



My thoughts are with you and your little girl.
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#10 Old 10-02-2009, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlp View Post

That's perfectly understandable - what one person (of the furry or huan variety) wouldn't mind at all, would be very stressful for another.



At this point, I would just feed her whatever she might enjoy. When my kids have been in the end stages of life, whether because of age or illness, I've made them pizza, mashed potatoes, cookies, and bought them roast beef sandwiches, shrimp, etc. - whatever they will eat. Whether it's "healthy" or not isn't really an issue, since it's a lot less "healthy" not to eat. Also, I've found that what they might find appetizing one day won't appeal to them the next. I've gone through a year or ore of constantly mixing it up, foodwise, for some of my old people.







I've lost 2 cats and 3 dogs to renal failure and another dog to heart failure but she had renal failure on top it. I became a short-order cook for each one.



Oddly, two of my dogs loved ice cream until the very end. One didn't like it cold, though, so I'd spoon feed her melted ice cream.



Good luck with your baby. She's adorable.
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#11 Old 10-05-2009, 07:55 AM
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I really appreciate the posts. Thank you.



I've never really had to deal with the loss of someone so terribly close to me as her. Of course I've lost people that I loved--friends to accidents, grandparents to old age--but never have I lost someone who I raised from puphood up to her grandma status (her nick name is 'gran'). She's been doing well the past few days and I keep the merry-go-round of food varieties coming. Some days she will eat things like roast beef, other days she won't. She seems to have a taste for tacos the past few days so I imagine she may not eat those today but I'll keep on trying.



Taking care of her can get very stressful sometimes as some of you who have been through this may know. Each night/morning I get woken up with her needing to go outside. By this time she'll have already wet herself so I'll have to carry her up the stairs wrapped in a towel, clean her up with a baby wipe, dry her off and then let her out. Then I'll carry her back down and put her back on her dog bed and try to get back to sleep myself. I have to wash her linen each day, try to get her to eat and take her pill, and then repeat the same routine every day/night.



Of course I don't mind doing it for her but I feel guilty when I find myself feeling frustrated or stressed out by it. She's a total "daddy's girl" and looks to me for everything which she should because I'll provide it for her. It's just depressing and stressful when 3:30-4:00 a.m hits and I can hear the tags on her collar jingling and she needs to get outside, meanwhile I desperately just need to sleep (long-time insomina sufferer) since work is rapidly approaching.



Sorry to vent blog-style, today was just one of those mornings where it felt tough taking care of her and I know how much I'll regret feeling that way and wish I could keep doing it forever once I don't have her. It's a bad feeling all-around, but I'm just happy to have her.
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#12 Old 10-05-2009, 08:50 AM
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dontsurrender...big hugs..you are awesome!
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#13 Old 10-05-2009, 12:33 PM
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Dontsurrender, I've been there, including the regret afterwards for not spending every moment with her/him. Just remember, you're only human.
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