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Concerns For Pet Owners

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Renal Disease
(Scientific Name: Chronic Renal Failure (CRF)
(Dogs and Cats)
(Canine and Feline)

Renal Disease (kidney disease) is also known as Chronic Renal Failure (CRF). It used to be called Chronic Interstitial Nephritis (CIN). CRF is the leading cause of death in older cats.


Even when the kidneys are functioning normally in cats and dogs, they can still run into trouble as they age. Chronic renal disease is a slow, progressive disease that usually goes unnoticed. Since most animals do not show signs of renal disease until about 70-75% of kidney function has been lost; pet owners need to be aware of the symptoms of this disease so they can diagnose and treat it as soon as possible.


Just as in humans, your canine and feline’s kidneys filter and excrete toxins out of their body through urine that is very acidic. If a blockage occurs in the urinary tract system, toxic waste rapidly begins to build up and the kidneys start to become damaged. In cats, these blockages come from cellular waste, protein and crystallized minerals in the urethra. This is an emergency situation, and death can occur if your cat is not taken to the veterinarian immediately. Other potential causes include blood clots and/or tumors in both cats and dogs.


 Back in 2007 during the Pet Food Recall, thousands of cats and dogs developed ARF (Acute Renal Failure) from tainted commercial pet food and even though many recovered, some died and others still suffer with kidney problems today.


SYMPTOMS: One of the first signs of kidney disease/failure is an increase in thirst and urination in both dogs and cats. Once the kidneys start to become damaged, a greater amount of body fluid must be used to properly rid the body of toxins. Although this may be one of the fist obvious signs a pet owner notices, it’s important to remember that your pet’s kidneys may have already lost 70-75% of their normal kidney function at this point.


As renal disease progresses, other signs/symptoms include:


» Weight loss;

» Low energy and/or fatigue;

» Loss of appetite;

» Nausea; and

» Constipation.


Once these symptoms become evident, the best thing you can do for your beloved cat or dog is to go immediately to your veterinarian for a urinalysis and blood tests in order to properly diagnosis the underlying disorder.  The tests done by your veterinarian will look for the following:


» Urine concentration: If less than 1.035 in cats and 1.030 in dogs, kidney disease is possible. Levels of the next 3 substances (checked by the blood test) are reviewed to help with the diagnosis. 

» BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen): This test result may be high if the animal is dehydrated or eats a diet high in protein.

» Creatinine: This test helps measure kidney function – an increase in this protein may indicate the kidneys are not functioning efficiently. 


» Phosphorus: An increase in this mineral usually means significant kidney damage.





While there are various treatments that can help slow down the progression of kidney damage, it cannot be stopped or reversed. That is why early detection and treatment is so critical in controlling renal disease. If the damage is advanced, the kidneys will become lumpy with scar tissue and quite small which decreases their functionality and significantly exacerbates the symptoms of this disorder.



Water is necessary for every process in the canine and feline’s body including kidney function.  Water becomes even more critical in the presence of renal disease considering that an even greater amount of body fluid must be used to properly rid the body of toxins. Feeding moist food can help provide some of that


extra water necessary. Cats are notorious for not drinking enough water so they should only be fed canned foods that contain 200 mg. or less of phosphorus.  Dogs are better at keeping themselves hydrated and may do well with dry foods which contain less protein. 


Protein intake is usually reduced as a standard practice in both dogs and cats living with renal disease. However, it still remains controversial when it comes to felines.  The issue here is really not the protein; but the presence of high phosphorus in meat. 


Subcutaneous Fluids may become necessary to help your canine or feline efficiently flush out the toxins in their bloodstream. Cats and dogs drink a lot of water when they are experiencing renal problems, but they cannot drink enough to compensate for the loss of water through the kidneys. Depending on the progression of renal disease in your pet, your veterinarian may recommend taking this action.

Phosphorus Binders can slow the progression of kidney disease, especially when started before levels become excessively high. Calcitriol can also help with the calcium-phosphorus balance, but not after phosphorus levels begin to rise.

In the presence of renal disease, careful monitoring by both the pet owner and the veterinarian is critical in giving your canine or feline the best quality of life.  


Integrative Medicine



Not all animals can use all natural remedies; allergic reactions to oils and/or herbs and digestive problems are possible. A natural remedy is not a substitute for veterinary care.


Once your canine or feline’s kidneys are damaged with scar tissue, it can be difficult to find a treatment.  However, the following nutraceuticals or natural/herbal formulas can also provide effective treatment and relief for your dogs and cats living with renal disease.

» Omega 3’s (essential fatty acids): Make sure you choose a supplement that contains only Omega 3’s – not Omega 6’s (they get plenty of that in their food).


» B-complex: Just like B-complex supports the adrenal glands in humans and de-stresses the body, it does the same in both cats and dogs by replacing the water-soluble vitamins lost in urination.

» Antioxidants: Vitamin C and E are important to prevent toxins, chemicals and pollutants from the water, air and food from attacking healthy cells.  De-toxing your dog or cat help maximize their kidney function.


» Probiotics: Known as “friendly bacteria,” probiotics can be added to your canine or feline’s food to aid in digestion.


One of the most important things you can do for your dog or cat living with renal disease is to reduce their stress level for a better quality of life.  There are many herbs that can help strengthen kidney function and improve the health and vitality of your dog or cat. Specifically, these natural remedies help:


» balance urine pH;

» promote healthy circulation;

» detoxify the body;

» improve renal blood flow;

» support the immune system; and

» help eliminate foreign material in the urinary tract and kidneys.


Furthermore, herbal formulas that help support the heart and spleen will also promote optimum kidney function.  These effective herbs and botanicals include the following:


» Cranberry Juice Extract: Helps prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall and balance urine pH.


» Marshmallow Root (Althaea officinalis): This herb helps reduce inflammation and irritation in the GI tract and urinary tract organs soothing irritated tissues.


» Astragalus Root Astragalus (Huang qi): Helps the body balance out the liver, lungs, kidneys, spleen, heart and stomach plus supports the immune system by improving white blood cell growth.


» Rehmannia Root Cooked (Rehmannia rutinosa) or Rehmannia (shu di huang): Normalizes moisture imbalances in the body, nourishes the blood and replenishes the kidney.


» Hawthorn Berries (Crataegus oxyacantha): Promotes healthy circulation and is essential to overall kidney health.  Strengthens the heart by improving circulation in the blood vessels of the heart which also improves renal blood flow while acting as a diuretic. 


» Corn Silk (Zea mays): Very helpful for relieving uncomfortable urination especially when it comes to kidney stones and all areas of the urinary tract system.  Also helps reduce formation of crystals in the urine.  


Renal Disease
– Canine and Feline Products –

(Reference: Veterinarians’ Desk Reference)

(Live Link)





B ComplexVET12

Cats: ¼ capsule sid
Dogs: 1 capsule/25 lb sid

To replace water-soluble B-vitamins lost by polyuric animals.


1 capsule per 20 lb bid or
1 scoop per 20 lb bid

Supports healthy renal function.

Small Animal

Cats: 1 capsule sid
Dogs: 2 capsules/25 lb sid


Super EPAVET12 or Omega PlusVET12

Cats: 1 gelcap sid
Dogs: 2 gelcaps/25 lb sid

Anti-inflammatory; fish oil has been shown to slow loss of glomerular function.


Dose varies with package sizes because the scoops are different sizes

Binds Phosphorus


1-3 capsules per day

Reduces BUN by decreasing available intestinal nitrogen


To help you quickly find the right Integrative Medicine formulas and manufacturers to help treat your dogs, cats and horses, please refer to the Veterinarians’ Desk Reference
(Click Here)


(Always consult with your veterinarian to properly diagnose any health problems. Misdiagnosis and/or mistreatment -- including OTC and/or homeopathic products -- can lead to dangerous complications.)



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